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Northport Tigers

The Ward Melville Patriots hosted the Northport Tigers in the semi-final round and managed to stay within striking distance through the first two quarters of play, looking to avenge their one-point loss to the Tigers earlier in the season, but faltered in the second half.

Northport freshman Luke Loiacono with a dominant performance beyond his years, topped the scoring chart for the Tigers with five goals along with an assist with teammate Luca Elmaleh’s three goals proved too much for the Patriots slamming the door for the 13-4 victory, Wednesday afternoon May 24.

Northport senior goalie Mike Tittman had 12 saves on the day.

Sophia Cox in the 100 meter hurdles against Connetquot. Photo by Steven Zaitz

The Northport Lady Tigers girls track team competed in a dual meet at Connetquot on April 20. Despite losing to the Lady Thunderbirds 100-50, the Tigers excelled in many events:

• Emily Wickard won the 3000-meter in a season-best of 10:25. Courtney Coronato placed second and scored a personal best of 12:04, while Payton Cotter was third, allowing Northport to sweep the event.

• Wickard also won the 1500-meter in 4:55 and Ella Cancro was third.

• Sophie LaBerre became the first Northport athlete in four years to clear a height of six feet in the pole vault.

• Madison Duffy ran her first 400-meter race ever and got second place in 66 seconds flat. Alexa Colondona of Connetquot was first. Colondona was the star of the meet, as she also won the 100-meter, the 200-meter, and the long jump events.

Northport has two more dual meets left against Huntington and Copiague before they attack the Suffolk County Invitational circuit that will begin the week of May 8.

Fabulous freshman attacker Kate Atkinson had an astonishing seven goals for Northport as the Lady Tigers beat the Smithtown East Lady Bulls, 17-11, on Tuesday.

Northport continues its undefeated season and moves to 7-0 and has won 61 of its last 62 games dating back to 2019. The only blight on this record is a loss to Baldwinsville in the New York State Championship final last June. Smithtown East falls to 4-2.

Northport spotted East the first goal of the game, and the Lady Bulls controlled the ball for a large portion of the opening five minutes. Jenna Mehlinger scored at 19:32.

The Lady Tigers got in gear after Mehlinger’s goal and reeled off the next seven in a 13-minute span, three of which coming off the stick of Atkinson. Northport took a commanding 10-3 into the half.

The two teams traded goals in the second half, and the Bulls outscored the Tigers 8-7 in the second session, but it was not nearly enough.  Kennedy Radziul had three goals, and Haleigh Greenberg and Grace McCarthy had two each. Goalkeeper Megan Morris had six saves.

Ava Aceri had five goals for Smithtown East, all of them coming after halftime. She also assisted on a goal by Jenna Soto, who had a pair of goals.  Mehlinger totaled three goals and an assist as beleaguered Bulls netminder, Grace McDonald, faced 24 shots on the afternoon, stopping seven of them. 

Northport has a non-league match coming up on April 22 against Westchester County’s Fox Lane High School, and Smithtown East will suit up next against Sachem East on April 20.

— Photos by Steven Zaitz

The Hauppauge girls flag football team remained undefeated after shutting out the Northport Lady Tigers on Monday, 21-0.

They are now 6-0 in their maiden season, have the most wins on all of Long Island, and are 5-0 in League I play. Northport, who had their three-game winning streak snapped, falls to 3-2.

Hauppauge freshman quarterback Taylor Mileti was 9 for 13 and tossed two touchdowns passes. She played well in all three phases of the game, collecting 10 flag pulls on defense, had two interceptions and punted the ball effectively on special teams. One of her punts was downed at the Northport one-yard line and on the next play from scrimmage, Hauppauge was able to force a Lady Tiger safety for two points. Eagle receiver Melissa O’Connor had seven receptions for 46 yards, and H Back Meredith Terracciano had caught a 40-yard TD bomb from Mileti in the first half.

