Canes bounce back at Kujan Tournament


Thanks to a grueling schedule that includes plenty of tough battles in League VI as well as tournaments stacked with competition nearly every weekend, the members of the Westhampton Beach wrestling team don’t have the luxury of letting a bad loss stew in their minds for very long.

That proved to be a good thing this weekend, as the Hurricanes rebounded from a tough 58-3 road loss against league powerhouse Elwood/John Glenn on Friday by coming up with several strong performances in the Kujan Memorial Tournament at William Floyd High School on Saturday.

Just 10 hours after the lopsided loss to Glenn, the Canes were back on the mat, and their ability to put that loss out of their minds and wrestle well impressed head coach Paul Bass.

“One of the things we always preach is resiliency,” Bass said. “It’s a brutal season and things aren’t going to go your way all the time. How you react to what happens is really nine tenths of the game in this sport.”

Junior Pete DeTore (112 pounds) was a perfect example of that fact. DeTore suffered perhaps the toughest loss among his teammates against Glenn, falling 7-6 to DeKrone, who benefitted when DeTore was called for stalling.

Bass said he was disappointed in the way the match was officiated, particularly because the loss could negatively affect DeTore when it comes to seedings in the league and county meet.

“Anyone who knows Pete knows he doesn’t stall,” Bass said.

DeTore responded by beating rival Dan Gray of Ward Melville 9-4 in the finals of the Kujan Tournament, avenging a loss to his fellow county-ranked wrestler from earlier in the season. DeTore was also named the Champion of Champions, a distinction voted on by the other champion wrestlers in each weight class.

“It just shows you what a great head he has,” Bass said of DeTore’s performance. “Friday night’s match was a real bad match to lose and he just came back the next day and did a great job.”

Joining DeTore on the champions’ podium was Scott Carey, who won the 145-pound weight class with a pin in 2:38. Like DeTore, Carey suffered a tough loss against Glenn, falling 6-5 when his Glenn opponent scored a takedown with seven seconds remaining.

“Scott wrestled real tough,” Bass said. “It was nice to see him respond like that on Saturday.”

Bass said that the efforts of DeTore and Carey were part of what was an overall strong team effort on Saturday.

“I was really proud of them,” Bass said. “We got back from Glenn at 11 at night and after having won 11 matches in a row, we got our butt kicked. They could’ve had their tails between their legs and felt sorry for themselves, but they didn’t do that.”

Overall, Westhampton Beach had 16 wrestlers place in the top six at the Kujan Tournament, finishing behind Connetquot, Floyd and Ward Melville.

At 103 pounds, Conner Bass finished second after bowing out of the final due to a shoulder injury. Coach Bass said the injury was minor and not season-threatening, but that he decided to play it safe with the league and county tournament on the horizon.

At 119 pounds, Cory Hubbard finished second, losing 9-6 in the final, and both Brian Higgins (140) and Matt Mazarakis (152) finished third. Andrew Capuano (96), Vinny Garafola (112), Brian Kobus (160) and Bobby Garone (171) all finished fourth, while Tim Daley (103), Zach Bass (119), Mike Purpura (125), Danny Maddock (130) and Brian Lagoumis (135) finished fifth. James Cush (171) finished sixth.

In the loss to Glenn, the lopsided final score was not indicative of the competitiveness of the match. Of the 12 matches wrestled, six were decided by five points or less, although the Canes won only one of those matches, with Conner Bass earning a 5-0 decision at 103 pounds. Four of those six matches were decided by three points or less, all going to Glenn.

“We won one of those matches and we should’ve won six,” Coach Bass said. “But it’s not really a consolation either. It is what it is, we just move on.”

On January 14, the Hurricanes prevailed 29-28 at home against Mt. Sinai. Lagoumis sealed the win in the last match of the day, and although he suffered a 12-4 loss at 135 pounds, his ability to avoid getting pinned is what kept his team on top.

“He fought and fought and fought,” Bass said. “As one of the parents said after the match, he earned his captain’s stripes that night. He was on his back twice, but he did a great job of battling, being smart and staying in the right position.”

Conner Bass and Carey won with pins for the Canes, while DeTore, Hubbard, Zach Bass, Mazarakis and Kobus all won by decision to help pace the Canes to the win. Zach Bass’s win was by major decision, 13-0, providing his team with an extra point that proved to be crucial.

The Hurricanes, 2-1 in league meets after the loss to Glenn, were scheduled to face Miller Place on Wednesday and will visit Mattituck on Friday for a 5:15 p.m. match. They will compete in the Herricks Tournament on Saturday.

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