Westhampton vs North Babylon 3/7/98|
CLASS ABCD CHAMPIONSHIP
Westhampton 63 North Babylon 49
Having left the game moments earlier with the outcome decided,
Westhampton seniors Dale Menendez and Jermain Hollman charged onto the
SUNY-Stony Brook Sports Complex floor as the final buzzer sounded.
They each played instrumental roles in helping the Hurricanes, the
Suffolk Class B boys basketball champions, win yesterday's overall
county title against League IV rival North Babylon, 63-49, before a
crowd of 3,500.
Certainly the loss won't break North Babylon, the Suffolk Class A
winner. The Bulldogs are still alive and well in the state playoffs.
But winning sure validates the hard work of Menendez and Hollman,
key figures for Westhampton over the past two seasons. They no longer
have to dwell on falling two points shy of the county Class B
championship last season when Amityville took the wind out of the
Hurricanes, who were 20-0 going into that semifinal game.
So the 6-5 Hollman, who scored 12 points and had nine rebounds,
along with Menendez enjoyed the moment as the packed sea of green that
made up the sizable Westhampton contingent howled approvingly.
The win makes Westhampton (22-0) the first East End school in 29
years to win the county championship (Southampton won back-to-back
titles from 1967-69).
"With all those good Bridgehampton teams, all the great coaches and
even Kenny Wood, those teams did not win an overall county
championship," said Westhampton coach Rich Wrase, who has won three
Suffolk Class B and one Class D title, but never an overall
championship. "I think it's great we can bring it back to the East End.
It's been 29 years. We take our basketball very seriously on the East
End. The kids love basketball and we have great fan support."
The game began with a twist. North Babylon jumped ahead 5-0 on a
three-point shot by Aldrick Hodgson and a long jumper by Jonelle Jones
Then the Hurricanes literally ran away with the game. They took
command with a 21-1 run, fueled by Menendez. He scored six of his
team-high 15 points in a crucial 7:13 span in the opening half and gave
the Hurricanes their first lead on a 5-footer to make it 7-6.
Westhampton, which beat the Bulldogs (12-11) for the third time this
season, would not trail again.
"The fans pump us up. They're great," said Menendez, who had seven
assists, four steals and three rebounds. "They cheer the whole game and
keep us psyched. They make us play better."
Junior dynamo Barry Baker, the Bulldogs' unquestioned leader, did
not have his jumper yesterday, shooting 35 percent (6-for-17) from the
field. Still, Baker's intensity (15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals) kept
his team within striking distance. His putback with under a minute left
made it 57-49. But Westhampton replied with four foul shots by Bronson
Martin (11 points) and a Keith Maeski layup to end the game.
"We gave them a game this time," Baker said. "We fought a good fight
but came up short."
It would have been a major coup for the Bulldogs to win. After all,
Westhampton did dominate them (two wins by an average of 29 points) and
the rest of League IV throughout the year. But yesterday's game was
merely for bragging rights and did not decide anyone's season.
Westhampton will face Nassau Class B champ South Side in the
Southeast Regional final / Long Island Championship at noon Saturday at
Hofstra, and North Babylon will play Nassau Class A champ Hempstead in
the second game at 2:30 p.m. The winner of each game advances to the
state public schools Final Four in Glens Falls the following week.
"We told the kids, `Hey, you have to play eight games,' " North
Babylon coach Jack Loth said. " 'If there's one to lose, this is the
one.' Hopefully we can go on and take care of Hempstead and then go
upstate. Thank God we don't have to see Westhampton again this year."
Westhampton: Menendez 7-1-15, Hollman 5-2-12, Ritchie 4-2-10, Sanders 1-0-2,
Martin 3-5-11, Liggon 2-0-5, Ford 3-0-6, Maeski 1-0-2. Totals 26-10-63.
|Team||First QT||Second QT||Third QT||Fouth QT||Total|
North Babylon: Baker 6-2-15, Simmons 0-1-1, Jones 5-1-13, Washington 2-0-4, Hodgson
2-2-7, Toney 4-1-9. Totals: 19-7-49.
Three-point goals - Westhampton 1 (Liggon);
North Babylon 4 (Jones 2, Hodgson, Baker).