Northport Freshman quarterback Grace Gilmartin had a much rougher day as she threw six interceptions, the last of which was returned for a touchdown at the final gun by Francesca Gatien. Gilmartin was pressured by a relentless Lady Eagle pass rush that was aided and abetted by an injury to Northport center Isabella Bica.  Northport’s replacement centers were having trouble snapping the ball back to Gilmartin with sufficient velocity, and she was forced to scramble and hurry her throws. In Northport’s two losses this year, they have committed a combined 10 turnovers.

Despite giving the six turnovers, Northport’s defense was responsible for 12 of Hauppauge’s points as Tiger defensive linemates Kenzie Bliven and Caroline Bender combined for 14 flag pulls — five of which were behind the line of scrimmage.

Hauppauge tried to roll a lucky seven in a row when they traveled to Huntington on Wednesday. Results were not available at press time. Northport will look to get back on the winning track on the road at Lindenhurst on Friday, April 21.

— Photos by Steven Zaitz 

The Northport Lady Tiger lacrosse team continues to put up football-like numbers on the scoreboard, as they steamroll over all comers thus far, two weeks into the 2023 young season.

Northport’s latest road apple were visitors from Nassau County, the Long Beach Lady Bulldogs. The final score was 17-7. The Lady Tigers have outscored their opponents 65-23 in four games this year, all easy wins, and look every bit the team that won the Long Island Championship last year, despite graduating a minibus-load of 2022 All-American and All-State caliber players.

Junior Attacker Julia Huxtable had three goals and four assists and was orchestrating the offense masterfully from behind the net, as she and her teammates circled around hapless Long Beach goalkeeper Emily Backlin like a swarm of hungry buzzards. Versatile attacker/defender Kennedy Radziul was constantly moving without the ball to find cracks in the Bulldog defense, and she scored four goals and had two assists. Radziul also shared faceoff duties with Grace McCarthy and the duo won 61% at the X. Senior Sniper Haleigh Greenberg had three goals and two assists and despite losing highly prolific players like Kaylie Mackiewicz (All-American), Ella Cabrera (All-American), Isabella Germani (All-American) and Shannon Smith (All-New York State), who combined for 204 goals last year, she is loving the chemistry of this 2023 version of the team. 

“Northport has always been lucky to find girls who can play well and score year after year,” Greenberg said. “Even with those All-Americans having graduated, we know how to play as a team, and with everyone contributing the way they are, it makes us such a strong team.”

Northport was strong in this one, right from the opening whistle as Greenberg and Huxtable combined for five big ones in the first nine minutes as the Lady Tigers took a 10-4 lead into halftime. Radziul netted the last two of those ten.

On the other end, Northport goalkeeper Meghan Morris stood tall in net, making a number of acrobatic saves to frustrate Long Beach when they were able to penetrate in deep. However, the Lady Tiger defense was stingy in granting this access as back-liners Casey Koenig, Mary Breckling, Leah Riccardi and Haleigh’s sister Emma, a freshman, kept Bulldog scoring chances to a minimum, hound-dogging Long Beach into a multitude of turnovers and subsequent ground ball recoveries for Northport.

“Our defense is strong and physical, and we’re able to get a lot of the loose balls,” Emma Greenberg said, “When a ball hits the ground, it’s really just a matter of who wants it more and a defensive unit, we pride ourselves on getting those balls.”

Northport won 69% of the ground balls on Saturday, and they have hovered around that number all year so far.

The second half of the game more of the same with Northport holding leads of eight, nine or 10 for much of the game. Radziul scored two early in the second half, and junior midfielder Christina Lauro scored on her birthday to make the score 16-6 with just over six minutes remaining in the game. Haleigh Greenberg closed out the scoring for the Lady Tigers with a minute to go, as Huxtable assisted. 

“Hux is a great player, and she has great field vision and instincts,” Haleigh said.  “She is such a good player, one of the best teammates I’ve ever had and something about her as a person, that when she scores or makes a great play, it gives the whole team a boost of energy. She just has that way about her and we love her for it.”

