No Pat McFarland didn’t mean the Southold High School boys basketball team didn’t have a chance, but it sure didn’t help. So, the remaining First Settlers did what they could — they helped themselves to a win.
With its star player watching from the bench in a jacket and tie because of a disciplinary reason, Southold picked itself up, came through in crunch time and held off The Ross School, 56-51, on Monday night to stave off elimination from playoff contention, at least for another couple of days. Southold (4-11, 2-5 Suffolk County League VIII) must win all four of its remaining games against Bridgehampton, Greenport, Shelter Island and Stony Brook in order to earn a playoff spot.
Ross (1-11, 0-7), loser of 10 straight, played much better than one might expect from a team with such a record. The Cosmos even took the lead once in the fourth quarter when a short jumper by Kai Parcher-Charles made it 42-41 with 6 minutes, 2 seconds left to play. But Matt Cardi responded immediately with a three-point shot to put Southold ahead to stay.
Ross, propelled by Jonas Linnman-Feuerring’s 29-point effort, pulled to within one point of Southold four times in the final quarter, the last time when a Linnman-Feuerring layup cut Southold’s lead to 49-48 with 1:37 remaining.
A determined Zach Grathwohl bulled forward for a layup that ignited a game-ending 7-3 spurt for Southold. The junior guard scored six of his team-leading 17 points during that final run. All 11 of the rest of his points came in the second quarter, when he scored three straight baskets during one stretch. He shot 6 for 11 from the field for the game.
Southold coach Lucas Grigonis said McFarland sat out the game because of a violation of an athletic department rule, but would play in the team’s next game, at Bridgehampton on Wednesday night. Southold is 2-0 in games it has played without McFarland this season. The First Settlers defeated Shelter Island last week while McFarland served a one-game suspension for an ejection.
One can’t help but notice McFarland’s absence on the court. The senior guard’s season averages have been exceptional: 22.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.1 steals. He is a 78-percent shooter from the free-throw line.
With McFarland unavailable and Cardi coming off an ankle injury, Grigonis inserted freshman Steven Russell and sophomore Michael Daddona into the starting lineup along with junior Jake Dominy, senior Doug Fiedler (nine points, 10 rebounds, three blocks, two assists) and forward Gus Klavas. Anthony Klavas came off the bench to provide six points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
Linnman-Feuerring’s shooting kept Ross in the game. The senior guard shot 9 for 23 from the field and 5 of 13 from three-point distance. He also had eight rebounds, seven steals and three assists.
Jason Liu added 10 points and Parcher-Charles had nine.
Southold’s bench outscored Ross’ reserves, 33-1. The First Settlers also won the battle of the boards, 39-27.