The new kids on the block, Southampton and Wyandanch, have reached the Suffolk County Class A boys basketball championship.
After playing in Class B/League VII for dozens of years, both Southampton and Wyandanch, due to an increase in enrollment at each school, moved up to Class A/League VI. It would have been understandable for both teams to take a season to get acclimated to their new environments, but clearly, that wasn’t needed.
After Wyandanch, the fifth seed in Class A, toppled top-seed Harborfields, 92-73, in the early semifinal, No. 2 Southampton took care of its business by defeating No. 6 Bayport/Blue Point, 72-56, at home on Tuesday night in the later semifinal, creating a new-look county final when the two teams tip off this Friday, February 24, at Suffolk County Community College in Selden at 7:30 p.m.
Southampton and Wyandanch split its two League VI regular-season games. The Mariners defeated the Warriors, 100-91, on December 20, then the Warriors returned the favor, beating the Mariners on their home court, 67-64, on January 19. Southampton head coach Herm Lamison said Wyandanch has “tremendous athletes, and when those kids get going, it’s hard to stop them.”
But senior Chad Pike, who was one of five Southampton double-digit scorers on Tuesday night with 11 points, is confident in his team.
“With our team, we don’t rely on one or two guys,” he explained. “Our one through six guys are capable of going off on any night. And with our defense, the way we’ve been playing lately, I think we can go very far.”
Southampton got off to a bit of a slow start on Tuesday night, taking just over three minutes into the game to score its first basket. Once the Mariners got going, though, Bayport found they were very tough to stop.
Southampton took a 38-21 lead into the locker room at halftime, then Pike hit back-to-back three pointers early in the third quarter to put the Mariners up 44-28. With Southampton leading by 20 points with 2:35 remaining in the game, Bayport head coach Charlie Peck—a former coach of Southampton College—took out his top player in senior Mike Darby (game-high 21 points), signaling the end of the game, and with it, the Mariners fourth consecutive county final appearance.
“It’s awesome,” Pike said of getting back to the county final. “Every year that I’ve been on varsity we’ve made it this far, we’ve won every year. I just want to keep it going. Got one more to get it done.”
Sophomore Micah Snowden led Southampton with 15 points, followed by senior Aaron Krzyzewski, who had 12 points. Senior Timmy Alejo joined Pike with 11 points and senior Andre Franklin finished with 10 points.
Facing a team that handed it one of its two losses this season, Southampton made sure there was no letdown in the opening round of the Suffolk County Class A playoffs. The host Mariners defeated Elwood/John Glenn, 85-64, on Friday night, eliminating the Knights from the postseason.
Glenn had defeated Southampton on its home court, 71-66, back on January 10. It was the first loss of the season for the Mariners and it ended a seven-game winning streak to start the season. Southampton exacted a little bit of revenge from that loss, taking it to the Knights on their home court, 79-37, on February 2. Friday night’s game wound up being somewhere in the middle of the first two games; Southampton controlled the game for most of the time, but Glenn didn’t go down quietly.
“I would say that’s a good assessment,” Lamison said after the game. “Overall, I think we got a little stagnant in the second quarter. Third quarter, we wanted to come out strong and we did. I think our defense was pretty solid most of the game.”
Glenn’s Josh Fenner hit a buzzer-beating three from almost mid-court just as time expired in the first half to make it a 29-23 Southampton lead. Lamison admitted after the game that shot “was a little bit of a stinger.” But, if anything, it seemed to fuel the Mariners for the second half.
About two minutes into the third quarter, Southampton started to go on a bit of an offensive flurry, led by Pike, who had a put-back layup then a three to put his team up 41-30, forcing Glenn to call a timeout. Almost directly following the break, Krzyzewski and Pike hit back-to-back three-pointers to make it a 17-point game for the Mariners and forcing Glenn to take yet another timeout.
Southampton had a 60-39 lead after three quarters and cruised to victory in the fourth. Pike finished with a game-high 25 points. Franklin scored 21 off the bench, Krzyzewski finished with 13 points and junior Elijah Wingfield scored 12 points. Matt Noonan paced Glenn with 15 points and Fenner and Andrew Song each scored 14.
Franklin and Pike said after the game that a good week of practice leading up to Friday night’s tilt with Glenn really helped the team. The Mariners had two hardworking practices on Monday and Tuesday, then scrimmaged two large schools in Lindenhurst and Half Hollow Hills West on Wednesday and Thursday.