South Side wins first L.I. crown since 1978


South Side seniors Josh Garelle and Rob Pericolosi will be college basketball teammates at SUNY Geneseo next year, but on Saturday the duo made sure their high school career would get extended in historic fashion.

Garelle and Pericolosi each scored 14 points to propel South Side (25-1) to its first Long Island title since the 1977-78 season with a 45-31 win over Kings Park in the Class A championship game at Stony Brook University’s Island Federal Arena. The two book-ended their scoring outputs with Pericolosi registering 12 of his points in the first quarter alone while Garelle closed strong with 10 in the second half.

“Every playoff game when you're a senior it could potentially be your last so I was trying to go out there and give it all I have every single play,” Garelle said. “Rob had a big first half and I had a mediocre first half so I just wanted to come out in the second half and get to my spots and contribute in any way possible and if it comes from scoring, it comes from scoring and that's what I did.”

The Long Island crown propels South Side into the state semifinals Friday at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls Friday to face Rochester power Irondequoit.  It will mark the program’s first appearance in the states in 35 years when South Side earned a bid to the big stage with a county championship.

Pericolosi’s hot early shooting helped South Side grab a 14-10 lead after the first quarter with Garelle then opening the second quarter with two straight buckets for an eight-point lead. 

Kings Park stayed in the game thanks to 27 points from Matt Garside, who gave the Kingsmen a brief third-quarter lead at 27-26 with two free throws. South Side responded by scoring the next 10 points and ended the game on a 19-4 run while limiting Garside to only two points the rest of the way.

Senior point guard James Bivona delivered eight points, which included back-to-back three-pointers that capped South Side's crucial 10- run when it seized control. Patrick Mullin registered six points. 

The Cyclones’ leading scorer, James Murphy, was limited to two points, but his one field goal came at clutch moment when he scored in transition off a Bivona steal in the fourth quarter for a 40-31 lead. 

“One of our strengths is that we are fairly versatile with our scoring,” 21st-year South Side head coach Jerry D’Angelo said. “James Murphy, who is our leading scorer, did not have one of his better offensive games but he rebounded really well and he was one of the key switch guys on the defensive end to help.”

The Long Island championship marks the first for D’Angelo in his more than two decades at South Side, which included previous county titles in 2004 and 2012. Garelle said the team was well aware of the history at stake Saturday and he is now focused on bringing home another trophy. 

“We’re trying to do much more than just the Long Island championship,” Garelle said. “The job is not finished.”