The clock finally struck 12 for three local basketball teams that made runs in the state tournament.
Playing in a New York Class B State regional final game, the Southampton Mariners ran into a talented and determined Woodlands team Friday at Beacon High School and succumbed, 73-47.
Though disappointed at being eliminated just one game shy of the State Final Four tournament, in the long run the boys team will likely remember a magical season that culminated March 4 when the locals took the Long Island Class B Championship by knocking off Wheatley, 61-58.
The game, nip and tuck throughout featured a shootout between the Mariners' Taylor Sanders and Wheatley's Kevin Martins, who dropped home nine three-pointers in route to a game high 29 points. Sanders hit seven of 10 from downtown but had the last laugh, nailing two free throws with seconds remaining to put the game on ice after Martins nailed a three to make it 59-56. Sanders finished with 24 points. Southampton finished with a 17-6 record.
On Friday it was another matter entirely. Woodlands, quick and athletic, jumped off to an early lead and forced the locals to play catch-up. The Mariners had no answer for Brandon Johnson, who tallied a game high 25 points. Shaundell Fishburne, an All-Long Island candidate for Southampton and a four-year starter, led the losers with 19 points.
Woodlands also had a representative in the girls' Class B tournament, and the Lady Falcons knocked out Hampton Bays, the Long Island Class B champions, in a Regional Final game 57-42. Hot shooting Alex Fotopoulos tried to keep the locals in the game, notching 22 points, but Woodlands proved too deep and talented for the Baywomen, particularly Imani Tilford, who led Woodlands on an 8-0 second half run that provided the breathing room. The All-State senior led all scorers with 25 points and went over 2000 for her career during the game.
Hampton Bays beat Oyster Bay 61-56 on March 4 for the LI Class B championship. Fotopoulos popped for 22 in that one, leading all scorers.
The historic ride of the Shelter Island boys' team finally ended Saturday when Coleman Catholic, a traditional Class D powerhouse, 73-46, eliminated the locals. The Statesman simply overwhelmed the locals, quickly opening a double-digit lead and coasting to a 20-point halftime edge. Nathan Munday led the losers with 10 points.
The Indians (12-11 for the season) knocked off Clarke on March 4 to advance to the regional finals.