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Boys’ Basketball Downs Babylon in OT Thriller

December 3, 2010

It didn’t take long for the excitement to return to Swanson Gymnasium as the boys basketball team opened its season this evening in front of a packed house.  In a hard-fought, back-and-forth struggle, the Bears overcame Babylon in overtime, 48-47, to steal a dramatic victory.  With one of the County’s deadliest threats, Tim Pandolfi, watching from the bench, the Brook outplayed the Class B Panthers and perhaps showed a glimpse of their exciting potential.

1st Quarter

Before our boys took the floor Pandolfi implored his teammates, “Don’t play scared!”  However, in the opening minutes the Bears looked more like deer in the headlights as they quickly fell behind 2-8.  3-point shooting got us back into the game as Marco Masakayan woke the crowd up with a long ball and after a Babylon layup Kai Strachan connected from beyond the arc to cut the deficit to 8-10, igniting an 18-2 run.  A steal and layup by Farqu Taylor knotted the game and forced the Babylon coach to burn a timeout.  Masakayan grabbed the momentum for the blue and white, by connecting with his 2nd 3 of the night, energizing the crowd and giving us the lead at the end of 1. | 13-10

2nd Quarter

The Bears continued to push the lead as they began the 2nd frame.  Spencer Cannon stole a Babylon pass and Masakayan drilled a 3rd trifecta.  Cannon followed with a great hustle play to grab an offensive rebound, leading to Strachan drawing a foul and hitting both free throws for an 18-12 lead, capping a 13-0 run.  After a Babylon putback a flurry of activity followed as Jerome Washington blocked a shot, to the delight of the students, Strachan connected on a 3 then stole the ball on the next possession and Taylor laid the ball in for a 23-12 lead, ending an 18-2 run.  Turnovers in the final minutes allowed Babylon to chip away at the lead, but the Brook went into the half with a 23-15 advantage. | 23-15

3rd Quarter

The beginning of the 3rd quarter was a seesaw battle as the Panthers clawed their way back into the contest.  Masakayan’s 4th 3-pointer of the game pushed the lead to 28-20 but sloppy offense by the Bears allowed the visitors within 33-31 by the end of the period. | 33-31

4th Quarter

Babylon used a quick 3 point spurt to grab their first lead since midway through the 1st quarter, but it was short-lived as Strachan was fouled while making an incredible, acrobatic, falling down layup to seize the edge once again.  Babylon tied the game at 36, but 2 free throws by Masakayan and a heads-up play by Richie Armand, who ran past 2 Panther defenders for a fast break layup, gave the Bears a 40-36 cushion.  Babylon closed to 40-38, Masakayan hit 2 free throws and Babylon hit a layup and 1 out of 2 free throws to close within 42-41.  On the Bears’ next possession Coach Mike Hickey called a timeout with 11 seconds left on the shot clock and drew up a set play.  The boys executed beautifully as Armand threaded a perfect pass through 6 defending arms, finding Strachan for a layup and a 44-41 lead with less than 2 minutes left.  Needing a stop the defense came through on the next 2 possessions, but the Brook was unable to ice the game with a score.  Babylon cut the lead to 44-43 with 29.5 seconds remaining and got the ball back when we missed the front end of a 1-and-1.  The Panthers’ best perimeter threat drew a foul with 16.3 seconds remaining and hit 1 out of 2 free throws to knot the game at 44.  The Bears still had a chance to win, but ended up giving Babylon an opportunity to steal a win by turning the ball over with 6 seconds left.  With the entire crowd on its feet chanting “DE-FENCE!,” Strachan nearly stole the ball off the ensuing inbounds pass and a missed runner by the visitors spelled overtime to the delight of the Stony Brook faithful. | 44-44

Overtime

Masakayan took a charge to begin the 4 minute extra period, serving notice that the Bears may have squandered a late lead, but were not going to surrender the fight.  Washington followed with 2 huge free throws  to give the Brook a 46-44 edge.  Babylon cut into the lead with a free throw, then took the lead for themselves, 46-47, with 1:11 remaining.  The entire crowd stood for the next frantic minute that had about as many twists and turns as any 60 second period during Coach Hickey’s 22-year tenure.  The Bears came up empty on offense, but Strachan snared a huge defensive rebound with 26 seconds left.  Still trailing by 1, the Bears never got a shot off, turning the ball over with 12.4 seconds remaining.

An uneasy murmur settled over the crowd as an exciting evening threatened to leave us with a bitter aftertaste.  Champions rise to the occasion when their backs are against the wall, and that’s exactly what captain Taylor and Armand did.  Babylon inbounded the ball and Armand and Taylor wrested the ball away from a Panther.  Taylor grabbed the loose ball and, while falling down, dished the ball to Armand who drew a foul as he drove toward the hoop.  With 4.9 seconds showing on the scoreboard Armand nailed both shots from the charity stripe as the crowd roared.  “DE-FENCE!” reverberated off the Swanson walls as Babylon drove up the floor with the game on the line.  Their last gasp was a runner that hit off the backboard and the rim, landing safely in the hands of Taylor who threw the ball downcourt then let out a primal yell, serving notice that Stony Brook basketball was back. | 48-47

Farqu Taylor stole the ball with 10 seconds left and found Richard Armand, who made two free throws with 4.2 seconds remaining in overtime to propel Stony Brook (1-0) in a non-league game. Marco Masakayan and Kai Strachan led Stony Brook with 16 points each.

~ Newsday

Impressions

It wasn’t pretty and at times it was downright frustrating to watch, but the boys pulled out a big win tonight against a quality opponent.  The 1st game of the year is always an adventure and undoubtedly Coach Hickey will be eager to work out some kinks during Monday’s practice, but what shone through the turnovers and defensive lapses was the type of heart and desire to compete this team possesses.  It is difficult to ramp up the intensity for 4 more minutes after giving away a late lead, but the Brook did what was needed when the game’s decision hung in the balance.  It was a great victory and one that should give the boys plenty of confidence as their best player did not set foot on the court.  The Bears will face Class AA Ward Melville at home next Friday night @ 7pm in a battle for Three Village bragging rights.

Notes

The victory was the 224th of Coach Hickey’s career as he improved to 5-3 all-time vs. Babylon… The difference in the game may have come at the free throw line as the Bears connected on 12 of 14 attempts while Babylon hit only 8 of 19… Assistant coach Steve Harney ’04 knows what it’s like to steal one from Babylon.  During his sophomore year for the Bears on 1/22/02 he hit a tough, lefty layup with 1 minute left to seal a 50-46 win.  Free throws spelled the Panthers’ demise in that game as well as they hit on just 15 of 31… The last 3 matchups with Babylon have been decided by a total of 11 points: 1/22/02 (50-46) | 12/9/02 (46-52) | 12/3/10 (48-47)… The boys junior varsity basketball team also downed Babylon, 45-33, using a 12-0 run to end the game.

Box Score

  • Masakayan | 16 points
  • Strachan | 16 points
  • Taylor | 6 points
  • Armand | 4 points
  • Washington | 4 points
  • Cannon | 2 points

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