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Top 10: Coach Hickey’s Favorite Victories

December 30, 2010

2010 | Coach Hickey displays the spoils from his County Championship victory over Southold

In coach Mike Hickey’s 22 years as the head of the boys basketball program he has engineered 224 victories.  It was a difficult task for him to pare those down to his 10 favorites, but he finally picked the following monumental clashes as his most memorable.

1.  2/19/1994 | County Playoffs vs. Wyandanch | 65-58

The boys basketball team earned its 1st playoff victory since entering the public school league 20 years earlier by defeating Wyandanch, an opponent 3 league above them.  The Bears came out of the gates hot as offensive catalysts Matt Mattimore and Jonas Fischer found their form early.  The Brook led 37-27 at halftime, but after the Warriors scored 20 in the 3rd quarter, the Bears clung to a 3 point edge entering the decisive frame.  Fischer scored 8 points, all on free throws, and Mattimore drilled a big 3-pointer, his 4th of the game, to seal a historic win for the blue and white.  Mattimore and Fischer finished with 23 points apiece while Nkumu Mandungu was a colossal force inside, finishing just shy of a triple-double with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 8 blocks.

2.  12/14/1995 | vs. Northport | 36-34

In the Smithtown Holiday Tournament the Bears matched up with Northport, a State Tournament semifinalist the season before.  Trailing by 2 entering the 4th the Brook outscored the Tigers 10-6 to win the game.  Robbie Marvin, the only player on either squad in double-figures with 19, connected on 2 free throws with 27 seconds left that proved the difference.

3.  2/20/1996 | County Playoffs vs. Wyandanch | 68-66

Robbie Marvin had nothing short of a legendary performance as he almost single-handedly led the Bears to victory.  After one quarter the score was Marvin 17, Wyandanch 11 and the point guard was only just getting started.  He finished with a career high 39 points, connecting on 6 3-pointers, including one from near half court and hit almost every big shot to keep the Brook in the contest.  With the game tied and only seconds remaining, Marvin missed a runner in the lane, but Paul Ciofrone (18 points) tipped in the ball at the buzzer to give the blue and white a thrilling win.

4.  12/17/1997 | vs. Hauppauge | 60-59

In a heated battle with a League IV opponent, the Bears came out on top before a raucous crowd in Swanson Gymnasium.  Trailing by 6 entering the 4th quarter, Jon and Dave Marvin took over, scoring all 18 of the team’s points in the final frame.  Dave accounted for 13, including the last 8, tying the score at 55 with a 3-pointer, tying the score at 57 with a tough runner, then giving the Bears the lead for good with a 3-pointer that made it 60-58.  Hauppauge was fouled at the buzzer, but an Eagle missed the 2nd free throw to give the Brook the win.  Dave finished with 21 points, Jon with 15.

5.  1/14/2005 | vs. Greenport | 59-34

This Friday night clash in Swanson Gymnasium was slated to be one of the games of the year in League VIII.  Both teams were undefeated in league play, but it remained to be seen if the Bears could match-up with the fastbreaking Porters.  The result was something no one, not even coach Hickey, could have anticipated.  The Bears destroyed their east end rivals and the highly-touted Ryan Creighton.  Freshman Mitch Singer connected from anywhere and everywhere on the floor while twin towers Jason Webster and Isom Chapelle, who limited Creighton, the future 2nd-leading scoring in New York State history, to 7 points, anchored a stingy defense.  Mike Hickey had the shot of the night, drilling a 60-footer at the 1st quarter buzzer.

The team rushes the floor after Eli Knowles slays Greenport

6.  2/6/2007 | vs. Greenport | 53-52

In the previous matchup the Bears had fallen to the Porters 51-54.  Now, with a share of the League Championship on the line the Brook got another chance to defeat Greenport and New York State’s future 2nd all-time leading scorer, Ryan Creighton.  Stacked against the Brook was the fact that 2 starters, Lou Pizzichillo and Efe Mokedi were out with injuries.  Before his squad got off the bus coach Hickey made sure his boys were not about to concede the game as a result of their circumstances.  He told them champions have to go through adversity and that a championship team would win this game despite the obstacles.  The contest see-sawed back and forth and the blue and white found themselves down by 1 with less than 30 seconds remaning.  Coach Hickey called timeout and set up a Princeton backdoor played that “worked to absolute perfection,” as he remembered, until Jerry Panzu’s layup was stymied by an incredible block by Greenport’s big man.  Creighton grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled by Mitch Singer with 7 seconds left.  The All-Long Island forward missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Singer snared the rebound.  He raced down the court, slithered through a double-team and found freshman Eli Knowles on other side of the court who buried an 18-footer at the buzzer to clinch a share of the League VIII Championship.  In the aftermath the Bears stormed the floor in celebration while the Greenport fans sat in stunned silence.

7.  12/14/2007 | vs. Smithtown West | 55-52

The Bears fiercely battled the Class AA Bulls for 3 periods, but found themselves down by 8 entering the 4th quarter.  Still trailing by 3 with 2:29 left the Brook went on a 7-0 run, the first 5 of which were scored by Lou Pizzichillo who vaulted to Bears into the lead on a clutch 3-point play with 1:33 showing on the clock.  Mitch Singer scored a team-high 19 points while Pizzichillo added 11.

