01/09/14 9:17pm
01/09/2014 9:17 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Kayla Schroeher of Bishop McGann-Mercy charging toward the basket while Port Jefferson's Jillian Colucci tries to stop her.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Kayla Schroeher of Bishop McGann-Mercy charging toward the basket while Port Jefferson’s Jillian Colucci tries to stop her.


The Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs have suffered through some bleak high school girls basketball seasons in recent years. Really bleak.

Last season they went 0-18. The season before that they were 0-18. And the season before that they were 1-17. Just one win over three seasons.


If those were the dark ages of McGann-Mercy girls basketball, some light is finally shining through. Brian Babst, the team’s new coach, said it will take time to rebuild the program, but better days — and wins — are ahead for the young Monarchs.

A note of encouragement came on Thursday when the Monarchs earned a league win on the road. They used a 20-5 run that started near the end of the second quarter and ended early in the fourth, giving them the lead for good against Port Jefferson. Six Monarchs scored during that spell. The Royals mounted a late charge, but Mia Behrens, a freshman point guard, made 3 of 4 free throws and blocked a shot in the final 28.2 seconds to help the Monarchs preserve a 52-49 victory in the Suffolk County League VIII game.

Fiona Nunez, a senior who recently came off a two-week bout with strep throat and the flu, returned to form, producing a double-double for the Monarchs (3-4, 2-2), who snapped a three-game-losing streak. Nunez, who shot 6 of 14 from the field, scored 14 points and came down with 13 rebounds, both team-high figures. Behrens, who scored 8 points as did teammate Kayla Schroeher, also had 11 assists, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 1 block.

Port Jefferson (2-7, 2-2), which trailed by as many as 13 points, was held to 1-for-15 shooting from the field in the third quarter. But the Royals didn’t fold. Courtney Lewis (21 points, 11 rebounds, 5 treys) and Jackie Brown both hit a pair of 3-point shots in the fourth quarter to tighten the gap. (For the game, Port Jefferson attempted 29 treys, making eight of them).

Consecutive 3-pointers by Brown and Lewis cut McGann-Mercy’s lead to 49-46 with 31.1 seconds left. A free throw by Behrens made it a 4-point game before Brown struck again from beyond the arc, swishing a shot from the left wing with 10 seconds to go, making the score 50-49.

Behrens sank a pair of free throws with 7.0 seconds remaining for the game’s final points.

Following a timeout, Port Jefferson’s Olivia Love tried to make an inbounds pass from under own basket, but a scrambling Schroeher hit the floor in an attempted steal, knocking the ball out of bounds. Love had another inbounds attempt, this time with 5.8 seconds to go. She heaved a long pass down to Brown, whose layup attempt was blocked by Behrens.

The Royals then fouled Delaney Macchirole, sending her to the foul line. She missed both foul shots, but the final 1.1 seconds ticked off before the ball bounced out of bounds.

Just like that, the Monarchs tripled their win total from the previous three seasons combined.

Port Jefferson, which suffered its sixth loss in seven games, received 13 points from Corrine Scannell and 10 rebounds from Gillian Kenah.

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05/20/13 8:00pm
05/20/2013 8:00 PM

SUFFOLK COUNTY POLICE COURTESY PHOTO | Pictured from left to right are Sixth Precinct Officer Anthony Passarella, Sixth Precinct Officer Frank Ribaudo, Emergency Service Section Officer Lance Prager of Mattituck and Bruno Kaluzinski of Wading River.

An off-duty police officer from Mattituck on his way home from Advanced Life Support training, saved the life of an 86-year-old Wading River man on Friday, police said.

Lance Prager, an Emergency Services section officer with the Suffolk County Police Department, witnessed the man suffering cardiac arrest at the Agway store in Port Jefferson, when police say he sprung to action.

Mr. Prager asked an employee of the store to retrieve his medical bag from his car as he performed CPR on the man, who according to police had no pulse or respiration.

Soon after, Sixth Precinct patrol officers Anthony Passarella and Frank Ribaudo arrived on the scene and started doing compressions and helped administer a shock with a defibrillator, police said.

The victim then started breathing on his own and was taken by Port Jefferson Volunteer Ambulance to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson. He is currently in the critical care unit in stable condition, police said.

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05/03/13 9:26pm
05/03/2013 9:26 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy's starting pitcher, Kevin Thomas, came off the mound to handle a ground ball.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy’s starting pitcher, Kevin Thomas, came off the mound to handle a ground ball during Friday’s win over Port Jefferson.

