02/14/13 7:00pm
02/14/2013 7:00 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO  |  McGann-Mercy junior Nykel Reese scored a team-high 16 points Friday night.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | McGann-Mercy junior Nykel Reese drives to the basket against Mattituck.

The 2012-13 high school boys basketball season began with cautioned optimism around Bishop McGann-Mercy. The Monarchs knew they had a deep team led by two strong all-around players in Nykel Reese and Asaiah Wilson. And they also knew playing in League VII put them at a decided disadvantage.

“Mercy looks like the [Class] C team to beat,” Newsday wrote in its season preview in December.

The Monarchs may very well be the team to beat. But they won’t get a chance to prove it in the playoffs.

The Monarchs finished 5-9 in League VII, leaving them two games short of the minimum .500 league record to qualify for the postseason. But given their more difficult schedule — which forced them to play 12 games against Class B schools — the Monarchs petitioned Section XI, the governing body for Suffolk County athletics, to allow them into the postseason.

The petition was denied.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that we could win a county championship this year,” said McGann-Mercy coach Mike Clauberg.

The Monarchs are the largest of the six Suffolk County schools that fall into Class C. Classification numbers are determined by the state and can vary year to year. The eight smallest schools in the county form League VIII. Four of those schools are Class C and four are Class D.

The Monarchs and Port Jefferson were the only Class C schools in League VII. The Monarchs won both games against the Royals this season.

But the Monarchs were just 3-9 against Class B teams, leaving them with a league record of 5-9.

The Stony Brook School, which went 14-3 in the lower league, received the No. 1 seed for the Class C playoffs. Pierson (11-7) was the No. 2 and Greenport (10-7) the No. 3.

On Tuesday night, Pierson defeated Greenport, 63-41, to advance to the county final.

Stony Brook played only one Class B team and lost by 26 to League VII champion Babylon.

Clauberg said Section XI denied the petition because McGann-Mercy didn’t play enough games against Class C schools. Clauberg said he tried to schedule a few more non-league games against Class C teams but they didn’t pan out.

Instead, the Monarchs played Shelter Island and Smithtown Christian, two Class D schools. They won both games. Their other non-league games included a loss to Lindenhurst (Class AA) and a win over Sayville (Class A).

Coaches for Greenport and Pierson agreed that McGann-Mercy should have been allowed in the tournament.

“My heart goes out to the Mercy kids because that’s really who gets affected,” said Pierson coach Dan White. “I don’t know what the issue would be, money or whatever, but those kids should have gotten a chance.”

Stony Brook received a bye into the county final, so McGann-Mercy could have conceivably played a semifinal Tuesday night against the Bears.

“If they had been a No. 4, they probably could beat a No. 1 team,” said Greenport coach Al Edwards. “You never know what’s going on one particular night. I think there was probably some injustice done there.”

The maddening part for McGann-Mercy lies in the fact that there was a precedent to allow a Class C team from League VII into the tournament. It happened just last year with Port Jefferson. The Royals went 5-9 in league play last season and were granted the No. 3 seed in the playoffs as the final team to make it into the postseason.

Last season McGann-Mercy was a Class B school.

“Teams should have to win more than one game to win a championship,” Clauberg said. “Port Jeff deserves to be in, too.”

Clauberg said they received no explanation from Section XI as to why Port Jefferson was allowed in last year while McGann-Mercy was denied this year. The Royals also tried to get in this year and were denied as well, Clauberg said.

“No one understands it,” he said. “[Section XI] said we don’t use past precedent.”

At least two parents wrote letters to the Section XI executive director, Ed Cinelli, seeking an explanation. Those inquiries went unanswered as of Wednesday afternoon.

“We were shocked,” Clauberg said after finding out his team’s season was over. “How hard is it to let us play Stony Brook?”

joew@timesreview.com

With Bob Liepa

02/14/13 12:16am

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior T.J. Fabian placed third at 126 pounds in the county tournament Wednesday.

T.J. Fabian’s hopes for a state title remain alive.

After losing in the quarterfinals of the Section XI county tournament, the Shoreham-Wading River senior rallied to place third at 126 pounds to give himself a chance at earning a wild card bid to the state championship in Albany.

To earn a third-place finish, Fabian needed to defeat the wrestler who knocked him off earlier in the tournament for his first and only loss of the season. Huntington junior Corey Jamison narrowly defeated Fabian in the quarterfinals Tuesday before losing in the semifinals. That sent him on a collision course to meet Fabian again in the consolation round Wednesday.

Fabian wasn’t about to lose twice.

Fabian edged Jamison 2-0 in the consolation final, a huge victory that all but assures him a return trip to states. Last year Fabian was fourth in New York after earning a wild card bid.

The wild card bids won’t be determined until all the section tournaments are completed.