Lou PIzzichillo goes in for 2 of his career-high 31 points

8.  2/16/2008 | County Playoffs vs. Southold | 66-48

The Bears’ dreams of a run to States had been dashed when Mitch Singer went down with an ACL tear in December.  Entering the playoffs the Bears faced their old nemesis, the Southold Settlers and the odds stacked against the blue and white were seemingly insurmountable.  The team’s premiere player, Singer, was out.  Adrien Husson, a starter, had been injured in a dirty play vs. the Ross School just 5 days earlier.  A 3rd starter had been separated from the school.  Starting shooting guard Lou Pizzichillo had a respiratory condition and fellow starter Franz Lawrence was fighting through lower back pain.  At full strength the Bears had narrowly beaten the Settlers twice that season, but how could they possibly contend under the circumstances?  In the locker room before the game coach Hickey addressed his battered troops and asked each of them what their favorite memory of the season was.  Senior Eric Duff responded with the answer his coach was looking for.  “This game is going to be my favorite memory,” he boldly said.  The Brook responded by running their rivals off the floor.  Pizzichillo turned in one of the most courageous performances in Stony Brook history, scoring 31 despite his sickness, on his birthday no less, in leading the Bears to a monumental win.  Freshman Tim Pandolfi added 12 big points and Duff chipped in with 11.

9.  2/20/2010 | County Championship vs. Southold | 50-48

Southold was ranked #4 in New York State and took an unblemished 18-0 record into the County Championship.  They had twice before beaten the Bears, breaking their hearts in the season’s final game just a week earlier.  There’s an old adage that says, “It’s hard to beat a good team 3 times in a season” and the blue and white made that clear in a thrilling game that featured 8 lead changes, 6 ties and no lead greater that 5 points.  Trailing 44-45 with just 20 seconds left it appeared the Settlers were about to steal a 3rd victory away from the Bears until Tim Pandolfi drilled his 3rd 3-pointer of the quarter from what seemed like the next town over.  The Bears got a stop on the next possession, the Settlers fouled Pandolfi and he sank the 2 most important free throws of his career to extend the lead to 4.  After a 3-point play Southold trailed by only 1 with 2 seconds remaining.  Pandolfi was fouled and connected on 1 of 2 free throws leaving Southold with a 60 foot prayer that went unanswered, giving coach Hickey his 2nd County Championship.  Pandolfi led all scorers with 27 points in yet another clutch playoff performance.

10.  3/9/2010 | Long Island Championship vs. Friends Academy | 35-29

In the boys 2nd Long Island Championship appearance in school history they were matched up with the team that dealt them a loss in the 2007 LI Title game, the Friends Academy Quakers.  Tim Pandolfi helped the Bears re-write the script, scoring a game-high 16 points, including the most 2 most important ones of the game with 2:05 remaining.  The Bears were clinging to a 3 point lead and needed a stop.  Pandolfi answered as he and Marco Masakayan forced the Quaker point guard to turn the ball over, resulting in a fast break layup that stymied the worthy Nassau opponent.

Honorable Mention

1/27/2003 | vs. Bridgehampton | 59-58

The Bears built 32-24 halftime lead, but after starting center Burt Vimont broke his leg in the 3rd quarter both a victory and an undefeated record were severely threatened; however, the blue and white responded.  They built a 12 point 4th quarter lead, then withstood a furious rally to defeat the killer bees on their diminutive home floor for the 1st time since 1994.  Steve Harney missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 2 seconds left but grabbed his own rebound to seal the win.  He finished with 15 points and 8 assists, Sean Sprauve led the Bears with 16 points and Brendan Penn added 11.  Vimont recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds before his outstanding season was abruptly cut short.

12/12/2003 | vs. Patchogue-Medford | 50-48

Steve Harney registered his 2nd game-winning shot in as many nights, hitting a layup with just 7 seconds remaining in the 5th Annual Seahawks Pre-Holiday Tournament.  The Raiders were able to get the ball up the floor, but scored just after the buzzer to give coach Mike Hickey his 1st win over a Class AA school.

1/10/2004 | vs. Babylon | 64-44

The night before the Brook had suffered a stunning 42-44 loss at Mattituck, then, because the Babylon athletic director refused to change the time of the game, were forced to travel to the Panthers for an 11am game the next morning.  The team that should have been tired and lackluster was spirited and aggressive and pulled out a satisfying win.

Pete Carmel, Mitch Singer and coach Hickey show off the school’s 1st boys basketball County Title trophies

2/19/2007 | County Championship vs. Mercy 43-32

It was coach Hickey’s 5th appearance in the Suffolk County Championship and after 4 disappointments he finally earned one of the few things missing from his litany of accomplishments.  Leading 34-31 with 3:38 left in the game Mitch Singer was again the hero for the Bears, scoring on a tough drive, then stealing the ball and feeding Pete Carmel on a fast break layup for a 38-31 lead that the Brook would not relinquish.  Singer finished with 10 points and Carmel led the team with 12.

The crowd reacts to Tim Pandolfi’s 3rd 3-pointer of the 4th

2/17/2009 | County Semifinals vs. Mercy | 57-51

Contests with Mercy are never easy affairs and in the 2 regular season match-ups the Brook pulled out hard-fought victories.  With a berth in the County Championship on the line both teams engaged in a ferocious battle that in the 3rd quarter almost erupted into an actual fistfight.  The atmosphere was charged and the packed Swanson stands only added to the urgency of the moment.  Tim Pandolfi was able to put all of that aside as he coolly sank 3 4th quarter 3-pointers to frustrate the Monarchs for a 3rd time on the season.  His 1st trifecta broke a 41-41 tie and his second gave the Bears a 52-48 lead.  He saved his best for last; however, as on the very next possession he double-clutched a shot right out of a spin move to break Mercy’s back with an incredible, albeit ill-advised, long ball that gave the blue and white a 55-48 edge.  Pandolfi finished with 19 points while Logan Vimont turned in his best performance of the year with 18.

Coach Mike Hickey Celebrates 25th Season

Coach Hickey’s 25th Anniversary Team

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