Huxtable is humbled by this.

“It feels amazing to know my teammates think of me in this way,” said the junior Huxtable, who has 69 career points in two-plus season as a Lady Tiger.  “I’m always working hard to be the best teammate that I can possibly be, and I’m glad that I can make a positive impact on and off the field.”

Zeros filled the scoreboard on Opening Day at John DeMartini Baseball Field in Northport on Monday afternoon.

West Islip righthander Chris Lospinuso had a no-hitter through five innings and despite having traffic in almost every inning, Northport’s sophomore lefty Max Donecea had managed to keep the Lions off the scoreboard through six.

Something had to give.

When Northport Tiger senior catcher, lead-off hitter and captain John Dwyer strode up to the plate in bottom of the sixth inning and not only broke up the no hit bid but put the Tigers ahead 1-0 with a 362-foot home run over the left center field fence, it gave.

Lospinuso had finally blinked, and Donecea wanted nothing more than to slam the door shut in the top of the inning. He could not.

Lion centerfielder Sean Boyle led off the seventh with a clean single, was sacrificed to second and scored on a suicide squeeze executed perfectly by left fielder Erick Burciaga. The game was tied at one.

“That squeeze was a little surprising in the moment and I should have anticipated it,” Dwyer said. “Either way, they executed the play and it’s a tough play to defend if done right.”

Donecea was now out of the game and replaced on the mound by Owen Johansen, who has returned to the diamond after a year on the lacrosse team and a broken ankle during the football season. Johansen, who started the game at shortstop, pitched a scoreless eighth inning and gave his team a chance to earn a memorable, walk-off win on Opening Day. 

They were 90 feet from doing so.

Dwyer was hit by a pitch, Johansen and LF Michael Lombardo singled, and Northport had the bases loaded and nobody out. But with Dwyer dancing off third, ready to score the winning run, West Islip reliever Frank Romano induced a popup and struck out two to escape the jam. 

In his second inning of work, Johansen allowed a walk, threw a wild pitch and then gave up an RBI single to Burciaga. After being in line for the win, Johansen took the hard-luck loss.

“West Islip is one of the best teams in the county and this year is no different,” said Northport Head Baseball Coach Sean Lynch. “It was very frustrating not to get that run to win the game, especially with the way Max threw the ball today.  He pitched a great game.”

“I would have loved to finish the game,” said Donecea, who gave up five hits, four walks and struck out seven. “I felt like my control could have been a little better, but overall, I think I pitched well.”

Also pitching well was Lospinuso, who struck out 11. But he lamented the one mistake that cost him his no-no.

“I left a splitter up to that kid [Dwyer] and he took advantage of it,” said Lospinuso. “Other than that, all three of my pitches were working well today. I was able to keep them off-balance with four seam fastball, splitter and curve.”

Northport was able to balance their record on Tuesday by beating the Lions in West Islip. Aiden Bisson got the win for the Tigers in their 6-2 victory. The rubber match will be played on April 8 at Northport.

The Northport Lady Tiger flag football team was scheduled to start their maiden season this past Saturday against Center Moriches. That game, however, was postponed due to inclement weather.

When the season started two days later, on Monday vs. Half Hollow Hills, they received no clemency even though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, getting drubbed by the Lady Thunderbirds, 33-6.

Not exactly an auspicious start to this historic campaign, the Lady Tigers had a few factors heavily working against them. Their top two quarterbacks, Grace Gilmartin and Pixie Ryan, took an untimely school trip to Iceland leaving the offense to juniors Megan Brustmeyer and Allie Murdock, neither of whom were able to move the ball with any consistency, combining to throw four interceptions on the day. Two of these were returned for touchdowns for the Lady Birds.

Northport was playing a new sport for the very first time and it showed. They were penalized for illegal procedure before their very first offensive snap, and this was a sufficient enough indicator of what was to come for a bulk of the afternoon. In another sequence, they needed just two yards to gain a first down with four chances to get it. They gained just one yard.

