Four seconds after draining his final three-pointer of the game — and final of his Shoreham-Wading River career — senior Kevin Davis fought for a steal, only to be whistled for a foul. As the referee pointed his direction, the reality set in. With his fifth foul, Davis’ game and career were over.
A crescendo came over the crowd as Islip High School Saturday afternoon, as the Shoreham fans rose to their feet for a standing ovation. Even the Islip fans offered an appreciative applause for the 30-point performance Davis delivered in the Wildcats’ first round loss at Islip.
For Davis it was his fourth game of the season with at least 30 points, but it wasn’t enough for the Wildcats to get past the fourth-seeded Bucanneers as Islip rolled to a 66-52 victory. Islip (14-5) advances to play top-seeded Harborfields Thursday.
“I’m telling him on the bus, that’s why he’s an All-County kid,” said Shoreham coach Kevin Culhane. “He left one of his best games for his senior year as did [Ryan] McAlary.”
Davis and McAlary teamed up in the backcourt for the Wildcats as sophomores, leading the Wildcats into the playoffs their first year. Last year Davis suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him most of the season. As seniors, the duo helped lead the Wildcats back into the postseason and an overall record of 10-9.
“They’re probably one of the best guard pairs you’ll see, even including Amityville in the last three years,” Culhane said. “I’m going to miss them. I’m going to miss them all.”
McAlary scored 14 points for fifth-seeded Shoreham against Islip.
Davis finished the season averaging 21.5 points per game, including a 42-point performance in a triple overtime win over Hampton Bays in December. He finished 15th on Long Island in points per game, according to stats compiled by Newsday.
The size and length of Islip was too much for Shoreham to handle. Davis hit a baseline jumper with 4:40 left in the third quarter that cut Islip’s lead to 26-23. But the Bucs responded with an 8-0 run to build the lead back to 11.
“The kids battled but they were just too big for us,” Culhane said.
The Wildcats kept it close in the first half but never led after briefly holding a 10-7 lead with 2:20 left in the opening quarter. The game was tied at 17 late in the second quarter before the Bucs closed out the half on a 6-0 run to take the lead for good.
Islip forward John Horowitz led the Bucs with 20 points and he connected on five three-pointers. He sank a dagger with two seconds left in the third quarter that pushed Islip’s lead to 10 going into the fourth.
The Wildcats shot 6-of-10 from beyond the arc in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough to mount a comeback.
Islip center Andrew Oberg caused trouble for Shoreham all game. He finished with 15 points and 17 rebounds. It didn’t help for the Wildcats when one of their top inside players, Mike Clancy picked up two fouls 1:56 into the game. He picked up a third foul in the first minute of the third quarter, relegating him to the bench once again.
“The kid Oberg had a fantastic game,” Culhane said. “We did a good job against two of the other kids but Oberg beat us. They’re a very good team. There’s no shame in losing to them.”
The Wildcats shot 30 percent from the field and were 7-of-21 from three. Islip shot 42 percent and was 5-of-13 from three. Islip hit 8-of-10 from the free-throw line in the final two minutes.
“We gave a great effort,” Culhane said. “They beat us, we didn’t beat ourselves.”