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Feb 5, 2016 2:40 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Mariners Clinch League VII Title With Victory In Game Closed To Spectators At Center Moriches

Southampton beat Center Moriches on Friday night, in Center Moriches, in a game that was closed to spectators. CAILIN RILEY
Feb 8, 2016 11:29 AM

The stakes were high, and the atmosphere surely would have reflected that under normal circumstances on Friday night, in a late-season tilt between the Southampton and Center Moriches boys basketball teams at the Center Moriches High School gymnasium.

In a game that certainly would have drawn a large crowd, only a smattering of people—coaches, scorekeepers and members of both JV teams—were on hand to watch the Mariners pull away from the Red Devils for a 77-58 win that all but clinched the League VII regular season title and top seed in the upcoming Class B playoffs for Southampton (10-2 in league, 12-5 overall). Southampton’s win over last-place Ross on Monday night made it official.

The game against Center Moriches—originally scheduled for January 26—was postponed after a shooting in Southampton Village on January 25, and when it was rescheduled, administrators at Center Moriches and Southampton made the decision to close the game to spectators.

It was a disappointment for a Center Moriches team (6-6, 10-8) that was trying to win as many games as possible down the stretch to improve its spot in the standings and try to get a higher seed in the playoffs. The Red Devils lost a close game to Mattituck on Saturday, which clinched a spot in the playoffs for the Tuckers, expanding the field to five teams for the county ‘B’ playoffs. The fourth and fifth seeds will face off in an outbracket game, and the winner will then travel to Southampton for a semifinal game on Saturday, at a time still to be announced, while the second and third seeded teams will square off in the other semifinal game that same day. The county title game is set for Tuesday, February 16, at 7:30 p.m. at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. Southampton is the defending Suffolk County and Long Island Class B champion.

Before the league title-clinching win over Center Moriches, the Mariners beat Babylon, 76-68, at home on February 2 in another crucial win, led by senior point guard Izzy Johnson, who dropped a triple-double with 35 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Shooting guard Chad Pike added 18 points in that win, and freshman forward Micah Snowden had 15.

Johnson was the star again in the win over Center Moriches, dropping 28 points, including going 15 for 16 from the free-throw line. Forward Aaron Kryzezwski added 16 points and 10 rebounds.

The Mariners were up just five at halftime, but turned on the defensive pressure in the second half and outscored the Red Devils by 10 in the third quarter to get a lead they would not give up.

Johnson said he and his teammates were fine with the subdued atmosphere, especially considering they were on the road.

“I felt like it was better for us to play with no crowd,” he said after the game. “We focused more. They didn’t have any fans to help their momentum.”

Center Moriches head coach Nick Thomas said it had the opposite effect on his team.

“I felt it put us at an obvious disadvantage,” he said. “But fans don’t play the game, so that’s not an excuse for our performance.” The Red Devils were also playing without starting guard Kyrin Taylor, who was suffering from a separated shoulder.

Southampton head coach Herm Lamison said he wasn’t concerned that the lack of spectators would hamper his team in any way, but, like Thomas, he wasn’t in agreement with the decision to close the game to fans.

“For [Southampton] it’s no different because we have to play the same kind of game,” he said. “It’s really a disservice to the families and parents of these kids that don’t get an opportunity to see them play.”

Lamison has insisted that the shooting in Southampton had nothing to do with the basketball teams, but declined to comment further on why the schools decided not to allow spectators, citing the fact that he’s leading the investigation of the incident as the Southampton Village Police Detective Sergeant.

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lol. Pretty pathetic. Looks like these guys take their sport a little too seriously.
By Lets go mets (359), Southampton on Feb 5, 16 7:52 PM
Congratulations to the Mariners and Coach Lamison on their winning the league title, and to the Center Moriches team as well. It's sad the good kids were
denied the opportunity to play in front of their fellow students, family and friends.
The politically correctness and over reaction by school officials has to stop.
Furthermore, what happened to schools sending spectator buses for the students to sporting events. In my day, we had them. It was a great socialization experience for ...more
By Jimion (124), Hampton Bays on Feb 5, 16 8:26 PM
As adults, educators, police, we can't control a couple of kids with guns so we just shut it down. Parents can't watch their kids and players don't hear the cheers. Great way to show perseverance to the kids.
By lirider (270), Hampton Bays on Feb 7, 16 2:44 AM
8k run & 3 mile walk, Agawam Park, Southampton Rotary Club fundraiser