Southold began the second half of its Suffolk County League VIII boys basketball season the way it started it — with a sound defeat at the hands of The Stony Brook School.
The significant difference on Tuesday night at Southold High School was the consequence of the result. With Stony Brook’s 56-35 thrashing of Southold, the Bears (9-1, 6-0) sealed a playoff berth for the 16th consecutive year. Meanwhile, the loss all but eliminated the First Settlers (4-8, 1-6) from playoff contention. In order to secure an automatic postseason place, they would need to win all five of their remaining regular-season games. Coach Phil Reed, however, has raised the possibility of filing a petition with Section XI as a way of gaining entry into the playoffs should the First Settlers fail to sweep their last five games.
Stony Brook, coming off its only loss of the season on Saturday (61-45 to St. Anthony’s), proved to be too much for the First Settlers to handle with its size and length. Southold was held to 26.5-percent shooting.
Stony Brook opened the game with a pair of 3-point shots canned by Chester Kayonga, and never looked in danger of losing the lead. The Bears led by 18-7 after one quarter, by 32-19 at halftime and expanded their advantage further in the second half.
Kayonga, a senior guard, also scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter, which Stony Brook opened with a 9-0 spurt. That gave the Bears their biggest lead of the night at 54-27.
It was during that run, with 5 minutes 3 seconds left in the game, when Reed essentially waved the white flag, subbing in five players who had not played up to that point. Stony Brook’s coach, Mike Hickey, immediately called a timeout and reciprocated with multiple substitutions of his own.
Kayonga finished with 17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 blocked shot. Luke O’Connor scored 9 points while Mac Bohuny and Harry Zhu chipped in 8 apiece. Bohuny and Jyles Etienne pulled down 10 rebounds each.
Pat McFarland was the top scorer for Southold with 8 points.
When these teams last met, on Dec. 15, Southold suffered a 16-point loss.
Stony Brook has been a traditional power in the league. The Bears have won eight league championships, five county titles and two Long Island crowns in their 28 years under Hickey.
Photo caption: Noah Mina of Southold probes for an opening in Stony Brook’s defense. (Credit: Garret Meade)