Good ole fashioned teamwork sparked Carey to an important 65-53 victory over visiting Calhoun in a Conference AA-III boys’ basketball game on Feb. 6, bringing it one step closer to a Nassau Class AA playoff spot that seemed unlikely after a tough start.
The Seahawks, who were 1-5 in conference play after dropping the first meeting with Calhoun on Jan. 11, had eight players contribute offensively in what coach Marty Kelly said was their best performance of the season. Junior Adrian Denner starred with 20 points and 15 rebounds, junior Kyle DeMeo chipped in 12 points, and sophomore Thomas Gallant added seven points, 16 rebounds and three blocks as Carey (6-7) moved within a game of .500. Juniors Brian Downey (17) and Kyle McGinley (14), and senior Thomas Joannou (12) all scored in double figures for the Colts (9-4.)
“We needed to play a great game and get a win, and we did,” Kelly said. “Calhoun has a very solid team. Everyone gave us big minutes. Everyone contributed.”
It was the fourth win in the last five conference games for the Seahawks, who went into the regular-season finale at Mepham, after presstime, controlling their own destiny. A win would advance them into the playoffs, which begin today, Feb. 14, but a loss combined with a Herricks win over Long Beach would keep them out. “We can’t afford a letdown,” Kelly said. “We’ve worked too hard to get to this point.”
Calhoun, which took the first meeting, 52-40, saw its three-game win streak snapped but remained in the mix to open the playoffs at home. It would need to beat Great Neck South in the regular-season finale and get some help. “We were a step behind defensively today,” Colts coach Jay Kreutzberger said. “We were late in our rotations, they beat us on the boards, and they played well.”
In a game that saw 16 lead changes, Carey trailed, 42-40, heading into the fourth quarter, but used a 14-point run to take command. Denner, who led the Seahawks in scoring for a fifth straight game, had back-to-back baskets in the paint to put them ahead for good. The outburst continued with field goals by Gallant and senior James Harrison, a couple of free throws by Denner, and finally a three-pointer by DeMeo. “Every time they started to get a little momentum, somebody stepped up for us,” Kelly said.
Calhoun cut the 54-42 deficit down to seven on a trey by senior Tom Murphy with three minutes remaining but could get no closer. Harrison and sophomore Nick Spillane added eight points apiece for the surging Seahawks.
Despite the setback, Kreutzberger said the Colts are looking forward to the playoffs. “Our seniors have played in a playoff game, but our young guys haven’t,” he said. “Today was an example of the intensity they can expect. Being able to raise our level of play to match the opponent is an important thing because there are no bad teams in the playoffs.”