Late in the second quarter, Jordan Fonseca dropped in a three-point shot from the right wing, promptly did an about-face and executed a proper bow to a section of cheering Greenport fans.
After the game was over, Fonseca and his teammates on the Greenport High School boys basketball team could have taken a collective bow, but didn’t. The cheers rained down, regardless, and for good reason: The Porters are county champions.
Greenport’s loss to Stony Brook in last year’s Suffolk County Class C final pained and haunted the Porters. So much so that they trained harder in the offseason than coach Ev Corwin said he had ever seen any players do.
The fruits of those labors were realized Sunday when they returned to the county Class C final — almost a year to the day — to face the same opponent on the same court at Suffolk County Community College’s Brookhaven Gym in Selden. This time, though, the result was dramatically different.
Playing with confidence, poise and determination, Greenport exacted the revenge it was looking for, turning the tables on Stony Brook and winning, 71-41, for its 11th county championship. File this under “what a difference a year makes.”
“It means the world,” said Jude Swann, the 6-3 junior center who was a powerful inside force for Greenport, collecting 19 points and 12 rebounds. “We always wanted this.”
Corwin said: “It’s been a year of thinking about this game — for the coaches and for the players. I’m just glad that we got this weight off our shoulders.”
It seems as if the League VIII champion Porters exorcised the demons that came with that defeat in last year’s county final.
“Ever since that loss, we’ve all been in the gym working,” said sophomore guard Ahkee Anderson, who registered 21 points and five assists. “Everyone’s been working. Everyone’s been trying to get better. All summer we were in the gym, from 7 o’clock in the morning until someone kicked us out. We put a lot of work in.”
Greenport (20-2), winner of 14 straight games, never gave Stony Brook (12-7) a chance to settle in. Anderson scored nine points in the first quarter, which ended with Greenport ahead, 25-9, thanks to 10-for-14 shooting from the field. The Porters were off and running.
By the time Fonseca made his bow following the fourth of his five three-pointers, Greenport held a 40-23 lead, with no sign of slowing down.
“I like that,” Corwin said. “That Jordan to me is the confident Jordan. When he’s confident, he can start filling up the scoresheet, that’s for sure.”
Fonseca did, too. The senior guard had 20 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
It was clear Stony Brook, playing in its 11th county final in 12 years, had its work cut out. The Bears twice pulled to within 14 points of Greenport in the third quarter, but the Porters extended their lead, with the aid of eight assists from Jaxan Swann.
Stony Brook was led offensively by James Toney (16 points, nine rebounds) and Seamus Scanlon (15 points), but Owen Sobel also turned in a good game for the Bears. Battling under the boards with Jude Swann, Sobel grabbed nine rebounds to go with five points, five blocks and three steals.
Greenport, which defeated Stony Brook by 23 points during their regular-season meeting on Dec. 13, made 50.9 percent of its field-goal attempts and outrebounded the Bears, 40-27.
“We were in the other shoes last year and we waited all year just for this moment,” said Fonseca.
Greenport, ranked fifth in the state in Class C by the New York State Sportswriters Association, will play Bridgehampton (8-10) Tuesday in the Suffolk Class C-D game in Selden. But a bigger game awaits, a Southeast Region semifinal against Nassau County champion East Rockaway on March 6 in Brentwood.
“This does feel good, but we do want more,” Fonseca said. “We want to go upstate and win that. That’s what we’re really looking forward to.”
The Porters may have some more bows ahead of them.
Photo caption: Jaxan Swann (2) and Ahkee Anderson embrace after Greenport won its first county championship in eight years. (Credit: Garret Meade)