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Miller Place Panthers

Loose ball. Bill Landon photo

Being one of the smallest schools in Suffolk County, when the Lady Royals of Port Jeff play an early season nonleague game, they always face a team from a larger school district. This was the case Friday afternoon with a home game against Miller Place. 

Having lost perennial scoring threats to graduation, Port Jeff’s roster features only one senior as the Lady Royals had their hands full, falling to the Panthers 47-22 in the Dec. 8 matchup.

Returning starter Ava Zicchinelli for Miller Place was the offensive spark for the Panthers, leading her team with 14 points followed by Brooke Callaghan, who banked nine. Sophia Ingenito netted seven.

Rose Meliker-Hammock scored three from the floor and three from the free throw line for nine points for the Royals.

Port Jeff (0-2) retakes the court with another nonleague matchup Saturday, Dec. 16, with a road game against West Islip. Game time is scheduled for 10 a.m.

The Panthers (2-4) face one more nonleague matchup at home to Pierson/Bridgehampton Dec. 20 before league play begins with a home game against Harborfields Thursday, Jan. 4, with tipoff at 5:30 p.m.

After edging by Miller Place in the first set having to win by two, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats lost the second set to make it a new match in the League VI matchup.

Squeezing by the Panthers 25-23 in the third set and rallying in the fourth set, the Wildcats were lucky to escape with the 3-1 victory, 28-26, 18-25, 25-23, 25-18, on the road Sept. 22.

Senior Giorgia Balza led the way for the Wildcats with 13 kills, a pair of aces and 4 blocks, and teammate Caroline Lange had a block with 4 kills.

Setting the pace for the Panthers was Payton Horan with 13 kills, a service ace and 2 digs along with Olivia Honkanen’s 6 kills 3 service aces and 4 digs.

The win lifts the Wildcats to 2-2, leaving the Panthers searching for that elusive first win.

Both teams are back in action Sept. 28 when the Wildcats host Bayport-Blue Point at 4 p.m. and the Panthers have a road game against nearby Mount Sinai. First service is set for 4:30 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

It was all Miller Place on a rainy Saturday afternoon, April 29, when the Panthers hosted the Smithtown West Bulls in a Div. II matchup.

Miller Place had secured a 7-2 lead by the halftime break. Smithtown West’s struggles continued in the second half, with Miller Place controlling the pace the rest of the way. The Panthers put the game away 15-4.

Mirabella Altebrando led the way for the Panthers with six assists. Olivia Coffey netted four goals while teammates Isabella Luisa and Hayden Young each scored three goals apiece. Natalia Altebrando had eight saves on the day.

Smithtown West’s Jolie Schiavo scored twice for the Bulls, and Ashley Mennella and teammate Laura Luikart both scored.

The win lifts Miller Place to 6-5 in their division, while the Bulls dropped to 5-6 with three games remaining before postseason play begins.

Both teams are back in action Wednesday, May 3, when Miller Place hosts Eastport-South Manor, and Smithtown West hits the road for an away game against Greenport-Southold-Mattituck. Both games begin at 4:00 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Renee Stocken’s bat set the tone early when the senior ripped a grand slam to put the Panthers out front 4-0 in a road game against Riverhead on Saturday, April 8. 

Miller Place, undefeated in the first four games of the season, continued to tack on the runs, putting the game away 11-2 in this non-league matchup. Sophomore Ava Zicchinelli pitched a complete game, striking out 12 batters to help her team improve to 5-0 in League VII. 

The Panthers retake the field Wednesday with a road game against Sayville. Gametime is slated for 5:00 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon



The Shoreham-Wading River girls basketball team, at 17-0, is the only team in Suffolk County that has yet to lose a game this season. 

The Wildcats visited Miller Place on Monday, Jan. 30, looking to keep their perfect record intact. And they did just that, surging ahead by 25 points in the first eight minutes of play, then closing out the game with a 65-20 victory over the Panthers.

SWR head coach Adam Lievre pulled his starters six minutes in, but the roster’s depth made itself known. The Wildcats continued piling on points as the Panthers struggled to keep pace. Lievre had to temper his non-starters — eager to score varsity points — to curb the scoring fest. 

With two games remaining in the regular season, the Wildcats have positioned themselves as the top-seeded team going into postseason play, which begins Feb. 14.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Competing on their home court, the Port Jefferson Royals struggled to gain traction against the defensive press of Miller Place during a non-league matchup Saturday, Dec. 10. 