Designated hitter Pat Marelli’s three-run double keyed a four-run sixth inning to boost Bishop McGann-Mercy to a 9-5 home victory over Port Jefferson in a Suffolk County League VIII baseball game on Friday.

The Monarchs averted a three-game sweep after losing, 9-2 and 14-6, earlier in the week.

Third baseman Greg Gehring’s two-out, bases-loaded walk snapped a 5-5 tie just before Marelli delivered his bases-clearing blow to left field for the Monarchs (5-10, 5-10).

Port Jefferson (6-9, 6-9) overcame a 5-2 deficit by scoring three runs in the fifth inning off starting left-hander Kevin Thomas, who struck out five of the first 11 batters.

Right-hander Ray Ellis, normally a starter, pitched one-hit ball over the final two and two-thirds innings to register the win.

McGann-Mercy second baseman Kurt Bahnke reached base every time he made a plate appearance, scoring three times on a single, two walks and a hit by pitch.

The Monarchs will finish the regular season with a three-game series with Babylon on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

12/21/12 9:52pm
12/21/2012 9:52 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Asaiah Wilson, dribbling around Port Jefferson’s Rubin Sigler, scored a game-high 24 points. Seven of those points came in overtime.


Junior guard Asaiah Wilson scored 7 of his game-high 24 points in overtime to lead Bishop McGann-Mercy to a 56-52 Suffolk County League VII boys basketball win over host Port Jefferson on Friday night.

It was an intense affair with 12 lead changes as the score was tied eight times.

The Monarchs battled back from a 5-point deficit in the overtime period. Wilson began an 8-0 surge by pumping in a 3-point shot with 2 minutes 27 seconds left before hitting two foul shots to tie it at 50-all with 2:06 remaining.

Senior guard Brian Willet (8 points) sank one of two foul shots to give McGann-Mercy (5-2, 2-12) a 51-50 advantage with 1:30 left that the Monarchs never relinquished. The game wasn’t settled until Wilson hit two more free throws with 12.7 seconds remaining to give the visitors a 3-point advantage and Willet putting in another foul shot with a second to go.

Gabe Davis of Port Jefferson scored his only points of the night by hitting a trey at the buzzer to tie the encounter at 45-45, sending the game into overtime.

McGann-Mercy junior forward Nykel Reese contributed 14 points — sinking all 10 of his free throws — and added 17 rebounds and 6 blocked shots.

Junior guard Coby Steiner led the Royals (2-5, 0-3) with 21 points and senior forward Jasper Rubin collected 19.

05/26/11 10:24pm
05/26/2011 10:24 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Although the ball was thrown close to his head, Bishop McGann-Mercy's Joe Crosser was safe at second base.

The scary thing about the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs is that they have so many ways in which they can beat their foes.

Whether it is by dominating pitching, long ball or little ball, the Monarchs have proved to be tough to beat.

On a day when their star junior right-hander, Pat Stepnoski, was less than consistent, McGann-Mercy brought out its bats, battering the Port Jefferson Royals for three home runs and 15 hits en route to a 15-5 victory in the Suffolk County Class C tournament in Riverhead last Thursday.

The Monarchs had many heroes as every player drove in at least one run or scored one.

Shortstop Keith Schroeher, who had only one home run entering the game, slugged two and scored all five times he reached base. Catcher Rocco Pascale went back-to-back with Schroeher in the bottom of the third inning as both blasts traveled to the same place in dead center field. Third baseman Tom Kretz drove in four runs and Stepnoski added three runs batted in.

“Great game. Complete team victory,” McGann-Mercy Coach Ed Meier said. “Hit for power. Hit for average. Put the ball into play when we needed to. Made the plays when we had to. Threw enough strikes to win. Every time those guys scored, we came right back and scored and that’s what you’ve got to do.”

When the Royals grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top of the third, the Monarchs came back with two in the bottom of the inning for a 3-2 advantage. When the visitors scored twice in the top of the fourth for a 4-3 edge, McGann-Mercy broke the game open with five run in the bottom of the inning for an 8-4 advantage.

“It’s tough when you put up a run and the team comes back and puts more up [to go] on top,” Meier said. “You do that a couple of innings and that’s tough to overcome.”

The Monarchs scored their five runs in the fourth on three hits, taking advantage of two walks and a hit batsman. Kretz keyed the rally with a two-run double as Christian Lynch, D. J. Willmott and Stepnoski each had an RBI.

“Every one can hit the ball anywhere in the lineup, whether it is power or contact,” Kretz said. “We’re just a well-rounded group of hitters. We don’t rely on any one guy at any time to get a big hit.”

