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Smithtown High School West

The Northport boys golf team’s wildly successful regular season campaign came to a close on Thursday, Oct. 13, at Indian Hills, as they trounced Smithtown West, 9-0, and in doing so, took a share of the League III title.

Sophomores Brodie Douglas and Jack Trizzino led the Tigers with 2-over 38s as the Tigers shot a season-low of 210 on this particular course, despite misty and windy conditions.

“We are playing well as a team,” said Head Coach Brian Sundberg. “I hope it carries over to the Counties.”

Douglas, paired with his brother and team captain Paddy, made a spectacular chip on the undulating and difficult third hole that landed a foot away from the cup. He tapped in for par, as most of his fellow golfers were taking fives, sixes and sevens on this hole.

“I think that hole helped me settle into the round,” Brodie said. “It was definitely a great par.”

“It feels amazing to be league champs,” Brodie added. “We have worked so hard for it as a team this year and the work has paid off.”

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On the menu for the Oct. 8 homecoming at High School West was plenty of food, fun and touchdowns. The Bulls were winners defeating Centereach, 34-12.

Quarterback Brayden Stahl threw multiple touchdown passes to wide receiver Jacque LaPrarie in the win. 

The day began with the annual Homecoming Celebration Carnival sponsored by Smithtown High School West leadership. Games, prizes, food, T-shirt sales and more were all part of the day for the district’s K-8 students, courtesy of the high school’s clubs and organizations.

Before kickoff middle school cheer teams joined the varsity cheer team in a show of support as the Bulls ran onto the field. 

At halftime of the game, High School West cheerleaders and the Whisperettes kickline team performed.

Homecoming King and Queen Joseph Carpenter and Brook Lynn DaSilva also were announced at the half.

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The Bulls of Smithtown West (2-3) traveled to Eastport-South Manor (3-2) in a volleyball matchup and smelled blood after winning the first two sets, 25-22 and 25-21.

But the Sharks thwarted the sweep winning game three, 25-22, to force a game four. Neither team had more than a three-point advantage until the Bulls dominated at net late in the fourth set to win the match, 25-19, in the 3-1 victory Sept. 20. 

Pictured clockwise from above, Smithtown West senior Jack Setter sets up the play; point Smithtown West; Smithtown West junior Anthony Fedor keeps the ball in play; Bulls battle at the net; Smithtown West senior Matthew Fisher with a kill shot for the Bulls; Fedor keeps the ball in play; and Smithtown West senior Matthew Fisher from the service line. 

By Steven Zaitz

Have you ever gotten gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe? 

It’s nearly impossible to get rid of.

The Smithtown West football team simply would not allow itself to be removed from its opening game against the Northport Tigers on Friday night, Sept. 9, as they battled back from multiple double-digit deficits against the heavily favored visitors.

However, the Bulls fell one bullet short, and Northport’s star quarterback, Owen Johansen, put the game away with a long run that gave the Tigers a first down in the final minute and allowed them to escape Smithtown with a 34-30 win.

The contest’s opening few possessions didn’t give off any signs it would be a close game. The Bulls went backwards on their first offensive possession and after a three and out, punted to Northport and their versatile weapon “Every-Down” Emmett Radziul, who took the kick 31 yards deep into Bulls territory. Radziul would also have an interception in the second half.

Three plays after Emmett’s punt return, Tiger tight end Andrew Miller pranced into the end zone with a 21-yard touchdown catch, one of Miller’s two touchdowns in the first quarter. When running back Andrew DeMarco plunged in from the two-yard line midway through the second quarter, Northport took a 20-3 lead.

“It felt amazing to score my first varsity touchdown,” Demarco said. “The offensive line definitely played great tonight.”

The Tigers rushed for 230 yards for the game and with five minutes to go in the half seemed to have complete control. But as they did in the 2021 regular season finale at Northport, West fought on.

A kickoff return to midfield by wide receiver Tim Vanderbink breathed some life into the Bulls. Their standout quarterback Brayden Stahl calmly hit wide receiver Jacque Lapraire, who got inside position on defense back Christian Raio, and made a toe-tapping, one-handed catch for a 22-yard touchdown and it was 20-9 with 2:30 left in the half. Raio had good coverage, but it was a perfect pass and a great play by Laprarie, capping a 50-yard drive in less than a minute.

After a Northport three and out, the Bulls got the ball back with under two minutes to play at their own 42. After two medium-sized completions, Stahl hit a wide open Jack Melore, who had gotten past everyone and had himself a 25-yard touchdown catch. It was now 20-16 and the home crowd, that up until that point had been reduced to a dull murmur, were shaking the bleachers with delight.

“We can’t let guys run free like that behind our defense,” said Northport Head Coach Pat Campbell.  “I think they have a very underrated team and (Stahl) is a very good quarterback, but defensive breakdowns like that is stuff that we are going to have to clean up. It can’t happen.”

