On This Day in History | 2003

The 2003 League VIII Champions | Penn (#31), Harney (#4), Sprauve (#23) & Mealey (Back, 3rd from right)

On this day eight years ago, the boys’ basketball team completed an undefeated League VIII Championship season with a 71-48 win over Pierson in Sag Harbor. The Bears were motivated not only by the historical implications of a victory, but by a promise made at the beginning of the season by assistant coach Thom Brownworth. In November the Senior Master promised each player a Jim Dandy from Friendly’s if the team completed an undefeated season, knowing there are few motivators like five scoops of ice cream.

As the Bears walked into the gym they were surprised to find the junior varsity team, undefeated on the season, trailing by 21. The boys chipped away at the deficit, but still substantially trailed heading into the fourth as the varsity headed downstairs to the locker room. As the Bears dressed they heard the excitement building in the gym above them and wondered if the junior varsity was in the midst of an incredible comeback. Their questions were answered as they ascended from the basement to find the boys in the lead. The JV eventually hung on for an emotional victory that gave them an unblemished record and, having seen the younger Bears accomplish their goal, the varsity seemed ready to make history for themselves.

However, as the game commenced it was the Whalers, fueled by the Senior Night crowd, who seemed to be the more spirited bunch. Uncharacteristic turnovers, inconsistent defense, and poor offensive rebounding allowed a team they had beaten by 20 on January 23rd to stay with them. Despite their sub-par play, the Brook grabbed the quarter, 17-14. The Blue and White ratcheted up the defense in the second to win the period 18-13, but were still not comfortable with an eight-point halftime edge.

During the interim, coach Mike Hickey told his boys that they had worked too hard to let an undefeated season slip away in a game like this. The Bears showed their agreement with a 23-8 quarter that all but put the game out of reach. 3-point bombs from Steve Harney and Brendan Penn, who silenced a heckler with back-to-back trifectas, galvanized the offense. The starters were able to rest in the final frame as the Brook cruised to victory. The win was the Bears’ 17th in a row, a record under coach Hickey, as they hung their first League Championship banner since 1994. Harney led the Bears with 19 points including four 3-pointers. Penn, who also drilled four trifectas, and Sean Sprauve each added 17 while Ryan Mealey chipped in 10.

Stony Brook’s Ryan Mealey hit a layup to spark a 15-7 third-quarter run yesterday, sealing a 71-48 boys basketball win over Pierson. The run gave SB (14-0 League VIII) a 50-34 lead en route to its first undefeated season in the program’s 80-year history. SB also won its first league title since 1994. Steve Harney had 19 points and 11 assists, and Sean Sprauve 17 points and 17 rebounds.

~ Newsday



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