“We need to learn how to hit the hole and run north and south,” said Tiger Head Coach Pat Campbell, who is unaccustomed to losing games by four touchdowns. “We tried to run outside on them, and their defense has a lot of speed. We will work on this over the next few practices.”

Half Hollow Hills, on the other hand, was playing in their fourth game and looked very well-oiled. Freshman quarterback Samantha Heyman played like a season veteran, deftly mixing in runs and passes showing great skills in handling the ball and finding open receivers. The Hills offense exuded professionalism and even took to some razzle-dazzle scoring the first touchdown of the game on a 35-yard double-reverse pass that caught the entirety of the Tiger defense out of position. 

“The score looks pretty bad, but I thought we did some things well,” Campbell said.  “No matter what kind of football you are playing, one thing always is true — you can’t turn the ball over and expect to win.”

The game was competitive for a good chunk of the first half and tied the score with a long TD reception by junior Kenzie Bliven. She was able to sneak past cornerback Rose Azmoudah down the right sideline and race 45 yards to tie the score at 6-6.

But with less than a minute remaining in the half Brustmeyer underthrew Bliven on the same route and this time defender Jolie Boyle would intercept it and bring it back to the Tiger 10-yard line. Hills punched it in with 20 seconds to take a 12-6 lead at the break.

T’Bird senior middle linebacker Jahniya McCreary would intercept two passes and return one of them for a touchdown in the second half. She would also catch two touchdown passes from Heyman as did wide receiver Olivia Hamilton. 

“Jahniya is the heart and soul of defense and she was amazing today,” said Hills Head Coach Michael Lupa. “She makes all the calls and reads and anticipates so well.  It makes it tough on the opposing offense.”

“We really have a passion for this sport, and we really play well as a team,” McCreary said. “We come out here expecting to win.”

And all of this winning is being led by the ninth grader Heyman, who was eight for 18 for 155 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. She also had 81 yards on the ground.

“Sammy can really throw the ball,” Lupa said. “She also knows when to tuck it in a run.  She’s really impressed me with her decision making so far.”

“I’ve been playing football since elementary school,” said Heyman. “I look for an open receiver and if there are none, I’ll take what I can get by running.”

So far, the Thunderbirds are running the table with their perfect 4-0 record and are looking for more when they travel to Connetquot on April 11. Northport took on Lindenhurst April 5 but results were unavailable at press time.

The Northport Tigers baseball team scrimmaged against the Walt Whitman Wildcats on Friday, March 24, at the John DeMartini Baseball Complex at Northport High School.

The game was unscored as the Tigers continued to tune up their pitchers as they steam toward Opening Day for league play, which will be at home against West Islip on April 3.

Aiden Bisson, a senior and the ace of the staff in 2022, pitched three innings and gave up four runs but they were unearned. Senior pitchers Jayden Paranandi and Tyler Mulligan also got work in and were effective.

Senior outfielder Stephen Blazevich smacked a three-run homer over the left-center field fence in the fourth inning, when the Tiger scored four runs.

The Tigers played to a 0-0 tie in their final tune-up against St. John’s the Baptist High School in West Islip on Tuesday. Max Donecea and Bisson held the Cougars scoreless. The Tiger starting pitcher for the opener is yet to be determined.

All photos by Steven Zaitz

At the start of the Suffolk County girls basketball title game, everything was taking shape as one would expect.

On the campus of Stony Brook University, Walt Whitman Wildcat superstar guard Iris Hoffman threw up a long brick early in the first quarter against Northport on Saturday afternoon, and Lady Tiger Forward Kennedy Radziul collected the rebound, raced down the court and scored to put Whitman in an 11-0 hole.

The heavily favored top-seeded Tigers, who still have the burning memory of losing in last year’s Suffolk County AA Final to another of their archrivals Longwood, was in a fury. Whitman, who had never made it to a final, seemed as if they were simply happy to be participating in one. 

But over the course of a game, stuff happens. Things change.

