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Bears Rock Nassau in LI Championship

March 1, 2016
Bohuny LIC Basketball B 2016

Bohuny connects on a 3-pointer in the 1st quarter

Mac Bohuny may have turned 17 today, but it was his sweet 16 that has the Bears celebrating another Long Island Championship.

The junior forward scored 16 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the Brook to a 52-33 victory over East Rockaway and give the boys’ basketball program its 3rd LI crown in its history, along with victories in 2010 and 2013.

Bohuny scored the Bears’ first five points of the game on a layup and a 3-pointer for an early 5-2 edge. A steal by Chester Kayonga and a hook shot from Jyles Etienne had the blue and white off and running with a 7-2 lead. The Rocks answered with a bucket of their own to close the gap, but the Bears unleashed an 11-0 run to close the quarter and seize the game’s momentum. The run began with an offensive rebound and layup by Bohuny. Kayonga followed with back-to-back 3-pointers sandwiched around a Bohuny free throw. Luke O’Connor scored the last three points of the quarter on a free throw and a difficult drive in traffic to give the Bears a commanding 19-4 lead after one quarter.

The Rocks began the second quarter with five straight points thanks to Danny Fusco, Long Island’s leading scorer at 30.3 points per game. Bohuny responded with a layup through contact to push the lead to 21-9. After a pair of blocks from Etienne and Bohuny, Fusco connected on his second 3-pointer of the quarter to cut the Rockaway deficit to 9. O’Connor answered with a 3-pointer, but a pair of free throws from Fusco brought the Rocks within 10. The Bears held for the final shot of the half and executed beautifully as O’Connor stroked his second 3-pointer with just 2 seconds left on the clock to give the Brook a 27-14 advantage at the break.

East Rockaway opened the 2nd half with a 3-pointer to maintain contact, but Bohuny responded with another big bucket, despite the foul, to push the lead back to 12. After both teams traded baskets, the Rocks scored six straight points to cut their deficit to six, the closest they had been since the opening minutes of the game. The Bears needed someone to step up and stem the rising tide and Jon Eshirow, just moments after checking into the game for the first time, provided that lift.

The junior forward is lovingly called “Draymond” by his teammates in homage to the Golden State Warrior’s versatile and energetic Draymond Green. Eshirow channeled his inner Draymond by splashing a 3-pointer from the left corner and extending the Bears’ cushion when they needed it most. The Rocks absorbed the blow then landed one of their own, knocking down a 3-pointer to close within 34-28 heading into the 4th quarter.

The Bears have won a remarkable 9 Championships since 2013: 3 League titles, 4 County titles, and 2 Long Island titles, including tonight’s victory. Their calling card during that run has been their ability to defend in big moments. That championship pedigree reared its head again as the Bears held Rockaway without a field goal in the 4th quarter, allowing just five free throws to outscore the Rocks 18-5 over the final 8 minutes. The Brook began the quarter with a 6-0 run on an O’Connor bucket, an Etienne free throw, and an O’Connor 3-pointer to push the lead to 41-28. After two Fusco free throws, O’Connor responded with a bucket to keep the lead at 13 points. The death knell began to sound for the Rocks when a Fusco basket was waved off due to a charge at the 2:32 mark. Brandon Providence connected on a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession as part of a personal 7-0 run that sealed the victory for the blue and white. As the closing seconds ticked off of the Bears’ 3rd championship of the season, the Blue Fan Group serenaded Bohuny with a chorus of “Happy Birthday” to close out a memorable evening. The 2013 squad is the only other team to win League, County, and Long Island titles in the same season.

O’Connor scored a team-high 17 points while Bohuny recorded a double-double with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Providence (7), Kayonga (6), Etienne (3), and Eshirow (3) rounded out the scoring for the Brook.

While the offense showed some rust two days removed from spring break, their defense was crisp. They held the Rocks to just 33 points, their lowest output of the season by a margin of 8. They limited Long Island’s leading scorer, Danny Fusco to 22 points, his 2nd-lowest total of the season behind his 21 points vs. Shelter Island on December 11th. They shackled the Rocks for 5 points in the 4th quarter, their most productive period during the season in which they averaged a shade over 18 points.

With another title in hand, the Bears will try to add one of the only jewels still missing from their crown: a Regional Final and a trip to Glens Falls for the Final Four. The Bears will get their shot in a rematch of last season’s Regional Championship against Haldane on Friday @ 6:45pm at Pace University in Pleasantville.

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