Boys Basketball: Wilcenski’s return helps, but it’s not enough

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Matt Stepnoski of Southold driving toward the basket against Mount Sinai's Mike Guzzardi.


The good news for the Southold boys basketball team is that Winston Wilcenski is back. The bad news for the First Settlers is that although Wilcenski was an undoubted asset, not even his presence was enough to help Southold avert defeat in the consolation game of its own tournament.

Mount Sinai, with 23 points from junior guard Greg Kopcienski, topped the host First Settlers, 61-52, to take third place in the ninth annual Southold Invitational. Mike Guzzardi, a 6-foot-5 junior center, contributed 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 assists and 1 steal for the Mustangs (3-1). Pat Hogan added 10 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Liam Walker of Southold has a path to the basket, to the dismay of Mount Sinai's Billy Tartaglia.

It was the first game of the season for Wilcenski, who did not play in Southold’s first-round loss to Mattituck because of what coach Jeff Ellis said was an “internal matter.” The senior guard looked good, striking for 25 points, including four three-point field goals. Liam Walker had 11 points. Matt Stepnoski hauled down 11 rebounds to go with 8 points and 4 assists before fouling out with 3 minutes 16 seconds left to play.

Wilcenski nailed down back-to-back three-pointers to cut Mount Sinai’s lead to 45-43 with less than six minutes remaining, but Southold (0-2) was unable to overtake the Mustangs. Mount Sinai used an 11-3 run to forge a 59-47 lead late in the fourth quarter.

Southold held 8-6 and 19-18 leads, but aside from that found itself trailing throughout almost the entire game.

A three-pointer by Billy Tartaglia right before halftime sent Rocky Point to the locker room with a 25-19 lead at the break. The Eagles stretched their cushion to 10 points through three quarters, and then withstood Southold’s fourth-quarter challenge.

Mount Sinai was more successful in field-goal shooting than their hosts, hitting on 46.3 percent of its attempts as compared to Southold’s 32.7 percent.

Kopcienski was named to the all-tournament team, as was Walker.

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