So, Locust Valley it is.
As to be expected, that will be Greenport/Southold’s opponent in the Long Island Class B girls basketball final Wednesday at Shoreham-Wading River High School.
Yes, that Locust Valley, holder of a 22-0 record and 53-game winning streak, breaking Hempstead’s 52-game streak from 1980-83 for the Long Island record, according to Newsday.
So, Greenport coach Chris Golden, how do you feel about going up against the Falcons?
“You know what?” he said. “They’re on a winning streak. I think we all agree we’re just not gonna show up. We’re just going to give it to them.”
Of course, Golden was kidding. On the contrary, he believes this could be the first combined Greenport/Southold team to win a Long Island championship.
Golden’s team, including nine of his 10 players, were in attendance at Hofstra University last Wednesday to watch Locust Valley roll to the Nassau County Class B championship. They saw Locust Valley steamroll Cold Spring Harbor by 40 points, 56-16.
Locust Valley followed that up with a 43-29 defeat of Carle Place for the Nassau Class BC title Friday evening at Wheatley High School. The last Locust Valley loss was traced back by Newsday to Feb. 15, 2019, against Floral Park in a first-round playoff game.
The Porters don’t seem intimidated.
“They’re good players, but we have good players, too,” Golden said. “Listen, Port Jeff is the toughest team we played. They were the most complete team we’ve played. I don’t feel that Locust Valley — and I’m being honest — I just don’t feel they’re on par with Port Jeff. I’m not being disrespectful. I’m just being honest.
“We feel that we’re more than capable, and honestly should win this game. We’re not going to get blown out by 40 points, that’s for sure.”
Referring to Locust Valley’s Lindsay Hogan and Payton Tini, Golden said: “They have two kids who they kind of look to, but again, I’ll tell you what, I feel if Locust Valley played in our league, they would not be 52 and 0 because our league is tough. Center [Moriches] is tough, Southampton is tough, Mattituck’s tough, Port Jeff is tough. Our league is brutal.”
And Greenport (15-4) is no slouch, either. In the playoffs, the Porters defeated Mattituck, 52-39, in a county semifinal and then Center Moriches, 40-31, giving the combined Greenport/Southold team its first county championship game win since 1989. Greenport then lost to Port Jefferson, 43-33, in the Suffolk Class BCD game.
Competing strictly as a Greenport team, the Porters won county titles in 1982 and 2003. (In 2003, Greenport was declared the Suffolk Class D champion as the only Suffolk team in that class to qualify for the postseason.) Southold, competing on its own, won county crowns in 1981, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2012 before the teams were combined again in 2013, according to Golden.
Golden plans to go with his typical starting five of Adrine Demirciyan, Brienna McFarland, Lilly Corwin, Hayley Skrezec and Amelia Woods. In the three playoff games they have played, Demirciyan averaged 14 points per game, McFarland 12 and Corwin eight.
Golden said his team is healthy, rested and has had the benefit of facing some tough defenses. “Center played us tough,” he said. “That was man-to-man, physical, like blue-collar basketball. The same with Port Jeff. We’re kind of used to that.”
Meanwhile, Greenport can play an aggressive 2-3 zone and man-to-man defense.
“There’s a grittiness and determination to this team that I really like, especially defensively,” Golden said. “As far as I’m concerned, I thought they did a great job defensively against Center and Port Jeff.”
Golden said it will be critical for Greenport to limit turnovers, knock down shots on open looks and hit free throws. The Porters had trouble in the free-throw department in their last game against Port Jefferson, going 4-for-14.
Woods, asked after the Port Jefferson game what this playoff experience has been like, called it “amazing. I saw us getting here at one point. I’m so glad that we did because I knew that we had the capability to. We have the talent, we have the heart, we got everything that we needed, and we put in the work and it paid off.”
A win by the combined Greenport/Southold team would be history.
“Those moments are what make great memories,” Golden said. “Now we’re having some fun.”