The dream season continues for the Westhampton Beach boys basketball team.
The Hurricanes won their first postseason game in 14 years, in front of a jam-packed home crowd, last Wednesday, February 12, downing Bayport/Blue Point 59-52 in the first round of the Suffolk County Class A playoffs. Originally scheduled for the following day, the game was pushed up due to last week’s snowstorm.
With the victory Westhampton Beach advanced to the semifinals where they were set to battle Amityville, the top seed, on Tuesday afternoon. Results of that game can be found in the news section and on 27east.com.
“It’s pretty surreal,” Westhampton Beach senior captain Mike Frangeskos said following last week’s playoff victory.
“This is great for the town,” second-year Hurricanes head coach John Baumiller said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the guys.”
Baumiller added that his team has played better games this season, but it did well enough to win last week, and that’s all that matters in the postseason.
“The other team was well-coached and did a good job,” he said. “I think we played like a team that wanted to move on and was inspired by the home crowd. It was a total team effort.”
Westhampton Beach staked itself to a 26-20 lead by halftime, but Bayport/Blue Point didn’t go down without a fight in the second half. Less than a minute into the third quarter, Westhampton Beach junior Rashaad Mitchell fouled Mike Walker as he was shooting a three pointer. He made the shot, then hit the free throw to complete the four-point play.
Walker then came down a short time later and hit another three, followed by a layup by Tyler Grosse, and the Phantoms found themselves down by just two points by the time the fourth quarter rolled around.
That’s when things became a free-throw shooting contest. Westhampton Beach and Bayport/Blue Point combined for 44 free throws throughout the game, with the Hurricanes taking 15 of their 23 shots in the fourth quarter. Mike Frangeskos went 6 for 6 in the final frame, while junior Devonte Dixon went 5 for 7 and senior John Frangeskos was a perfect 2 for 2. Mike Frangeskos was 10 for 10 from the line throughout the game.
Baumiller said he was surprised the second half became such a free-throw affair, being that both teams had one only foul each in the first half of the game. “I think it was kind of strange,” he said. “I thought [Bayport] got more aggressive. We were trying not to foul. We were trying to play good defense.
“Then toward the end they had to foul us, so it worked out to our advantage,” he continued. “We practice our free throws every day and it paid off.”
Mike Frangeskos, who hit a big three pointer to give the Canes a five-point lead with 3:30 remaining in the contest, finished with a game-high 26 points and seven rebounds. He also said he was happy that the game came down to free throws.
“I just picture myself at home shooting the ball, or in the gym in practice,” he said. “But that’s how we won the game, by hitting our free throws and playing as a team.”
Dixon, who usually leads the team in scoring, had 18 points and nine rebounds. He transferred in the offseason from William Floyd and was glad he could help the team get back to the postseason.
“This is what I planned, what I wanted to do when I got here, to get the team back to the playoffs,” he said.
Baumiller said that it has been a great season, regardless of whether or not his team advances to the county final.
“We have a chance to play the top team in the bracket,” he said. “Who would have expected that?”