All Suffolk Tiger linebacker and team captain Tim Cleary led the team with six tackles and along with Miller, defensive end Matt Diaz and defensive linemen  Justin Macke and Mason Hecht, put heavy pressure on Stahl from the opening whistle. The senior quarterback for West would finish with 19 for 32 with 267 yards passing and three touchdowns.

“We gave up a few long passes in the second half, but our run defense was great the whole game,” Cleary said. “We’ll polish our coverages in practice this week for sure.” 

The Tigers defense got a respite to start the second half and the offense did a great job in keeping the suddenly smoking hot Stahl seated firmly on the bench. Johansen engineered at 13 play, 64 yard drive which included four 3rd down conversions and was capped off by the first of running back Giancarlo Valenti’s two second half touchdown runs. It put the Tigers ahead 27-16 and chewed up the first six minutes of the third quarter. Northport fans could relax again with a two-score lead, right?

On Northport’s very next possession Johansen, who had 106 yards passing and 98 yards on the ground, had a pass deflect off of Miller’s hands and into the arms of Lapraire and the Bulls again took to the comeback trail. Stahl took over at his own 38, hit four completions in a row and gave the ball to tailback Brian Hope to close the deal, which he did with a four-yard touchdown run off right tackle. With 10:30 remaining it was 27-22 — again a one-score game.

Valenti would answer. After an electrifying quarterback draw by Johansen went for 38 yards, the junior tailback would dart up the middle for his second touchdown in less than 10 minutes. Valenti finished with 91 yards rushing, 22 receiving and 2 TDs. This one put the Tigers up 34-22 and the Bulls were finally toast.

Except they weren’t.

Stahl would hit on a 37-yard bomb that got the ball to the Tiger 12. On the next snap he rolled to his right and threw what looked like a damaging interception into traffic in the end zone. But it was deflected twice and somehow ended up in the belly of Bull running back Nick Briffa for an extremely serendipitous touchdown for Smithtown. It was now 34-30 Northport after Stahl converted a two point try. The pendulum had swung West once again.

But it was Johansen, who made the keynote to Miller on the opening drive, put the final imprint on it as well. On a waggle keeper right, O.J. rumbled down the Northport sidelines for a gain of 26, carrying half the Bull defense on his back for the last 10 yards. The Tigers ran out the clock and finally cleaned the gum off their cleats.

“We need to read our keys on defense a lot better going forward,” said the never-satisfied Campbell. “We can’t let people run down the middle of the field like that, but it’s the first game. We ran the ball for 230 yards, so obviously I’m happy with that, and Owen hit some big time passes early on to Andrew and I think that opened up our running game. We have some work to do for next week.”

Northport will host Half Hollow Hills East for its home opener on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Thunderbirds beat the Tigers last October, 35-21.

Seniors from Smithtown High School East and Smithtown High School West filled their schools’ football fields as students for the last time on Thursday, June 23.

Smithtown East’s commencement ceremony celebrated the graduation of 401 students and featured the district’s Assistant Superintendent Kevin Simmons, who was the principal at East for 3 1/2 years before moving to the district office, as the keynote speaker.

The two student speakers were Aman Mistry, who was voted by fellow seniors as the honor speaker, and Trishaulla Kanhai, who is president of the Class Council.

At Smithtown West, 358 students received their diplomas. Superintendent Mark Secaur addressed the students. National Honor Society President Tyler Nagosky was chosen by his classmates to speak at the ceremony and co-presidents Hunter Hayes and Madison Hilman also delivered speeches.

It took the Comsewogue Warriors four minutes into the fourth quarter to take the first lead of the game only to have the Bulls of Smithtown West retie the game at 6-6 on the ensuing possession.

With 4 minutes, 5 seconds left on the clock, James Krieg stretched the net to edge ahead by one when Michael Katz on a defensive take away scored the insurance goal a minute later to win the Suffolk Class B boy’s lacrosse final, 8-6, at East Islip High School June 1. 

Katz scored three goals in the victory, Dylan Rocchio had two goals and an assist and teammates Brayden Arias, Thomas Kennedy and James Krieg each scored. Adam Wachholder had back-to-back saves in the closing minute for seven stops on the day. 

The win propels the Warriors to the Long Island Championship round where they’ll face Garden City at Hofstra University June 4 with a 3 p.m. start.  

Having trailed through all four quarters, Smithtown West tied the game at 57 all with one minute and nine seconds left in the class AA quarterfinal playoff game against Northport, but the Tigers were able to fend off the Bulls late game surge in the final seconds to hang on for the 64-61 victory at home Feb. 17.

Smithtown West senior Madison Misser topped the scoring charts for the Bulls with seven three pointers and six from the floor for 27 points. Teammates Ryann Reynolds and Brianna Guglielmo netted 10 and 9, respectively.

Northport senior Sophia Yearwood led the Tigers with six triples, a pair of field goals and a free throw for 23. Sophia Bica followed with 16 points, and Kennedy Radziul and Claire Fitzpatrick banked eight points apiece.

