The pain was real. The tears were real.
The emotions were real.
Greenport’s 108-98 triple-overtime loss to Cooperstown in the New York State Class C boys basketball semifinals Saturday hurt in more ways than one. Not only had the Porters come within a win of a state final for a second straight year, but the loss meant saying goodbye to the team’s seven seniors. Goodbyes aren’t easy for a team as close as the Porters are.
After the game at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, coach Ev Corwin said: “On a personal level, these guys over the last couple of years, they have become a part of my family here. They’re at my house. That’s why I’m all choked up because a couple of guys I won’t see much …”
Then Corwin cut himself short and turned away from the media momentarily to compose himself.
This was the final Swann song for two of Greenport’s senior starters, brothers Jaxan and Jude Swann, who have done so much to help propel the Porters to a second straight final-four appearance. The heart they showed in the game was consistent with how they played throughout the season.
During the third overtime period, Jaxan Swann hurt his leg while going for an offensive rebound. After he was looked at, he was helped to his feet and trotted with a visible limp to the other end of the floor before coming out of the game briefly. He returned soon after.
“It’s just my loyalty to my brothers, and I’d do anything for them,” he said. “I just had to get up. I couldn’t stay down.”
Greenport will also graduate starting forward Reese Costello and 6-4 center Zach Riggins, who had done good work coming off the bench and was presented with a sportsmanship award after game. The team’s other seniors are Meko Ameden-Bell, Luca Benidze and Sean McElroy.
“I love them,” Corwin said. “I just told them they gave me so much joy the last couple of years, just to be a part of this group and just taking that little ride here. All I can tell them is thank you.”
• LI teams go 1-4
The state championships bring together 20 teams from five classes. Of the four Long Island teams that made it to Binghamton, only Brentwood reached a final. Brentwood lost to West Genesee, 70-57, in the Class AA final Saturday night. In addition to Greenport, Manhasset (Class A) and Center Moriches (Class B) also lost in semifinals.
After burning Greenport for a state tournament-record 53 points, Cooperstown senior Jack Lambert was a mere mortal in the Class C final Sunday, scoring 23 points in a 71-61 defeat of Middle Early College.
• Three cheers for the fans
Greenport was well represented in the stands by purple-clad fans who made the trip upstate to cheer their team on. It didn’t go unnoticed. Jaxan Swann expressed his appreciation for the team’s fans. “They give us everything, and for them, I’ll do anything,” he said. “I’ll go to war for them, me and my brothers and my coaches.”
Photo caption: Jaxan Swann, who had 26 points in his final game for Greenport, attempting a layup. He finished his career 19 points shy of 1,000. (Credit: Jeff Miller)