Stepnoski started out strong, striking out six of the first eight batters before struggling. He allowed the Royals to score five times in three innings as three players who walked scored.

“I got a little hitch in my mechanics,” he said. “It was bothering me for a couple of innings, but I worked it out.

“When I’m down, they pick me up. Sometimes when we’re down, I could pitch a good game and pick us up. It’s a team sport. That’s why there’s nine of us.”

Stepnoski found his stuff to retire the final four batters he faced — two on strikeouts — before Joe Crosser struck out the side in the seventh.

Pascale was hit by a pitch three times, once with the bases loaded in the sixth. Pascale, who said he has been hit 11 times in 21 games this season, shrugged it off.

“I tend to like pitches off the plate,” Pascale said. “So when they try to pound me inside … there’s not much room to miss. So it’s going to hit me. It’s frustrating, but at the same time I get on base. When it’s the bases loaded, I get the run in. It’s nothing. If I get hit, I get hit.”

The win meant McGann-Mercy did not have to play the Pierson/Bridgehampton Whalers in the loser’s bracket on Friday and that Pascale and several teammates could enjoy their school’s senior prom last Thursday night without worrying about a game the next afternoon.

“That would have been a very big bummer,” Meier said. “But they took care of that so they can get that off their minds when they’re having a good time today.”

The rest allowed McGann-Mercy to have a rested pitching staff.

“We get the weekend off,” Pascale said.

Added Stepnoski: “It gives you a piece of mind. You can relax, prepare.”

05/19/11 8:27pm
05/19/2011 8:27 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy's Carl Dickinson slid safely into third base as the league champion Monarchs closed out their regular season with a win.

They were soaking wet, happy — and perhaps a little fearful.

During the bus ride home on Wednesday, the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs could savor their newly won Suffolk County League VIII baseball championship, which they secured in the rain with a 14-6 win over the Port Jefferson Royals. At the same time, though, there was a little fear factor involved as their bus slowly rumbled toward Riverhead.

“It was a little scary because it was raining so hard,” McGann-Mercy coach Ed Meier said. “I think we were doing 10 miles per hour because the defogger wouldn’t work on the bus.”

Nonetheless, the Monarchs can see where they’re going — into the Suffolk County Class C Tournament as the No. 1 seed.

That much was clear. With the playoff brackets expected to be released tomorrow, the Monarchs are awaiting the announcement of their playoff opponents.

They will take a healthy dose of momentum with them into the postseason, not to mention their fourth league title, second in five years, and second outright.

“It was an unbelievable feeling,” McGann-Mercy left fielder Carl Dickinson said. “There was definitely a lot of talk about doing it. We just put our minds to it and did it.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Joe Crosser went the distance on Thursday for Bishop McGann-Mercy, hurling a five-hitter against Port Jefferson.

Now the Monarchs are the talk of their school, and League VIII. McGann-Mercy is a complete team that has all facets of the game covered, from pitching to hitting to fielding to base running. Rocco Pascale’s bat has been a big help. The senior entered Thursday’s game with a .607 batting average and a .734 on-base percentage.

“That’s making a mockery of the game,” said Meier.

There is a reason why no team has beaten McGann-Mercy more than once and why the Monarchs have won every series they have played this season.

“We don’t really have any weak links on this team,” said center fielder Pat Stepnoski.

Looking for a soft spot in the batting order? Good luck.

“A lot of times in League VIII you’ll see the bottom third of a lineup not be that productive, [but] even if the bottom of their lineup isn’t necessarily big hitters, they work the count, they got on base, they ran the bases,” said Port Jefferson coach Jesse Rosen, whose team will compete in the playoffs for the seventh straight year.

McGann-Mercy completed its regular season on Thursday with a 10-2 win over Port Jefferson. Stepnoski drove in four runs and Joe Crosser pitched a five-hitter for the Monarchs (14-4, 14-4) at Scofield-Desiderio Park in Port Jefferson Station.

Port Jefferson (11-7, 11-6) was playing for a favorable playoff seeding while the game did not hold great significance for McGann-Mercy beyond pride. Still, the Monarchs did not take the day off.

Stepnoski opened up a four-run rally in the first by stroking a single to center field that scored two runs. The next inning Stepnoski smashed another two-run single for a 6-0 lead.

In addition to knocking in a pair of runs himself, Dickinson, the left fielder, made the defensive play of the game in the second when, racing to his left with an outstretched glove hand, he snagged a fly ball hit by Billy Crowe.

