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Boys’ Basketball Featured in Port Jeff Patch

January 29, 2011


Pandolfi 2011 Basketball

Greenport’s loss had to leave Tim Pandolfi smiling

Last night’s electrifying 71-43 win for the boys basketball team included it all: Tim Pandolfi’s 1,000th career point, 1 of his 38 despite flu-like symptoms, a raucous crowd that made Swanson Gymnasium feel like a true home court advantage and a thrilling 4th quarter that gave us a win over rival Port Jeff.  (Speaking of which, we need to come up with a title for this game.  The Route 25A Brawl?  The Battle for Se-Port?)  The Port Jefferson Patch covered the game:

The Stony Brook School’s boys varsity basketball Bears, 6-1 (7-3), came on late Friday night to defeat the Port Jefferson Royals, 4-2 (5-4), in a 71-43 League VIII matchup, in Stony Brook.

Coming in to the game five points away from his 1000th career point, was Long Island’s leader in points per game, Bears’ guard, Tim Pandolfi. Pandolfi said he had caught a fever the night before and wasn’t even sure he’d be able to play in this one. That fever seemed to carry over as Pandolfi missed his first six shots from the field, while the Royals took a 2-8 lead.

“I felt like I was forcing it at first, but I start a lot of games off like that, it just takes some time to find my groove,” Pandolfi said.

With the first quarter winding down, Pandolfi drove to the hoop to sink in a lay-up and was then sent to the line for an extra free throw. As his shot fell through the hoop, his teammates came to center court in congratulations, with the home crowd on their feet with applause. Pandolfi’s mother came onto the court and head coach Mike Hickey brought him his honorary 1000th  point ball.

“Tim doesn’t really like the show aspect of it, he usually doesn’t even allow his parents to come down to the games,” Hickey said. “This was an important milestone, though, and a thanks to all the Pandolfi’s for their hard work and sacrifice in helping out this program.”

The Pandolfi’s effort in bringing Tim from Patchogue to Stony Brook whenever the court was open has allowed him to become the sixth player to reach 1000 career points in the school’s 89 years.

When the court cleared for the game to continue, the Royals’ Braden Colucci reminded everyone of the competition at hand as he charged down court for two, and put his team up 10-13 at the end of the first quarter, Colucci ended the game with 10 points. The Royals used their size well down low, and left few rebounds for the Bears. Port Jefferson’s Anthony Lanieri helped build that lead, and finished with a team high 15 points.

But the Bears answered throughout the next quarter. Stony Brook guard Richie Armand closed in on every loose dribble and took them the other way on fast breaks, Armand had 11 points at the games’ end. The Bears showed an aggression that they needed to counter the Royals shot guarding and ease around the basket. Putting the Bears at an even greater advantage was the Royals’ forward Greg Nielson, who began nursing a sprained ankle after a fall in the first half, Nielson would end the game with 12 points. The half ended with the Bears up, 32-28.

In the third quarter, the upper hand changed again. The Royals were able to shut down the shooting that had given the Bears the lead, but the Royals couldn’t cover much of the difference on offense. Port Jefferson ran hot in the third quarter and didn’t pay enough attention to slowing down and setting up an offense, but the aggressive defense allowed them to win the quarter while shrinking the lead to 3.

The fourth quarter opened up with the Bears up 42-39, and the Bears played a flat out abusive final 8 minutes. Nearly every Royal pass in bounds was met by two defenders, knocked away and brought home for the Bears. The Bears put up 11 unanswered points in the first 3 minutes, and ended up with a 29-4 run, ending the game at 71-43.

“When you’re down 3 points, going into the fourth quarter, everyone wants to be a hero, but no one wants to listen,” Port Jefferson head coach Mike Riley said. “We needed someone to just step up and control the ball, but there were just too many turnovers, we couldn’t get into our game.”

The Royals had also been missing starting forward Terrell Rose, who was out for a non-sports-related issue. Riley says that when this team’s together, he has no doubt that it will be a different game.

For Hickey, it was all smiles.

“That’s what it looks like when a team turns it on and is playing their game,” he said. “It’s great for Tim’s success to be recognized, and it’s even better for the team to step up and know that they don’t have to rely on anyone.”

Well, the Bears may not have relied on Pandolfi, but his season high 38-points, certainly helped. Pandolfi says he’s had some looks from Division I schools, but thinks it’d be best to hold off and try to build some strength at the next level in a Junior College. He’s still shopping around right now until spring; it’s only expected that Long Island’s leading scorer would weigh his options.

Both the Royals and Bears have lost to League VIII’s Greenport by under 10 points, and both seem confident that the results should be different the next time they meet. But before Greenport, these teams will face each other again as a makeup day has been scheduled for Thursday Feb. 3 at Port Jefferson.



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