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Bears Overcome Scrappy Settlers

December 16, 2015

The boys’ basketball team concluded 2015 with a win over longtime league rival, Southold, yesterday evening. The 55-39 victory moves the Bears’ record to 5-0 and 2-0 in League VIII play.

The Bears looked sluggish at times, especially compared to a scrappy and spirited Southold squad. The stress, all night studying, and mental strain of exam week seemed to have taken a toll on the boys, but they showed tremendous toughness by gutting out a win.

The Bears jumped out to a 5-0 lead on a layup and a 3-pointer from Luke O’Connor, but an 8-1 run by the Settlers gave the visitors an 8-6 edge midway through the quarter. 8 straight points from Chester Kayonga, on a steal and layup and back-to-back 3-pointers, broke Southold’s run and gave the blue and white a 14-8 advantage. Southold responded by connecting on a 3-pointer in the final minute of the quarter to trail by just 3 points as the game moved to the second.

The Bears began the second frame with a 7-3 spurt thanks to an O’Connor 3-pointer, a Jyles Etienne layup, and a Brandon Providence runner. The Brook closed the quarter with 5 straight points from Kayonga to take a 26-16 lead into the break. The Bear defense ratcheted up in the second quarter, allowing just 5 points from Southold.

A frenetic third quarter saw the Bears and Settlers battle to a 13-13 draw. The Brook pushed its lead to 12 after Kayonga’s fourth 3-pointer, but Southold responded with a trifecta of their own. The Bears pushed the lead to 13, but the Settlers answered from long range again to slash their deficit to 10 entering the fourth quarter.

O’Connor began the fourth with a silky drive to the basket to give the Bears a 12-point edge, but any thoughts of an easy finish were dispelled when Southold iginited a 7-2 run to cut the lead to 43-36 with 6 minutes remaining. However, just as hope was renewed for the Settlers, Etienne snuffed it out with a bucket and a foul, a 3-point play that pushed the lead back to 11. From there, Southold would never get the deficit under double-digits. The Settlers attempted to lengthen the game by fouling, but the Bears were a clutch 9-for-13 from the line in the final minutes to seal the game.

Kayonga finished with a game-high 18 points while adding 6 assists. O’Connor (13 points/three 3-pointers) and Etienne (10 points/12 rebounds) also scored in double-digits for the Brook. Providence (7 points), Mac Bohuny (6), and Harry Zhu (1) rounded out the scoring.

The Bears are now 28-11 vs. Southold under coach Mike Hickey. The Bears have won 8 in a row against the Settlers with their last loss coming on Jan. 5, 2011. Southold has not escaped Swanson Gymnasium with a victory since Jan. 15, 2010. Coach Hickey’s all-time record now stands at 299-184. With his next victory he will achieve the 300-win milestone.

The Bears will take the court again in 2016, on Jan. 7th at Port Jeff.

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