The Panthers were up seven points going into the halftime break but stretched their lead the rest of the way to win it, 53-37. 

Joe Strickland led the way for the Panthers with 12 points, Tristan Stapleton netted 11 and Nick Fusco banked 10. Tyler Cobb topped the scoring chart for the Royals with 14 points, and teammate Luke Dickhuth dropped 11.

The win inks the Panthers’ first win this early season as the loss drops the Royals to 1-2.

— Photos by Bill Landon

In the Div. IV quarterfinal round of the postseason, the 4-3 Miller Place Panthers came knocking on the door of the 4-3 Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats on Friday, Nov. 4.

Miller Place, the fifth seed, looked to avenge its season-opening 3-point defeat at the hands of the Wildcats back in early September. And avenge it they did.

Miller Place running back Joell Spagnuolo rose to the occasion with a four-touchdown, 248-yard performance that powered the Panthers to victory, 35-28, while on the road.

Shoreham-Wading River wide receiver Will Hart caught two touchdown passes — one for 45 and the other for 23 yards — from quarterback Dylan Zahn.

The victory sends the Panthers to the semifinal round, where the team will face undefeated Bayport-Blue Point in another road game on Friday, Nov. 11. Admission tickets can be purchased here: https://gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI.

By Bill Landon

It was a “Battle of the Cats” on Saturday, Sept. 10, in the Division IV season opener between the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats and the Miller Place Panthers.

On a keeper, SWR senior quarterback Dylan Zahn punched in on a short-yardage score to break the ice. With Sam Palmer’s extra point kick, the Wildcats took an early 7-0 lead with 3:16 left in the opening quarter.

Miller Place QB Michael Giugliano answered on the ensuing possession, jetting 65 yards downfield for the touchdown. Kicker Nicholas Oliva delivered the equalizer on the extra point attempt, tying the score at 7-7.

Michael Casey, the sophomore wide receiver for the Wildcats, grabbed a 21-yarder from Zahn for the score, putting the Wildcats ahead 14-7.

Miller Place’s senior in the backfield, Joell Spagnuolo, responded with a 43-yard TD run of his own. But after the missed extra point attempt, the Panthers trailed 14-13 with four minutes left in the half.

The Panthers’ tight end, Logan LaMountain, put his team out ahead. He caught a ball out over the middle of the field, picked up the necessary yards after the catch, and went the distance. Oliva’s foot tacked on the extra point, sending Miller Place into the locker room with a 20-14 lead at halftime.

The second half was a different story as the defensive units for both teams began to hold their ground firmly. Sophomore running back Will Hart did find the end zone for the Wildcats. Still, the Panthers blocked the point after attempt, keeping the game tied 20-20 with 11:29 left in regulation.

This game would be decided in the final minutes of play. After an impressive defensive stand by the Panthers, Palmer’s field goal gave the Wildcats a 23-20 lead with six minutes remaining.

Miller Place threatened when they marched down the field after three consecutive first downs. But the Wildcats forced a turnover in the final possession, intercepting a pass to secure the victory.

By Bill Landon

It was the electrifying performance of Miller Place pitcher Amelia DeRosa that gave the Kingsmen of Kings Park trouble in the second round of the postseason.

DeRosa displayed brilliance at the mound, striking out 12 in this contest on May 19. Miller Place freshman Brooke Callaghan crushed one over the centerfield fence for a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth, lifting the Panthers to a 6-1 victory. 

Miller Place, the no. 3 seed overall, will play a road game against second-seeded Islip on Saturday, May 21 at noon.

Photos by Bill Landon

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By Bill Landon

It was all Comsewogue in the first 24 minutes of play when senior attack Michael Katz had his hat-trick two minutes before the halftime break. 

Miller Place co-captain Anthony Bartolotto arrested the Warrior scoring frenzy when the senior buried his shot to take the goose egg off the board in this Div. II showdown on May 3. The Warriors stood on the gas and never looked back, putting the game away 10-3.

Katz finished his day with four goals and two assists. Teammates Justin Bonacci had an assist and three goals, Brayden Arias scored twice and James Krieg stretched the net. Goalie’s Adam Wachholder had eight saves in net and Gavin Larsen stopped five.

Miller Place senior Devon Duchnokski and Robby Cunningham each had a goal apiece and keeper Kenny Leen had six saves.

The win lifts the Warriors to 8-3 in league and the loss drops the Panthers to 7-4 with three games remaining before post season play begins.