Port Jefferson’s Joe Gerbino drove a ball an estimated 400 feet, well over the center-field fence for a solo home run in the second, his second long ball of the season. Rosen said it was one of the longest-hit balls he has seen in four years at Port Jefferson.

McGann-Mercy showed its resourcefulness in the fourth when it made nine plate appearances and scored three runs without the benefit of a hit. Five walks (one with the bases loaded), an error and a wild pitch by Port Jefferson, helped, though.

Meanwhile, Crosser went the distance, with seven strikeouts and two walks. He retired Port Jefferson’s final five batters, and that was it.


The day before, McGann-Mercy beat Port Jefferson with the aid of three runs batted in and a home run by Keith Schroeher. The visiting Monarchs broke that game open with a nine-run rally in the sixth, which Owen Gilpin ignited with a two-run, two-out single.

“That just put them away,” said Pascale.

Meier expressed relief over clinching the league crown. “We’re kind of in that in-between stage,” he said. “We’re happy that we won the league, but we know that the playoffs are coming up, and that’s really our goal.”

Still, a league title is something to be cherished.

“It says that you’re the best, basically,” Stepnoski said. “It was a on a list of to-dos for the year, and we checked it off.”

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05/11/11 11:12pm
05/11/2011 11:12 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Olivia Schumann won three individual events, helping Bishop McGann-Mercy capture its third straight league championship.

Three consecutive years as the Suffolk County League VIII girls track and field champions.

Make that three successive years as unbeaten champions.

Yet, it never gets old for the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs.

“You can’t ever say that it gets tired because every season you get new kids in,” Coach Tricia Nunez said. “It’s a great accomplishment for any coach to be able to get a team to that point. It’s all them. All we do at this point is cheer. We’ve given them the workouts. We’ve given them the training. And when they come to the meets, we’re here to cheer them on and support them.”

Nunez and her assistant coach, Gregg Cantwell, had plenty of reasons to cheer and be cheerful as the Monarchs (6-0, 6-0) clinched the title in their last dual meet of the season, a 95-54 win over previously unbeaten and host Port Jefferson Royals (5-1, 5-1) last Wednesday.

“Its really exciting,” said senior Olivia Schumann, who won three individual events and was part of a winning relay team. “We work so hard. We train in the rain and snow. It’s so exciting especially [since] it’s my senior year because we just really wanted this.”

Another senior, Kayleigh Macchirole, who captured three events and finished second in another, admitted she entered the meet with some trepidation because she knew how good the Royals were.

“Well, for the team, I was really nervous because I know Port Jefferson is the team to beat,” she said “They are our biggest competition in the league. We all kind of brought our ‘A’ game today.”

Many of the Monarchs did on a sunny and warm afternoon, although Schumann and Macchirole were not at full strength.

Macchirole fought a cold and slept on the team bus on the way to the field. “I was a little tired,” she said.

But not tired enough to slow her down en route to wins in the 200-meter run (26.6 seconds), shot put (29 feet 11 1/2 inches) and discus (86-2), Macchirole took second to teammate Sasa Vann in the 400, who won in 59.4.

“I’m satisfied,” said Macchirole, who noted that she achieved three personal records. “I cut off a lot of time in my 200. I was close to the my goal in the shot put and I threw a lot over my PR in discus.”

Schumann said she had “really bad shin splints.” Yet, she emerged victorious in the 100 (13.0), 400-meter intermediate hurdles (1:09.9), the high jump (4-10) and anchored the winning 4×100 relay team (53.1).

“I kind of coasted,” she said. “They told me not to kill myself. I’m running this weekend, so they wanted me to try to take it easy if I could.”

It’s not an easy balancing act when you’re trying not to overdo it while striving to win.

“A lot of it is knowing what the other team has,” Schumann said. “If you don’t, then you kind of suck it up and run. I don’t feel the pain when I’m running. I just feel it after the fact. I’ll worry about that when the race is over.”

Nunez said that having talented competitors and role models such as Schumann and Macchirole has been an absolute joy.

“They’re [the] kind of athletes that a coach dreams of having,” she said. “And having two of them on one team, you feel like you’ve hit the Lotto. On top of their extremely talented abilities on the track, they’re super people that work for the team.”

Other Monarchs who won included Meg Tuthill in the 800, Isabella Franz in the 1,500 and Lindsay Gelling in the 1,500 racewalk. McGann also finished first in the 4×400 relay (4:32) and 4×800 relay (11:10.2).

But the biggest surprises came in the 400 intermediate hurdles and the 800. Tori Cataldo, running the 400 intermediate hurdles for the first time, finished second in 1:13.8.

Fiona Nunez took 20 seconds off her time in the 800 for a personal record.

