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Bears Make Statement vs. Southold

January 31, 2015

 

On January 8th the boys’ basketball team escaped from Southold with a 4-point win, thanks to a go-ahead 3-pointer from Chester Kayonga with 30 seconds left (highlights here). There was no such drama in last night’s game as the Bears methodically dismantled the Settlers before a boisterous Friday night crowd to improve to 9-1 in League VIII.

The Blue Fan Group, Stony Brook’s student section, had plenty to cheer about from the get-go. A Jyles Etienne block brought the students to their feet and an ensuing Luke Meyer 3-pointer kept them standing. Etienne followed with a basket and the foul to give the Brook an early 6-0 lead after draining the charity shot. The Settlers stormed back with six straight points of their own, but a Kayonga lay-up gave the Bears an 8-6 lead, an edge they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game. Robbie Colarusso bracketed two 3-pointers around an old fashioned 3-point play from Southold to give the Bears a 14-8 advantage. At the close of the quarter, Kayonga almost single-handedly blew the lid off of Swanson Gymnasium by stealing the ball from Liam Walker, Southold’s best player, and nearly sinking a shot from half court. The ball careened off the front of the rim, eliciting an agonized roar from the crowd.

The Bears ramped up the defense in the second quarter with five steals to go along with some key shots. The biggest shot of the quarter came from Harry Zhu, just moments after he checked into the game for the first time. After Southold converted another old fashioned 3-point play to cut the Bear lead to six, Zhu drained a trifecta, then stole the ball to give the bears a crack at the last shot of the half. With 7 seconds left Colarusso misfired on a mid-range jumper. Hunter Skorobohaty rebounded the ball thenmissed the layup, Kayonga missed the tip-in, but continued to battle, eventually tipping in a shot at the buzzer to put the Blue Fan Group into a frenzy.

The Settlers opened the second half with a 3-pointer, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the way. Etienne made a tough layup and Mac Bohuny followed with a 3-pointer to give the Bears a 13-point lead, their largest of the game. Southold would fight back to within nine points, but a 7-0 spurt to end the quarter, thanks to layups from Meyer and Colarusso and another 3-pointer from Zhu, gave the blue and white a commanding 41-25 lead going into the final quarter.

Zhu opened the fourth with his third 3-pointer as the Bears’ lead burgeoned to 19. The highlight of the quarter may have been Brandon Providence’s trifecta, the Bears’ ninth and final of the night, that brought the crowd to its feet. The Bears did not take their foot off the pedal until the final buzzer sounded on their 55-32 win. The victory was more than a memorable Friday night in Swanson; it was a statement game that served notice to our Class C foes that the Bears are beginning to hit their stride. They are coming together at the right time as they continue a tough stretch with three more games over the next five days. The playoffs loom less than two weeks from now.

Colarusso finished with 16 points to lead a well-balanced attack: Meyer (9 points), Etienne (9 points/12 rebounds), Zhu (9 points), Kayonga (5 points), Bohuny (4 points), Providence (3 points). As impressive as their offense was tonight, it was their defense that allowed them to control the game from the outset. Southold’s Walker, one of Suffolk County’s leading scorers who is averaging over 21 points per game, was held to just 11 points, his lowest output of the season.

The Blue Fan Group needs special mention because of the energy they infused into Swanson. Both Colarusso and coach Hickey mentioned after the game how much they appreciated the fans’ support. The energy in the building was electric at times.

Notes

Coach Mike Hickey improves to 27-11 all-time vs. Southold… Matt Mattimore ’95, a member of the 1,000 Point Club, cheered on the boys from the stands tonight…

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