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Westhampton vs South Side 3/14/98
CLASS B Long Island Championship CHAMPIONSHIP

Westhampton 89 South Side 72

Pack your bags Rich Wrase. You are going to Glens Falls. Finally.
Wrase, Westhampton's boys basketball coach for seven seasons, has captured four Suffolk County championships in a career that includes a nine-year stint at Eastport. This season marked the third time Wrase has had a Hurricanes team blow through the season unbeaten and the third time Westhampton captured a county Class B title in the 1990s.
But the 46-year-old Wrase, who played at Half Hollow Hills and SUNY-Stony Brook, had never made it off Long Island. His fortunes and those of the sizable contingent of Hurricanes backers changed dramatically yesterday in the Long Island Championship / Class B Southeast Regional final against Nassau Class B winner South Side at the Hofstra Physical Fitness Center.
With senior point guard Dale Menendez dictating the game's flow, the Hurricanes ran away from South Side, 89-72, and ran their record to 24-0 before a packed crowd of 2,450.
"I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life, that's for sure," Wrase said. "The four seniors I have - they are the best group of kids I've ever had."
The win gives Westhampton its first trip to the state public schools Final Four in Glens Falls - the proverbial Disney World for basketball crazed teens throughout New York - where it will face the Section V-VI winner at 10 a.m. Saturday. It makes up for back-to-back losses to Westbury in the Long Island title game in 1993 and '94.
"This is something every kid in New York State works for," said 6-5 senior Jermain Hollman, a five-year starter who had 19 points and six rebounds. "That's why you go to practice every day. Every kid wants to go up there and showcase their talent. After we lost to Westbury when I was in eighth grade, I told myself that one day I would make it to Glens Falls."
It also allows the Hurricanes to wear the mythical crown of Long Island's best public school team after beating Suffolk Class A champ North Babylon last week and now South Side (20-3), the Nassau overall champion.
Four Westhampton starters scored in double figures, but it was backcourt mates Menendez (19 points, 13 assists, 10 boards) and sophomore Bronson Martin who started things in electric and hectic fashion. Martin scored 11 of his game-high 23 points (8-for-15 shooting) in a first quarter in which the Hurricanes went ahead 20-8 on Martin's layup with 2:49 left.
"It was important that we came out strong from the beginning," Menendez said. "It set the tempo for us. Once we got the lead, we were playing with confidence."
Menendez may have finished with a triple-double, which validates his performance, but it was his attitude that set the Hurricanes apart from South Side. "He is the ultimate warrior," Wrase said. "Division II colleges have told me he's too small, but I think they should start measuring hearts because height doesn't win games."
With Westhampton shooting 45 percent in the opening quarter, it forced South Side coach Russ Reid to abandon the zone defense. That plan backfired. Six-foot-six junior Dwayne Sanders (11 rebounds, 3 blocks) took it to the Cyclones inside, getting 11 of his 16 points in the second quarter as the Hurricanes took a 46-28 halftime lead.
"We tried to match up a little zone against them and Martin killed us. He hit a couple threes, so we got out of that," Reid said. "Give them credit. As soon as we got out of the zone, they went right down into the post to their strength, Sanders and Hollman. We didn't quit. But every time we'd chip into the lead, they'd come right back."
South Side senior point guard James Altman had the unenviable task of keeping the Cyclones from breaking. He had 13 points (he hit three threes on 5-for-8 shooting) and six assists. More importantly, he was the lone South Side player to shoot more than 50 percent. Senior Bryan Bailey had 20 points while younger brother Maurice added 17 for South Side.
"Sometimes you give it 100 percent and that's not really good enough," Reid said. "Sometimes somebody is just better than you."

Box Score
TeamFirst QTSecond QTThird QTFouth QTTotal
Westhampton2422172689
South Side1315152972
Westhampton: Menendez 8-3-19, Hollman 7-5-19, Ritchie 0-2-2, Sanders 6-4-16, Martin 8-5-23, Liggon 1-0-2, Ford 4-0-8. Totals: 34-19-89.
South Side: Altman 5-0-13, Rakeman 4-0-10, B. Bailey 7-4-20, M. Bailey 5-6-17, Lemanczyk 3-1-7, McCutchan 1-2-5. Totals: 25-13-72.
Three-point goals - Westhampton 2 (Martin 2);
South Side 9 (Altman 3, B. Bailey 2, Rakeman 2, M. Bailey, McCutchan).


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