On this day six years ago, the boys’ basketball team topped an 18-0 Southold squad in a thrilling, 50-48 County Championship victory. Here is the recap of the game from Mark Macyk of Newsday.
Pandolfi’s Three Lifts Stony Brook to Class C Title
Before the start of yesterday’s Suffolk Class C final at Longwood, an announcement was made that there is no front row seating on the home side of the court. Good thing. Otherwise Stony Brook’s Tim Pandolfi might have tripped before making the biggest shot of his career.
With 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Pandolfi made an incredibly deep three-pointer from the wing, about five feet behind the three-point line, near the home bleachers. The shot put Stony Brook up by two and gave the Bears their first lead of the quarter. Pandolfi followed with three free throws down the stretch to help Stony Brook hang on for a thrilling 50-48 victory over previously unbeaten Southold.
“I was feeling my three-pointer,” said Pandolfi, who hit four threes in the final frame and finished with 27 points. “I don’t think coach would have recommended that shot, but it worked.”
Stony Brook coach Michael Hickey said he trusted Pandolfi to make it, but added: “Even when you know he’s gonna take the shot it’s hard to fathom he’s going to take one from that far out.”
Pandolfi’s three put the Bears ahead 47-45, the final lead change in a game that featured eight and six ties. He hit two free throws with 13 seconds left to extend the lead to 49-45. Southold’s Kevin Parma hit a free throw with seven seconds left to cut the Settlers’ deficit to three points. He missed the next shot but Southold retained possession and Parma made it 49-48 with a putback with two seconds left.
Pandolfi was immediately fouled after the inbounds pass and made his first free throw, but missed the second. Southold’s Jon Cepelak nearly won it with a last-second shot from three quarters the length of the court, but it just missed. Cepelak beat the buzzer in the second quarter with a jumper to give Southold a 24-22 lead.
Pandolfi said he didn’t miss the last free throw on purpose, but was happy with the result, because Southold couldn’t set up a play. Had Cepelak’s shot landed he would have given Southold (18-1) its second one-point victory over Stony Brook in two weeks. The Settlers won both previous meetings, including the regular season finale, a 51-50 decision at Southold on Feb. 11.
“If that shot goes in what are you gonna do,” Hickey said. “We were up four with seven seconds remaining. We made it hard on ourselves.”
Pandolfi was the only Stony Brook scorer to hit double-figures and he scored his team’s final nine points and 12 of their last 13.
“It’s the Larry Birds and the Michael Jordans who want that shot at the end,” Hickey said. “Tim Pandolfi is our guy. I don’t think he wanted anyone else taking that shot.”
The season ended for Southold, but the Settlers were gracious in defeat. In their final game the seniors, notably Cepelak (18 points), Parma (11 points), Trevor Perry (eight points), and Gino DeJongh (seven points) played exceptionally.
“They mean everything to us,” Southold coach Jeff Ellis said. “They’re great kids on and off the court. They’re gonna hold their heads up. They had a great season.”