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Boys’ Basketball 2011: Season Review

March 6, 2011

Farqu Taylor scores vs. Port Jeff

In early October, long before Swanson Gymnasium was filled with the echoes of bouncing balls and squeaking sneakers, the boys basketball squad was holding its collective breath.  Tim Pandolfi was about to undergo knee surgery after slightly tearing his meniscus in an alumni basketball game and, with the start of the season just one month away, the high hopes the blue and white had for the season were seemingly in jeopardy.  However, in the interim that our peerless guard was hobbled, we learned something about the 2010-2011 Bears.  With a difficult non-league slate that included games against League VII contender Babylon and Class AA Ward Melville, it looked like the boys would take a couple of 20 point drubbings, chalk it up to not having their star and set their sights on the league season after Christmas break; but, our boys were not inclined to accept that scenario.  In an overtime victory over Babylon and a narrow 5 point loss to a crosstown giant, the boys proved that they had plenty of heart and skill from top to bottom and that they were more than a supreme talent surrounded by mediocre role players.  When Pandolfi rejoined the team in early January he found his stride quickly, scoring 22 in his 1st game back against Shelter Island to begin one of the finest individual seasons in program history.

Over the course of the season the experience and heart that was forged in Pandolfi’s absence greatly benefitted the team as night in night out different players stepped up when they were needed most: Richie Armand’s game-winning free throws vs. Babylon, Jerome Washington’s 20 points vs. Ross, Marco Masakayan’s 3 three-pointers on a sprained ankle vs. Port Jeff, Kai Strachan’s hot shooting vs. Ross, Forrest Hull’s huge late buckets vs. Bridgehampton, Farqu Taylor’s 14 points in the Class C semifinal vs. Port Jeff and Pandolfi’s masterful 38 point flu game vs. Port Jeff.  Some other highlights from the season included:

  • Tim Pandolfi becoming the #1 scorer on Long Island with 27.3 points per game
  • Tim Pandolfi becoming the 6th member of Stony Brook’s 1,000 point club
  • Tim Pandolfi being named All-County, the 1st since Jon Marvin in 1998
  • Finishing the regular season 12-2 for 2nd place in League VIII
  • Becoming the best defense in Suffolk County, allowing just 42.3 points per game
  • Defeating future County Champion Port Jeff twice during the regular season
  • A stretch during which they won 12 of 13 games
  • Earning a playoff berth for the 11th straight season

While the team ultimately fell short of their goal of defending their County and Long Island Championships, they exhibited heart and a desire to compete in every matchup this season.  That was never more visible than in the Class C semifinal contest vs. Port Jeff.  On a night that saw everything you could want in a high school basketball game, two worthy teams battled for 32 minutes before a raucous crowd.  Though the Bears ultimately fell in the final minutes, 53-48, you could not feel anything but pride for how they had competed against a Royals team that was playing at full-strength for the 1st time all season.  They took the eventual County Champions to the brink, leading by 7 with just over 3 minutes remaining, but could not hit the big shot down the stretch to put the game away.  Hope remains in those returning and the young blood moving up from the junior varsity program who have won 31 games over the last 3 seasons.  For those moving on we will miss them, but will not soon forget everything they gave to the blue and white:

Tim Pandolfi | There is nothing more exciting than watching Tim play the game he loves.  When the ball is in his hands anything seems possible and time and again he gave us reason to believe that.  A few of his memorable performances over the years include:

  • 3 4th quarter 3-pointers, including a double-clutch bomb right out of a spin move, to bury Mercy in a thrilling County semifinal game in 2009
  • His 27 point performance vs. undefeated Southold in the 2010 County Championship in which he drilled a 25-foot bomb to give the Brook the lead with 20 seconds left
  • His game-sealing steal and score in the 2010 Long Island Championship
  • His masterful 38 point performance despite the flu in a Friday night win over Port Jeff on 1/28/11

We have become accustomed to witnessing the amazing on a nightly basis over the last 3 years and not seeing him wearing the blue and white next year will be hard to get used to, but as one of the very best players in 89 years of Stony Brook basketball moves on we should be nothing but thankful for having had the opportunity to cheer for him.

Farqu Taylor | Farqu Taylor is the kind of teammate you want to go to war with.  You never have to worry about him having the right mindset or energy when he takes the floor.  Most nights he won’t lead the team in scoring or rebounds, but he will do the types of things that do not show up in the box score but that have a definite impact on the game’s decision.  Farqu has a knack for coming up with a key rebound or a timely steal and for every second he is on the floor he gives the team everything he has on both ends of the floor.  Perhaps his finest moment came in his final game for the Bears, as he scored 14 big points (a career high) in the Class C semifinal vs. Port Jeff.  His intensity, sacrifice and sheer love of competition will be missed next season.

Forrest Hull | For a team to be successful it needs certain players who will accept whatever role they are given and do it diligently.  Forrest Hull is one of those players.  Before the season began coach Mike Hickey was unsure if he even had a spot for Forrest, but once the senior big man made the team he was far from the 12th man on the bench.  Hull provided an important lift off the bench for much of the season, even starting a few games, including an 11 point performance vs. Bridgehampton.  His ability to snare key rebounds and bait defenders with his deceptive pump fakes helped him fill a vital role on the team that had a direct impact on their success.

Postseason Honors

  • Tim Pandolfi | All-County/All-Conference
  • Richie Armand | All-League
  • Marco Masakayan | All-League
  • Farqu Taylor | All-League
  • Forrest Hull | All-County Academic
  • Jerome Washington | All-League Honorable Mention

 

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