Northport (No.2) seed advances to the semi-final round Feb. 25 where they’ll take on Huntington (No.3) seed at Bay Shore High School Feb. 25. Game time is high noon. Tickets are available online here: https://gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI

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Smithtown West sitting in second place in the League III standings — one game behind Half Hollow Hills East —hosted their crosstown neighbor Smithtown East who briefly led in the opening quarter. However, West was too much for their visitors closing out the game with a 63-32 victory Jan. 27.

Senior Nikki Mennella led the way for West with a three-pointer, seven field goals and two from the free throw line to top the scoring charts with 19 points. Laura Luikart followed with 15 points along with a dozen rebounds, and Karsyn Kondracki netted 12.

Smithtown East’s Angie Camarda banked 10 points, and teammate Jordan Townes scored nine. The loss drops Smithtown East to 3-10 while the win lifts Smithtown West to 11-1 in League, 15-1 overall, with four games remaining before post season play begins.

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Sarah Desthers, a Smithtown High School West student, saved her mother using techniques she learned in an elective course taught by Cherie Diamond. Photo from Kim Desthers

It can be difficult to stay calm, cool and collected in certain situations, never mind when one’s mother is choking. Somehow, Sarah Desthers managed to do just that on the night of Jan. 12.

Cherie Diamond with teaching the first aid elective course. Photo from Cherie Diamond

The 15-year-old remembered vital lessons she learned in her first aid/CPR elective health course at Smithtown High School West when she walked into the kitchen and realized her mother Kim was choking and saved her life.

Kim Desthers said she was cleaning up the kitchen after a late dinner when she took a spoonful of food and choked on it. Sarah had just come out of her room, the mother said and noticed something was wrong with her.

While she doesn’t remember much about the few minutes she was choking, Kim Desthers said her daughter realized she wasn’t making any noise and asked if she was OK.

“I was really too stunned to even respond,” the mother said. “I was so scared.”

She added that being a dental hygienist who knows first aid techniques such as the Heimlich maneuver and CPR, she was a bit embarrassed to find herself in the situation.

“I just stopped short,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do.”

The mother of three said her daughter asked, “Mom are you choking?” When she couldn’t respond, Sarah said to her, “You have to nod. If I need to give you the Heimlich, you need to nod. I need to know.”

The mother said once she nodded her head, her daughter sprang into action. She didn’t even call for her father, who is a New York City firefighter, she just began the lifesaving technique.

Kim Desthers said there was a moment when she thought she was going to die.

“I can’t die,” she said to herself. “I need to be a mom to all these kids.”

The first aid elective course taught by Cherie Diamond is one Sarah decided to take because she is planning to be a camp counselor this summer, and she’s glad she did. The high school sophomore said a lot was going through her head as she realized her mother was choking.

“When you’re in that kind of situation, there is no time to hesitate, because my mom’s life was at risk,” she said. “And that’s one of the scariest things that could ever happen.”

She said in addition to learning how to do the maneuver, Diamond has taught the students to stay levelheaded. Sarah said after not only taking the class but going through the experience of using the Heimlich, she has some advice for those who may find themselves in similar situations.

“Just stay ahead of what’s going on,” the student said. “Always be listening. Pay attention if you think something’s wrong. Just don’t panic. Panicking is probably the worst thing you could do. Just figure out what’s wrong and try to help them.”

Sarah said even though COVID protocols may have made taking the first aid class more difficult Diamond made sure the students could be hands-on as much as possible.

“I appreciate that,” Sarah said. “She’s a very good teacher, and she helped me save my mom’s life.”

Diamond, who has been teaching the class in schools for more than 20 years, said it’s the first time that a student has had to use the technique while still in her class.

“You can’t ask for anything more as a teacher than to have your students apply the information they learned, much less a lifesaving device,” the teacher said.

She’s also proud of how calm Sarah stayed in the situation.

“When you come across a first aid situation, you not only have to control your own anxiety but also the anxiety of someone who may be seriously hurt,” she said. “You have to be able to control your own emotions enough to be clear in thought, and to be able to do what you have to do and not panic and freeze.”

The teacher believes everyone should get first aid training and recommends Advanced Training Center of Long Island in Smithtown. For more information, go to the website advancedtrainingcenterli.com.

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It was the battle of the Bulls when Smithtown East traveled to Smithtown West High School where East faced an unrelenting defensive press by Smithtown West in a League III matchup Dec. 20. Smithtown West caused several turnovers that resulted in a 21-point lead at the half. West benched their starters and played the balance of their roster in the 62-36 victory to remain undefeated.  

Smithtown West senior forward Patrick Burke led his team in scoring with a free throw and eight field goals for 17 points. Teammate Tyler Anderson followed netting 14, and Lorenzo Rappa banked eight. 

Smithtown East sophomore Benjaman Haug hit a three-pointer five from the floor and six from the free throw line for 19 points.