2007-08-17 / Sports

Thrills Galore At St.Francis Basketball Summer Classic

The Orangemen team came back from a 17 point half time deficit to defeat their opponents, Rockaway Little League, to become fifth and sixth grade champions of the St. Francis Summer Basketball Classic. Gregory Charles, Shea Pires, Coach Jeff Mercer, Tommy Mercer, Sean Morgan, Ryan Sullivan and Michael Buckley displayed resilience and teamwork to earn the championship. Not pictured are Billy Murdoch, Patrick Bylis and Anthony Castellano. The Orangemen team came back from a 17 point half time deficit to defeat their opponents, Rockaway Little League, to become fifth and sixth grade champions of the St. Francis Summer Basketball Classic. Gregory Charles, Shea Pires, Coach Jeff Mercer, Tommy Mercer, Sean Morgan, Ryan Sullivan and Michael Buckley displayed resilience and teamwork to earn the championship. Not pictured are Billy Murdoch, Patrick Bylis and Anthony Castellano. Championship night at the St. Francis Summer Classic started with a thriller and went on to build to a exciting crescendo.

Marty Andresen's Rockaway Little League squad appeared to have control of the fifth and sixth grade championship game as they built a 20 point lead.

Coach Jeff Mercer's Orangemen slowly began to chip away on Rockaway's lead. As the fourth quarter progressed, the Orangemen shifted into high gear.

The change in momentum proved to be too much for RLL to handle and the Orangemen prevailed by three points to be the first team of the night to wear the championship shirts. The champions are; Tommy Mercer, Sean Morgan, Michael Buckley, Billy Murdoch, Ryan Sullivan, Shea Pires, Patrick Bylis, Anthony Castellano, Gregory Charles, and Brian George.

The Boys Grammar Senior Final was next and produced just as much drama. Belle Harbor Yacht Club was looking to complete their championship quest after going winless during the regular season. Their opponents, Caucig Utilities, held the lead through most of the game before Craig Carey's BHYC team turned up the 'D'.

Conor Gallagher's displayed excellent on the ball defense, which allowed teammate Anthony Reyes to cause Caucig to commit many turnovers.

BHYC's defense would benefit their offense as James Mercer, James Mc- Cool, Ryan Biddiscombe, and Joe Wolfer were key in the resurgence.

Reyes' basket put BHYC into the lead and they looked to have taken the air out of Caucig. But Coach Jack Bender's team was not through after Greg Beehler fouled out of the game.

Caucig's Jimmy Boyhan, Matt O'Neill, Mark Caputo, and Daniel Morris made a strong final push against BHYC.

After a missed missed shot by BHYC, Caucig raced the ball up the court and Morris's outside shot went through the net with one second remaining to give Caucig the win and the championship, which is Coach Bender's first after many years in the Summer Classic.

The rest of the team included Douglas O'Connell, John Maiocco, Jarett Hill, Kieran Rogers, and Daniel Brickman.

The night ended with the Boys High School championship, which was a battle royal between Dr. Schilling's POD's and Rockaway Seafood Company.

The lead changed hands throughout but in the end, Big John Pensabene's squad proved too much for Tom Pulkoski's Seafood team, though it took overtime to get the victory.

After Cody Gauvard appeared to seal the win in regulation, Chris Lubrano of Rockaway Seafood nailed a three pointer at the buzzer to force overtime. Dr. Schilling's looked deflated initially, but they composed themselves and gained control once again in the overtime to win, 64-61.

Cody Gauvard led all scorers with 32 and John Sullivan added 21. They were aided by Mike Knott, Travis Rivera, Matt Perrone, Eddie Warren, and Ryan Rayder. Chris Lubrano and Chris Armstrong led Rockaway Seafood with 26 and 20 respectively.

The High School division is clearly back after a brief down period. The division should be even stronger next year as most of this year's players are expected back and there will be a strong influx coming from the Boys Grammar Senior Division.

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