A True St. Francis Classic Game As Melons Team Wins Championship
Who says you can’t teach an old dog (or GOAT) new tricks? Drawing upon their years of experience, the Belle Harbor Steakhouse made a workmanlike run through the Men’s Open playoffs, culminating in a 63-51 win over Quigley Insurance on Monday night to take the championship. Old Reliable Paul Peterson damaged his application for Graybeard membership with 13 points, numerous rebounds, and outstanding post defense. Ryan Whelan continued his recovery from injury, making all 6 free throws on the way to 10 points and providing crucial ball handling support to stalwart Kevin Fitzgerald.
More veteran support came from Sean Carlton, Kevin Maroney and Rich McDonagh. McDonagh has been the only player to play all 26 years in the Men’s Open division and now has his first Championship Shirt to show for it.
But it was the new players that made the difference in the game against their younger counterparts from Quigley Insurance. Brian Kelly led with 19. Brendan Fitzgerald slashed for 6 and Tyler brought scoring, rebounding, and defense to the mix with his size and athleticism. The youngsters from Quigley made great strides this year and showed that they will be a force for years to come.
The teams advanced with semifinal wins on Thursday with the Steakhouse knocking off top seed Caiazzo Plumbing 55-49, and Quigley beating Jameson’s 57-46, but their eyes and those of most of the crowd were on the Boys Grammar Middle Championship on the next court.
Marty Andresen is the dean of CYO basketball coaches in the diocese of Brooklyn. He took his Rockaway Little League Summer Classic team to the championship game for the fifth straight year. Things started slowly, but by halftime his squad held a 23-15 lead over the Melons. The action heated up in the second half but Rockaway Little League still held a 37-30 lead after three quarters.
The bulge grew to 12 points with four minutes remaining when Alex Goldberg turned it up yet another notch. His basket with 40 seconds remaining gave the Melons a one point lead, and a steal and another basket put them up three. Isaiah Brown hit a free throw to cut it to a 2 point deficit. A Melons missed shot led to a Hail Mary pass which Carson Benya caught to hit the layup at the buzzer to tie the score at 51 and force overtime.
Goldberg and Brown dueled mano-amano in OT. Rockaway Little League led by two with three seconds when Goldberg went to the line. He calmly sank both and then stole the ball and got off a prayer that hit the rim and bounced out as time ran out for a 60-60 tie, which forced the game into double overtime.
The second extra session was more strategic. Goldberg scored four more as the Melons seized control. CJ Gallagher capped it off with another basket and the Melons completed the comeback to take the championship 66-64.
Isaiah Brown poured in 30 and Ryan Loffel added 16 for Rockaway Little League. Alex Goldberg scored an amazing 48 points, with 40 coming after intermission. CJ Gallagher added 9. The rest of the champion Melons are Jimmy Lunny, Matthew Putterman, Justin Muccigrosso, Jack Carter, Kent Hom, Ryan Olsen and Blaze McDonald Smith. Brian Bagley was assisted in coaching duties by James and Patrick Goldberg.
Cross County Savings Bank went undefeated during the regular season and entered the playoffs as prohibitive favorites. Coastal Real Estate put a scare into them with a 21 point third quarter but Chuck and Mary Gillen’s squad regained their composure and held on for a 53-43 semifinal win.
Ridgewood Savings Bank was also a big underdog but fought valiantly, holding a late lead before succumbing to Animal Hospital of the Rockaways, 46-40. The championship was set for last Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. which will be followed by the Women’s Open A championship between Erin White and Bayview. Harbor Light beat Jameson’s 46-34 for the Women’s Open B title.
Coverage of all three games and a season recap in next week’s Wave.