The regular season ends this week, and a number of local teams are setting their sights on the postseason. First up is the Suffolk County Championships, with the state tournament, slated to begin the first week of March, the ultimate goal.
In League III, Riverhead and Smithtown West, both 10-3, were slated to play for the league title yesterday. Riverhead tuned up for the showdown last Thursday, traveling to Smithtown East and coming away with an effortless 79-64 victory. As has been the case all season, the Blue Wave spread the scoring around. Ryan Blitzer was the big gun on this night, tallying 25 points while dishing out six assists and grabbing six rebounds. Markim Austin scored 21 and accounted for 10 rebounds. Quinn Funn added 15 points. The Wave, 13-3 overall, play North Babylon at home tomorrow. Riverhead and Smithtown West are vying for seeding position in the County Class AA bracket.
East Hampton, 6-4 in League VI and 11-5 overall, clinched a berth in the Class A bracket with a gutsy 80-75 win at Glenn Thursday. Rolando Garces, who has been on fire of late, was downright unconscious this time out, going off for a career high 33 points as Bonac surged ahead in overtime. Thomas King and Danny McKee tallied 18 each for the locals and Brendan Hughes added 10. Garces also grabbed eight rebounds.
Bonac, 11-5 overall, is tied for second place in the league with Bayport/Blue Point behind Amityville (10-0) – the Mighty Warriors were due in East Hampton tomorrow for a 4:15 affair with the Bubbies. East Hampton ends the regular season tomorrow at Bayport.
Southampton, playing at home against winless Hampton Bays (0-12 in League VII) Thursday, probably expected the Baymen to roll over. But these two heated rivals always bring it against each other. The Mariners (11-2) prevailed in a nail biter, 59-50, to stay within striking distance of Babylon (11-1) in League VII. Credit Shaundell Fishburne, who scored 15, dished off for three more, and had 12 rebounds. Scott Ricca and Lyle Smith each scored 11 for the winners. Southampton finishes off the regular season up in Mattituck tomorrow. The Mariners and Babylon may well end up playing for the Class B championship and a berth in the State playoffs against the Nassau County "B" winner.
Pierson has cemented down second place in League VIII. The Whalers crushed Southold Thursday 75-50 to run their league mark to 10-3. Second to undefeated Stony Brook. Forrest Loesch exploded for 26 points and Patrick Sloane tallied 11 and 10 rebounds. Jake Bennett also scored 11. Liam Walker led the losers with 18 and David O'Day chipped in with 17.
Stony Brook comes to Sag Harbor for a 6:15 showdown tomorrow. The game may not affect the seedings, but could serve as a prelude to the Class C title game. Greenport (8-4) may have something to say about that: the Porters took apart Southold 74-7 at home Thursday led by Billy Doucett, who had 20 points and 11 boards. Gavin Dibble just missed a triple double with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. Austin Hooks scored 18 and grabbed 13 boards. The Porters are historically a dangerous playoff team. The Settlers are suffering through a rare down season with a 3-9 league mark (4-12 overall). The Porters play at Shelter Island tomorrow.
Speaking of Shelter Island, the locals have had a resurgent season and as one of the few a Class D schools on Long Island could easily earn a berth in the state playoffs. Right now they are tied with Bridgehampton for fourth place in League VIII with identical 6-6 marks; the Bees are a Class D school as well. If the Bees get by Ross (0-11) tomorrow the 10-time State Class D champs may well find themselves on the road upstate again.