“You usually don’t see something like that,” the coach said. “She ran the 800 at the beginning of the season and really struggled with it.”

04/26/11 2:27pm
04/26/2011 2:27 PM

Brian Costello of Mount Sinai “did not see race or status. Had no hate, no jealousy and no anger,” said his brother, Robert Costello.

And he had always wanted to drive a car. In fact, he seemed to have loved everything about cars.

“Can I have the car alarm?” he would ask incessantly, Robert Costello recalled during a funeral eulogy for his brother Tuesday. “Can I have some keys? Robbie, do you have the black car?”

“Yes, Brian,” Robert Costello continued from the altar, choking back tears. “Here are the keys. Here’s the car alarm. Here’s the car.

“Drive home. Be free.”

A tear-soaked gathering of about 70 mourners then slowly broke into cathartic applause inside Infant Jesus R.C. Church on Myrtle Avenue in Port Jefferson.
Brian Costello’s remains were later cremated in a private ceremony.

The 36-year-old man had been riding last Wednesday in a bus operated by Maryhaven Center of Hope, which runs several Long Island facilities for the disabled, when almost the entire length of the vehicle’s driver’s side was crushed by a toppling tractor trailer whose driver had lost control on a hilly curve on Sound Avenue.

Brian Costello, who was a Maryhaven care recipient, died a short time later at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, police said. Eight others, including both drivers, were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at area hospitals and later released, officials said.

Robert Converse, 54, of Bellport was traveling east about a quarter-mile west of Edwards Avenue in Baiting Hollow about 3:15 p.m. when his truck, loaded with gravel, flipped on its side and collided with the bus, scattering gravel across the roadway and into nearby trees.

Mr, Converse was then pulled from the truck’s cab by a Good Samaritan, witnesses told the News-Review. The truck driver appeared to have suffered facial injuries and was bleeding from an ear, they said.

“We saw smoke. The driver of the Jeep was pulling the truck driver out,” said 16-year-old Jaime Rockowitz of Wading River, passenger in a car that had come upon the scene. The driver “was a little out of it. He was staring up in space.”

Although no charges or violations were immediately issued to Mr. Converse, who was driving for Gap Leasing Corp. of East Moriches, police are still searching for clues to what may have caused the crash. Riverhead police expect to present their findings to the Suffolk County District Attorney for review, officials said.

“We’re looking into everything,” Riverhead Detective Sgt. Joseph Loggia said when asked whether the investigation is focusing on the driver or on mechanical failure.

“[Mr. Converse] gave a statement to his actions, as far as what happened, but nothing I would say is incriminating,” Sgt. Loggia said, adding that the investigation will “take time,” in part because of the numerous agencies involved.

Police have ordered a toxicology report to see if the driver had any drugs or alcohol in his system, Sgt. Loggia said.

The post-crash inspection of the truck did not show any mechanical violations, he said.

The Suffolk Police Crime Scene Unit, the Suffolk County Crime Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are assisting in the investigation.

According to the Motor Carrier Safety Administration website, Gap Leasing Corp. did have another truck involved in a crash with injuries within the last two years. A manager at Gap Leasing did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

At the time of the crash, the Maryhaven bus, driven by Gary Rosset, 61, of Ridge, was headed west toward the organization’s Port Jefferson headquarters. It was being. Mr. Rosset was not expected to be charged, police said.

“Our hearts go out to the [Costello] family,” said Lou Grossman, a Maryhaven administrator.

Witnesses to the crash said the tractor-trailer had flipped onto its side and that the impact blew out all the windows in the truck’s cab. They also saw EMT workers run down the hill to attend to bus passengers.

“I saw them run over there with a respirator or something,” said witness Greg Scherer, 22, of Shoreham, who was headed west on Sound Avenue in a white Nissan when he came upon the crash. “They were doing CPR on someone on the bus.”

Sound Avenue west of Edwards Avenue remained closed for much of the evening as detectives investigated the cause of the crash.

Riverhead firefighters were called to the scene to wash the area of fuel, which was spilling from one of the vehicles.

Brian Costello is survived by his father, Robert, his mother, Carol, and a brother, Robert.

“The family is at the moment, as you can understand, upset…[but] thanks everybody for their thoughts and prayers,” said the family’s attorney, Brian Odwyre, the morning after the crash.

At the funeral, Robert Costello also said that his brother not only loved his family, but had many friends. “Brian touched the lives of everybody he met,” he said. “If you showed him kindness, he was your friend.”

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Staff writers Samantha Brix and Vera Chinese contributed reporting to this article.