All of the hard work in the offseason, the workouts, summer league games, have all paid off.
That’s the overall message of the Westhampton Beach boys basketball players after they defeated Harborfields, 62-57, at home on Monday afternoon, a win that clinched the League V title outright and moved the team’s record to 14-2 in league, 18-2 overall. It’s the team’s first league title in 18 years.
Winning the league title outright was clearly important to the players. Had they lost on Monday, they would have had to share it with East Islip.
“We knew what we wanted to do the whole season and being the first team in Westhampton Beach to win after 18 years is just a a great honor,” junior Simon Brathwaite said.
“All the work we put in is really paying off,” senior Jake Gaudiello said.
Jack Tiska noted that having four seniors in the starting lineup, including him, made it important to get the win and league title on Senior Night.
“It meant a lot to accomplish one of our goals for the season on our night,” he said.
Nolan Quinlan, a senior, led the team in scoring with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Gaudiello scored 15 points and had nine assists. Brathwaite finished with 13 points and Tiska scored 11 points.
The Hurricanes are the second seed in the Suffolk County Class A playoffs and will host the winner of No. 7 Elwood/John Glenn/No. 10 East Hampton this Friday, February 16, at 5 p.m. Quinlan said the team is excited.
“It’s the first time most of the kids on the team have been in the playoffs for any sport, but we’re planning on treating it like a normal game and hoping it turns out good,” he said.
Gaudiello achieved a career milestone in his team’s 60-57 victory at East Hampton on February 6. Needing nine points to hit the 1,000-point career milestone, Gaudiello, in just his third varsity season, scored points 999 and 1,000 on a left-handed finger roll as he was being fouled. After he was congratulated and given a commemorative basketball noting his achievement by his head coach John Baumiller, Gaudiello was then congratulated by his teammates before he went on to sink his free throw and help lead the Hurricanes to a come-from-behind 60-57 victory over host East Hampton.
It was slightly difficult for Gaudiello to reflect on his milestone directly following the game but he said he was glad that it’s done and over with now and he can concentrate on the team’s playoff run going forward.
“It wasn’t always in the back of my head but it was in my head this game,” he said of the scoring mark. “It’s good to be done with and focus on the rest of the season.
“My first two years on the team we were building for this year and we’re in the process right now of where we want to be,” Gaudiello added.
His teammates felt like he was certainly worthy of the achievement.
“His work ethic is unmatched, and if anyone deserves such an accomplishment, it’s him,” Tiska said.