It was almost as if the five Southold/Greenport seniors didn’t want the final home basketball game of their high school careers to come to an end. For a while there, it seemed as if it never would.
The First Settlers battled through four overtimes in a war of attrition against Port Jefferson before finally succumbing, 68-66, after 48 minutes of basketball Wednesday night at Southold High School. The marathon was finally decided at the free-throw line, where Port Jefferson freshman Evelyn Walker sank all three foul shots after being fouled while attempting a three-pointer with 0.9 seconds to go in the fourth extra session. Following a timeout, Southold was unable to get off a last-ditch shot.
The loss put a damper on Southold’s Senior Night. Southold’s five seniors — Ale Cardi, Liz Clark, Madison Hilton, Annie Lincoln and Grace Syron — all started and took part in possibly the craziest game of their careers.
A bunny by Syron with a little over a minute left in the fourth quarter tied the score at 36-36, eventually sending the game to overtime.
Southold looked on the verge of taking the game in the first overtime when a Syron free throw made it 45-42. But Port Jefferson’s Jocelyn Lebron dropped in a three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left, forcing a second OT.
In the second OT, a pair of Hailey Hearney free throws gave Port Jefferson (4-10, 3-9 Suffolk County League VII) a 52-51 edge. Southold’s Brittany Walker sank the first of two foul shots with 16 seconds left to even it at 52-52. A shot at the buzzer by Brittany Walker struck the front rim and it was on to OT No. 3.
Southold (4-10, 3-9) took a 60-58 lead with 12.5 seconds remaining in that period when Lincoln pulled down and offensive rebound and made a nice interior pass for a Julia Jaklevic layup. But that lead didn’t last long. Port Jefferson’s Brooke Zamek hit a pair of free throws with 3.3 seconds to go, tying the score again. A chuck by Southold’s Kaitlin Tobin from two-thirds down the court fell short of the mark as the period ended.
In the fourth OT, Southold went in front, 66-65, on two free throws by Cardi and another by Tobin with 24.2 seconds left. But then Southold made the critical mistake of fouling Evelyn Walker on her attempt from beyond the arc.
Both sides had players foul out in overtime. Port Jefferson lost the services of Samantha Ayotte, Lebron and Zamek. Syron, Clark and Samantha Dunne fouled out for Southold.
Hearney led Port Jefferson with 22 points to go with six assists, six rebounds and six steals. Lebron added 11 points. Ayotte, Zamek and Evelyn Walker had 10 each.
In her final game in the Southold gym, Syron put up 24 points, 17 rebounds, five steals, three assists and three blocks before picking up her fifth personal foul 21 seconds into the second OT. Clark produced 15 points. Cardi had 10 rebounds to go with her 10 points and six assists. Lincoln grabbed 12 rebounds to go with four points.
Photo caption: Southold/Greenport coach Skip Gehring with his five seniors, from left: Annie Lincoln, Ale Cardi, Madison Hilton, Liz Clark and Grace Syron. (Credit: Krysten Massa)