No. 7 Story of the Year: An undefeated regular season and a playoff loss for Southold

SUFFOLK TIMES FILE PHOTO | Southold's Jon Cepelak

What a season it was for the Southold High School boys basketball team. The First Settlers will have fond memories of the 18 wins from 18 regular-season games they played. It will be the end to their season, however, that stings.

With eight seniors, led by tested veterans Jon Cepelak, Kevin Parma and Gino De Jongh, Southold completed a rare undefeated regular season by holding off The Stony Brook School Bears, 51-50. The undefeated record and Southold’s ascension to its fifth league championship and first since 1995 was quite a turnaround from the League VIII team’s 3-16 record the season before when it struggled in League VII.

Southold Coach Jeff Ellis said he did not know if the First Settlers had ever gone through a regular season unbeaten before, but he noted that it was something special. “Not a lot of teams get an undefeated season, and we got to do it,” De Jongh said. “This is a great feeling.”

The First Settlers undoubtedly didn’t feel as good in the playoffs, when their first loss of the season was their last.

Stony Brook defeated Southold, 50-48, in the Suffolk County Class C final for the Bears’ second county championship in four years. Southold ended up with an 18-1 record, the loss standing out just as much as the wins. “In the playoffs you’re 0 and 0, and one team is going home with a win or a loss,” Ellis said. “It’s whoever executes better, and they executed better tonight.