Lady Cat guard Casey Wagner picked Radziul’s pocket with six minutes remaining in the half that made the score 19-13 in favor of the Lady Tigers, as this was an early example of the thousand paper cuts that were to come for head coach Rich Castellano and his Tigers, who were looking to win their 11th Suffolk AA title in school history. 

Northport would lead by six, seven, eight and nine for much of the middle third of the game but they could not swat away the pesky Cats. Whitman, despite Hoffman’s departure from the game when she picked up her fourth personal foul, crept all the way back. When Wagner threw a pinpoint baseball pass to forward Kathleen O’Mara to end the third, and then O’Mara hit on a gorgeous reverse layup to start the fourth, the Wildcats led 36-33.

Northport senior forward Sarah Morawski had the best game of her four-year varsity career with five three-pointers and 22 total points, but no other Tiger was in double figures. 

Individual scoring wasn’t top of mind for Castellano and his girls who were craving to play the Nassau County champion. After last year’s loss to the Lady Lions, a game in which they also led heading into the second half, they were determined to scratch and tiger-claw their way back in this one.

Down by five with time melting away fast, Claire Fitzpatrick, who was quiet for much of the afternoon, made a nifty steal and then nailed a big basket from long range that made the score 42-40 with three minutes to go. 

But Hoffman, who was inserted back into the game with her four fouls, stormed down the middle of the floor and hooked a no-look pass to O’Mara in the left corner. O’Mara sank the 15-footer, and the Wildcats went up by four. Forward Emma Creighton, who wears a gigantic knee brace on her left leg, drove freely and aggressively to the rim on the Wildcats’ next possession and suddenly the Tiger deficit crept to five — and time grew short.

Morowski, in her 90th career game and certainly the most bittersweet, calmly hit a three after a Whitman free throw to cut a six-point lead in half to three, 46-43 — a one possession game. When Creighton threw the ball out of bounds for Whitman, the Tigers had their chance to tie with about a minute to go.

Radziul, who does most of her scoring from 10 feet away and in, had a good look for three from the right elbow but the ball hit the back, left side of the rim and fell harmlessly into the hands of  O’Mara. Northport was now a painful runner-up for the second year in a row. The final score was 48-44.

The Lady Tigers and their sparkling 21-2 overall record will have to wait at least another year to play the Nassau AA champion and this loss, piled on top of last year’s heartbreak, will make that wait feel much longer than just one time around the sun.

Meanwhile the Wildcats, who are currently on a 12-game winning streak, will face the winner of Massapequa and Baldwin. Whoever wins that game will travel to Hudson Valley Community College near Albany in the middle of March to compete for the New York State title. 

Andrew Miller scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Northport Tigers boys basketball team defeated the Centereach Cougars 58-45 on Tuesday night in their opening round Suffolk County playoff game.

The Tigers played a stifling brand of defense and had too much size for the visiting Cougars, who were limited to six points in the second quarter and nine points in the third. Northport dominated the glass, outrebounding Centereach 44-29 for the game.

The Cougars had no answer for Miller, and they tried to guard him with a rotation of different players, each having little luck against the 6’4” bruising senior. Miller dominated the painted area, slicing and dicing his way to easy layups. Northport senior guard Brendan Carr had 14 points, including six big ones in the fourth quarter. 

The Tigers enjoyed a double-digit lead for most of the game, but when Cougar guard Christopher Buzaid hit a three pointer midway through the fourth quarter, Centereach cut the Northport lead to eight. It would be the closest the Cougars would get — as baskets by Miller, Carr and sophomore Owen Boylan gave the Tigers a 54-37 lead with two minutes to go in the contest.

Senior guard Evan Grant led Centereach with 11 points and Buzaid had 10.

In a Battle of the Ports, Northport will battle the Bellport Clippers on Friday, Feb. 17, in the Suffolk County quarterfinal round at Bellport. 

The Cougar season ends with a mark of 13-8 overall and 10-6 in league play.