Fabian needed to win one match Wednesday at Walt Whitman High School to advance to the consolation final against Jamison. As it turned out, he earned a forfeit win, leaving only one match to wrestle. He was supposed to wrestle Brad Wade of Islip in his first match but Wade suffered an ankle injury that ended his tournament.

Two other Shoreham wrestlers competed Wednesday in the second day of the county tournament. Dom Pirraglia at 182 won his first consolation match, 8-2, before losing via pin in the consolation final for fourth place.

James Szymanski at 106 lost his first match, 6-4, to drop to the fifth/sixth match. He won via forfeit for fifth place.

02/11/13 7:00pm
02/11/2013 7:00 PM

The major snowstorm that wrecked havoc with high school sports schedules in Suffolk County has delayed the completion of the boys and girls basketball regular seasons. All that snow, however, didn’t prevent Section XI from going about the business of preparing for the playoffs for those sports. Section XI, the governing body for interscholastic sports in Suffolk, released the boys and girls basketball playoff brackets on Monday.

As expected, Riverhead’s boys team earned a rare home playoff game. The Blue Waves (15-3), received the No. 5 seed in the Suffolk Class AA Tournament and will host No. 12 Longwood (11-6) of League I in a first-round contest on Friday. Riverhead, which last week captured the League III championship, will carry a six-game win streak into the postseason. In the only meeting between the two teams during the regular-season, however, Longwood beat Riverhead, 60-41, in a non-league game on Dec. 8.

The Greenport boys (10-7), who have one regular-season game remaining, will play a familiar opponent in a Suffolk Class C outbracket game Tuesday: Pierson (11-7). The winner of that game will advance to a county final against the top-seeded League VIII champion, Stony Brook (14-3), on Wednesday. Greenport and Pierson split the two regular-season games they played against each other.

Bishop McGann-Mercy (8-10) and Shoreham-Wading River (9-9) failed to qualify for the playoffs.

In girls basketball, No. 7 Riverhead (11-7) will host No. 10 Half Hollow Hills East (11-6) in a Suffolk Class AA first-round matchup on Thursday. While the Blue Waves have dropped their last two games, Hills East had won three of its last four.

Shoreham-Wading River (14-4) not only won its first league championship in 11 years last Thursday when it defeated Elwood/John Glenn in a double-overtime thriller, but it also secured the No. 2 seed in the Suffolk Class A Tournament. The Wildcats will play in a semifinal at home next Tuesday against the winner of Friday’s outbracket game between No. 3 Elwood/John Glenn (16-2) and No. 6 Sayville (11-7).

If No. 3 Mattituck (11-7) is to win a Suffolk Class B title, it will have to get past No. 2 Center Moriches (11-4), something the Tuckers weren’t able to do during the regular season. The two League VII teams will play in a Suffolk Class B outbracket game on Friday night in Center Moriches. The Red Devils defeated Mattituck by 8 and 20 points during the regular season. The reward for the winner of Friday night’s game will be a place in next Tuesday night’s county Class B final against Southampton (14-3), the League VII champion.

No. 3 Southold (9-6) will face No. 2 Port Jefferson (10-7) in a Suffolk Class C semifinal on Wednesday. Those teams beat each other once earlier this season.

11/06/12 6:28pm
11/06/2012 6:28 PM

The high school sports playoffs will have to wait one more day. Playoff games scheduled for Wednesday have been postponed due to the impending Nor’easter expected to hit the area.

An already tight schedule becomes even more cramped now as Section XI must reschedule a bevy of games. With the state tournaments already set, it leaves little wiggle room now for all the games to be completed before those tournaments. The Section XI brackets were not updated as of Tuesday night, but most games would likely be Thursday assuming the weather is fine by then.

The cross country state qualifier is now canceled and the results from the division championship will be used to determine which teams and runners go to the state meet this weekend. Check back for a breakdown of which local runners will advance.

11/01/12 12:26pm
11/01/2012 12:26 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | The Riverhead football team will not be starting the playoffs Saturday as playoff games across Suffolk County were postponed.

All high school sports in Suffolk County have been postponed through Saturday  — including football playoffs that were scheduled to begin Friday night, Section XI announced Thursday morning.

Exact dates for games are still to be determined and more information will be available Friday.

Many schools across the county are closed through the end of the week, making it nearly impossible to coordinate scheduling of any games. The first playoff games were originally to begin last Monday with field hockey. Riverhead was scheduled to play at Centereach as Hurricane Sandy pounded the east coast.

The cross country county championship originally scheduled for Friday may have to be moved to a different location. Sunken Meadow State Park may not be accessible due to many down trees, according to an e-mail sent by Tony Toro, the cross country girls coordinator. Section XI will determine the date and location.

joew@timesreview.com