This has been an interesting and exciting week for me. I’ve seen three HS basketball games since Saturday, had the Super Bowl on Sunday, and have an interesting week of basketball games coming up with the County Playoffs looming in the next two weeks.
First, I’ll begin with the Sachem North girls basketball team. I saw them play, and beat, Connetquot last night, which was a tough test for them. North was 5-6 in Suffolk County’s League II, and they had three games to play. One of their final three opponents, Walt Whitman, is a solid pick to contend for the county championship, so I wrote that off as an automatic loss. That would mean they have to beat playoff-bound Central Islip on the final day of the season, and Connetquot last night.
Back in January, Connetquot beat North by 18 points, but Sachem North was without one of their best players, junior guard Erin McNaulty, who was battling an ankle injury. Connetquot, after a decade of missing the playoffs, has seven wins on the season and has qualified for the county playoffs (any team with a .500 record within their league gets in). Last night, North took an early lead with the help of stellar shooting by senior forward Colleen McNeece, who had 10 of her 14 points in the first half. But Connetquot was able to battle back, cutting the lead to just three points in the 4th quarter. However, North did not crumble in the 4th quarter like they have at times this year against inferior opponents. Clutch play by McNaulty and Sophomore guard Danielle Levine in the 4th quarter helped them keep the lead for good. McNaulty led the game in scoring with 18 points, and Levine was right behind her with 16. North 59 – Connetquot 51. Guess the absence of McNaulty really was a factor in that first game.
I’m very happy to say that my high school radio station, 91.9 WSHR will be at Lindenhurst HS on Friday night for what is essentially a League I girls basketball championship game. With Sachem East losing to Ward Melville last Friday (their first of the season, and first League loss since 2006), and Lindenhurst still at only one loss (to Sachem East, by 5 points on January 18th), the winner of Friday’s game will be the League I champion. Lindenhurst hasn’t won a League title since 1987, and head coach Greg Flynn is very excited for Friday night, inviting everyone from his CYO teams to come to the gymnasium. Should be a great game!
In the girls playoff race, there are a few teams alive still. The interesting one out of League I is Commack (5-7), who has to go through Brentwood and Ward Melville to qualify. Brentwood is 3-8, but a road game against a gritty Brentwood team is never a guarantee. But if they win, it sets up an interesting game at Commack on Tuesday night. Will Ward Melville be pushing all-out when they’ve already locked up a playoff spot? How badly do the Commack girls want a playoff spot? Commack lost by only 1 point at Ward Melville back on January 21st. If the Lady Cougars beat Brentwood this Friday, you know where I will be at 6:30 PM on Tuesday!
East Islip coach, Mike Petre knows a lot about North Babylon girls basketball. He led them to back-to-back State championship game appearances, and four consecutive County semi-final appearances. Now in his first year at EI, he’ll battle his former team with East Islip (5-7) needing to beat North Bab and Riverhead to make the playoffs. Not an easy task, as both opponents are a combined 22-2 in League III this season. North Babylon has yet to lose a game.
And congrats to Comsewogue (Port Jeff Station) on clinching a playoff spot in dramatic fashion down in League IV! Samantha Kane hit a buzzer-beater lay-up to give Comsewogue a 34-33 victory over Hauppague. Kane ended up with 17 points.