The Southampton boys basketball team outlasted Center Moriches in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s Suffolk County Class B semifinal game as the Mariners went on to defeat the Red Devils, 77-60, on their home court.
The victory set up a rematch of last year’s Class B final between the Mariners, who are seeded third, and top-seeded Babylon, which defeated Wyandanch in the other semifinal game. The Class B Championship was to be played Wednesday at Northport High School. Results of the game occurred too late for this week’s edition and can be found online at 27east.com and in next week’s edition of The Press.
Southampton head coach Herm Lamison said he was happy with the way his team was able to keep pace with the Red Devils, who were seeded second in Class B, before breaking through in the fourth quarter on Friday.
“At the end, I thought the game went very well, since we walked away with the W,” he said. “It was a tough game. We knew that going in, so we wanted to stay steadfast with our approach defensively, and we stayed poised for the run that we knew they were going to make.”
Friday night’s game could best be described as a boxing match, with Southampton and Center Moriches trading jabs throughout the evening. The Red Devils were playing from behind for most of the game but, as Lamison predicted, they began making their push in the third quarter and, with about 90 seconds remaining in the frame, senior Terrell Jackson sunk a three pointer to tie the game at 50-50.
But that’s when Southampton senior Shaundell Fishburne started to take over. He scored the final two baskets of the quarter to give the Mariners a 57-52 edge heading into the final quarter.
Fishburne continued to score at will in the fourth, and the Mariners picked up their intensity on the defensive end, limiting the Red Devils to just eight points in the final frame. “It’s not so much that we changed anything defensively—the defense just dug in and clamped down,” Lamison said. “The defense understood what we had to do.”
With 5:41 remaining in the game, Southampton senior Taylor Sanders found an open lane in the paint and drove to the hoop, scoring on a layup and getting fouled in the process. Sanders made his free throw and, all of a sudden, Southampton had jumped out to a 10-point lead. Lamison said he thought Sanders’ move into the paint was a key turning point in the game.
The Mariners extended their lead to 12 before Center Moriches junior Anthony Parlato hit a three pointer to keep the Red Devils in the game. Southampton had an answer for everything though in the final quarter, cleaning up the boards and nailing key shots before eventually pulling away for good.
Fishburne scored a game-high 29 points, with most of them coming in the fourth quarter. He also had 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals. Sanders finished with 18 points and five rebounds while junior Naises Fulford finished with 12 points, including a team-high three three-pointers to go with 10 rebounds and four assists. Sophomore Israel Johnson also had a good game, finishing with eight points and 10 assists.