Andre Franklin got things started for the Southampton boys basketball team—and he made sure he was going to finish things too.
The senior drained seven three-pointers en route to a 29-point game in the Mariners’ 60-53 victory over Elmont in the Class A Long Island Championship at Stony Brook University on Sunday afternoon. It’s the school’s fourth straight Long Island title, but its first-ever Class A title.
With Sunday’s win, the Mariners will make their first appearance in the New York State Final Four since 2000, when Southampton won the school’s first-ever state title.
Southampton will play Our Lady of Lourdes High School (Section I: Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester) in the state semifinal on Saturday, March 18, at 10:45 a.m. Lourdes defeated Poughkeepsie, 61-46, to punch its ticket to the state Final Four, which will be held at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton.
The winner of Lourdes/Southampton will play the winner of Irondequoit (Section V: Genesee Valley) and Jamesville/DeWitt (Section III: Central New York) on Sunday, March 19, at noon for the state title.
Southampton head coach Herm Lamison said after Sunday’s victory that he’s grateful to have the opportunity to play for a state title once again. “I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t think I’d be making it back up there as a coach. It’s every coach’s dream,” he said. “I’m just happy that these kids can get us to that point and give us an opportunity.”
After sophomore Micah Snowden’s two free throws ended Elmont’s 9-0 run early in the second quarter, Franklin tied the game at 11-11 with a three-pointer. He went on to sink two more threes in a span of less than two minutes to give Southampton a slim lead.
With the game tied at 22-22, Franklin hit another three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining in the first half to give his team a three-point lead at halftime.
The Mariners gave themselves a big cushion by outscoring Elmont, 17-5, in the third quarter. Southampton led by as much as 19 points in the second half, mostly due to strong defense and rebounding.
The Spartans made a run late in the fourth quarter, desperately trying to cut the lead to single digits, but Franklin came up big again. He drained another three-pointer that put Southampton up, 57-44, with 1:04 remaining.
It was the dagger the Mariners needed to finish off the Spartans.
“I was feeling good, so I just took the shot, tried to make the lead a little bit bigger so we had a more comfortable position,” Franklin said, about taking that final three-point shot.
Lamison praised his players for beating an Elmont team that many thought would beat the Mariners.
“I know there were a lot of doubters, but we don’t feed into that. We don’t doubt ourselves or our ability,” he said. “Coming into this season, we knew there were a lot of obstacles, but, I tell ya, these kids have an internal toughness. They don’t look tough from the outside, but internally they have this toughness about them, this togetherness, that really personifies them.”
Senior Timmy Alejo scored 11 points and hauled in 12 rebounds for Southampton. Snowden finished with nine points and nine rebounds. Senior Aaaron Krzyzewski scored only two points but led the team with 13 rebounds.
Franklin—whose 29 points was just a point shy of his career high—returned to his sixth-man role with junior Elijah Wingfield back in the lineup after missing the Section XI Championship with a sprained ankle. Being that first player off the bench seems to be a role Franklin, and the Mariners for that matter, feed off.
It’s been 17 years since the school’s last state title, which it won as a Class B team. Having moved up to Class A this year, the task might be a little tougher—though it has made the successes so far this year sweeter.
“The fact that we moved up to Class A is even better, because we made history in our school—from winning the county championship, to Small Schools, and now to this. It feels amazing,” Franklin said. “But we’re still not done. I think we can take home the state championship.”
While the varsity team rightfully has stolen most of the limelight this season, the Southampton junior varsity team had a very successful season of its own.
Led by head coach Terry McNamara, who is also an assistant coach on the varsity team, the JV Mariners went 18-2 and won the League VI title. Players include: Lucas Botempo, Jomel Delacruz, Lachlan Desane, Sincere Faggins, Artemis Gavalas, Scott Healey, James Malone, Deion Minter, Avery Owen, Arthur Pereira, Dakoda Smith and Kristian Wheeler.