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Bears’ Late Surge Dooms Mattituck

January 27, 2018

On Monday evening the boys’ basketball team traveled to Mattituck where they fought back from a 17-point deficit to within four points, only to fall, 64-54. They did so without the services of Emil Vaughn and James Toney, two key starters who power the Bears on both ends of the court. But on Friday night the dynamic duo was back in the lineup for a match-up with playoff implications for both sides.

It was clear from the outset that the Swanson faithful were in for a taught affair as the Bears and Tuckers battled to three ties in the opening quarter. After a Mattituck 3-pointer knotted the game at 7-7, the Bears closed the quarter with a 6-1 spurt thanks to a James Toney free throw, a Seamus Scanlon fastbreak layup–courtesy of a great outlet from Emil Vaughn–and an Owen Sobel old-fashioned 3-point play.

The Bears maintained a narrow lead for the entirety of the second quarter. The Tuckers trimmed their deficit back to 16-14 at one point, but Andy D’Alessio responded with a pair of free throws and Jerry Li followed with a drive and finish to push the lead back to six. Mattituck scored to end the half, giving the Brook a 20-16 edge at the break.

After Mattituck opened the second half with a bucket, Toney and Scanlon scored back-to-back fastbreak layups to push the Bear advantage to 24-18. The resilient Tuckers responded with a 9-2 run to seize their first lead since scoring the first bucket of the game at 28-26. The Bears punched back to retake the lead after a Toney putback, a Vaughn fastbreak layup threaded by Sobel, and a Vaughn free throw that gave the Brook a 31-27 lead heading into the fourth.

The Tuckers opened the final frame with a 5-0 spurt that gave them back the lead. A Toney runner and a Scanlon layup retook the lead for the Brook. The Bears still held a three-point lead with 4:58 remaining when a layup attempt by Scanlon was blocked out of bounds. Following the play a Tucker taunted Scanlon with a staredown. The act sent a charge through the Blue Fan Group and brought them to their feet. Energy sizzled through Swanson, a cresting wave of momentum that would carry to victory the team that seized it. Moments later Narain drained his third floater of the game to put the Bears up five. On the ensuing Mattituck possession, Scanlon picked the pocket of the Tuckers’ point guard and finished the fastbreak layup while drawing a foul to send the Blue Fan Group into a frenzy. He completed the play with a free throw to put the Brook ahead, 42-34, with 4:35 remaining. Mattituck would get no closer the rest of the way. Sobel’s layup with 3:40 left capped a 9-0 game-breaking run for the Bears, leaving them up 44-34 on the way to a 46-38 win.

Toney led all scorers with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Scanlon added 11 points while Narain (6), Vaughn (5), Sobel (5), Li (2), and D’Alessio (2) rounded out a balanced scoring attack. Sobel also added an astonishing 17 rebounds as the gritty guard extended plays with numerous offensive rebounds.

The victory was an important one for the Bears. After beating their Class B foe, they are now back in the driver’s seat for an automatic playoff berth. To do so they need five league wins. After clipping Port Jeff in overtime on Wednesday this is their second win with two games remaining against Class C Mercy and an away contest at Port Jeff. If the Bears fall short of five wins, last night’s victory will greatly strengthen their playoff appeal to the Section XI seeding committee.

The Bears are back in action on Monday evening at Mercy.

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