Thrilling finishes for Oceanside


Oceanside’s boys’ basketball team has developed a flare for the dramatic under first-year head coach Joe Supple.

Already with overtime and buzzer-beater victories, the Sailors continued their home cooking against Conference AA-I rivals last Friday evening with a stunning come-from-behind 59-55 win over Massapequa. 

“It was a great team win,” said Supple, who guided the Oceanside girls squad to the playoffs last season. “Our guys are relentless. They never quit and they fed off the emotion of the crowd.”

A 17-point run in the fourth quarter, sparked by a five-guard swarm, helped the Sailors (3-2 in AA-I, 7-4 overall) overcome a 48-33 deficit for their third wild victory in nine days. They did it without 6-foot-8 sophomore big man Jake Tavroff, who missed his second straight game with an ankle injury. Junior Brian Pod came off the bench to score a team-high 15 points, including eight straight during the spurt. Junior Anthorn Garrett had seven of his 11 points in the fourth, senior Ryan Powers added nine points, and seniors Kyle Cohen and Thomas Villella chipped in eight apiece. Massapequa’s Kevin Voigt poured in a game-high 22.

“They got extremely hot in the third quarter and Voigt did a lot for them,” Supple explained. “He hit a bunch of contested threes and we had to try to make something happen defensively. We decided to go with a quicker lineup and a full-court, man-to-man press.”

It was the second straight win the Sailors were led offensively by someone off the bench. “Pod has been an unsung hero all season,” Supple said.

Oceanside, which trailed by one at halftime, scored 26 points in the fourth and went ahead by four with 17 seconds remaining on a basket and free throw by Garrett, whose added to his growing list of late-game heroics. “Anthorn’s been clutch,” Supple said. “He’s doing an excellent job on the boards and coming up with big baskets.”

Garrett’s layup near the end of regulation Jan. 3 forced overtime at Hempstead and along with Tavroff (23 points, 18 rebounds) led a 61-56 comeback victory. Oceanside trailed by seven after three quarters. Garrett scored 20 points, tying a season high.

Five days later, Garrett positioned himself in the right place at the right time and tapped in a Tavroff miss at the buzzer to give the Sailors a thrilling 51-50 win over visiting Freeport. “Anthorn showed tremendous instincts and knew he didn’t have time to do anything but to tip the ball back,” Supple said. “The crowd went nuts.” Sophomore Ralph Amitrano came off the bench to score a team-high 14 points, and Tavroff (12 points, 12 rebounds), Cohen (12) and Garrett (11) also hit for double figures.

“We’ve been a roller coaster team, but right now we’re in playoff position,” Supple said. “We’re doing a really nice job with halftime or late-game adjustments. These kids are relentless workers and they believe in each other.”

The second half of the AA-I slate opens Friday when Syosset visits at 6:30 p.m.