Last night, in their first face-off in over a year, the boys’ basketball team dismissed Port Jeff, 74-59, in Swanson Gymnasium. The cast of characters has changed, but since 2011 the result remained the same as the Bears took their 10th victory in a row (and 12th out of the last 13) off their crosstown rivals. The Brook never trailed in the game, but the victory was far from easy against a scrappy, physical Port Jeff squad.
T.J. Wachter opened the scoring for the Bears with an offensive rebound and layup and Matt Fajfer followed with a 3-pointer. The Royals answered with their own long ball, but the Bears strung together several momentum plays to seize control early. First, Wachter stole the ball at mid-court, drove, and scored plus the foul. He followed that up with a layup as the Bears registered a counter-punch against some full court pressure. Then, a Rex Eshirow steal led to a 3-point play by CJ Edwards as the Bears took a 12-5 lead. After a second Fajfer 3-pointer, the Bears took a 17-7 edge, but the Royals reeled off six straight points to close the gap to 18-13 after one.
A quick surge to open the second quarter gave the Brook back a double-digit lead. Wachter was the tip of the spear with a layup, an and-1, and a drive and layup to give the Brook a 27-18 edge. Colin Scanlon followed with a drive and layup to extend the advantage to 29-18. Port Jeff answered with a bucket, but an Edwards floater and another Wachter layup gave the Bears their biggest lead to that point at 33-20. They carried a 38-29 edge into the break.
A 6-2 Blue & White spurt upped their lead to 44-31 after a Wachter layup and a pair of Edwards layups opened the third quarter, but just as the Bears looked poised to but a stranglehold on the game, the Royals reeled off 10 straight points to pull back within 41-44. Both sides traded blows the rest of the quarter and the Bears took a narrow 49-45 margin into the final period.
The Royals continued to battle in the early moments of the fourth. A jumper brought them within two points and a fastbreak layup opportunity could have tied the game at 49-49, but a miscue led to a turnover, a foul, and two Scanlon free throws. That would prove to be the Royals’ last gasp as they would get no closer the rest of the way. Wachter followed with a layup and Fajfer connected on his third triple of the game on consecutive plays for what felt like an early nail in the coffin at 56-47. But the Royals refused to go away, responding with a 3-point play on the ensuing possession to get back within 56-50.
An Edwards layup and a Wachter putback pushed the lead back to 59-50 before Edwards converted a difficult and-1 to extend the edge to 62-51. A Scanlon steal and layup again appeared to spell the end for the Royals as the Brook took a 65-51 lead with just 2:15 remaining, but five straight free throws and a 3-pointer, sandwiched around a Fajfer layup, pulled Port Jeff within 67-59. The Royals finally succumbed thanks to a Brandon Gicquel steal and score and five free throws from Scanlon.
Wachter led all scorers with a career-high 22 points. Edwards (21), Scanlon (16), and Fajfer (11) provided strong support and Eshirow (2) and Gicquel (2) rounded out the attack.
The Bears are back in action on Thursday at Mattituck in their final game before Christmas break.
Last 10 Match-Ups vs. Port Jeff
|1.||Dec. 14, 2019||@ Stony Brook||W 74-59|
|2.||Feb. 9, 2018||@ Port Jeff||W 52-45|
|3.||Jan. 24, 2018||@ Stony Brook||W 44-40 (OT)|
|4.||Feb. 16, 2017||@ Stony Brook (Semifinals)||W 50-47|
|5.||Dec. 15, 2016||@ Port Jeff||W 54-44|
|6.||Jan. 29, 2016||@ Stony Brook||W 78-43|
|7.||Jan. 7, 2016||@ Port Jeff||W 54-45|
|8.||Dec. 6, 2014||@ Stony Brook||W 67-44|
|9.||Dec. 7, 2013||@ Stony Brook||W 51-29|
|10.||Dec. 11, 2012||@ Port Jeff||W 44-42|