In the quarter finals of the Nassau County Boys Basketball Championships,against Baldwin,the Vikings put out their best effort of the season only to fall short 56 53. Reflecting back on the game as I cruise down I95, Im trying to think of what the Vikings could have done or have done better to win that game. There are a lot of ifs or supposes that come to mind,but in the final analysis,they gave it their absolute best. Everything they had,they left on the court. There was nothing more to give. Port was the heavy underdog going in and the uncrowned champions going out. The Vikings played with such intensity that it took them and their coach a good half hour to wind down. It was a good way to end a season, knowing you gave it your best effort, even if the end result was not a win. Each Vikings player knows that as a team they achieved far more than they expected at the seasons start. There is no doubt that in a decade or more from now, whenever these Vikings gather, that they will reflect on the heroics of this season with pride. Their overall 116 record is the best of any Port team in the past 15 years.
There will be awards presented shortly to recognize individual players and their outstanding contributions to the team. Maybe the powers to be in Section 8 or the Coaches Association will recognize the Vikings young coach, Jim Gilmartin, for his outstanding achievement. Any coach that can take over a floundering basketball program and a 13th seeded team and finish 5th in Nassaus toughest conference deserves the Coach of the Year award. None of the other seven teams that qualified for the play offs improved from their pre season seed position. As a mater of fact, I doubt that any 13th seed has ever qualified for the play offs.
Port made an impact on Nassau basketball this year and next season prospects look good. Theres a chance that Port might play in Conference II next year because of enrollment realignments. However, no matter which conference Port plays in, they will probably be seeded in the upper half and thereby play a tougher schedule. Port will lose only two seniors from this years squad, Rex Mayo and Anthony Davis to graduation. Returning will be a nucleus from this years starters including Jimmy Cosolito, Pat White, Sonny DeFeo and Jason Ham.
Concerning last weeks play off game Port and Baldwin both had identical records 10 2 league. Baldwin was an early preseason favorite played a much tougher schedule and finished second in the conference. Port playing an easier schedule because of their low preseason seed finished 5th. Baldwin had the advantage in height. During the warmups every other player dunked the ball. Port on the other hand had many of the intangibles needed to win a ball game. They were prepared and sported a can do attitude. No more than four of five points separated the two teams throughout the game. Baldwin led by two points after each of the first three quarters. Port tied the game midway into the final quarter. The lead changed hands a few times in the final few minutes. Pat White hit a three pointer with 1 30 left to give Port its last lead. Shortly thereafter Baldwin converted two free throws to give them a one point advantage. Another two points with seconds remaining gave Baldwin their final margin of victory. One final attempt to tie the game by Port was off the mark and the game was history. The comment It was a great game echoed among those in attendance. No one gave arguments what could have been wasnt, but what was will long be remembered. Rec Mayo playing his final game for the Vikings, led the team in scoring with 18 points. White added 3, Cosolito 10, Ham 7 and DeFeo 5.
Florida high schools are into their basketball playoffs. Its interesting to note that teams have already played 30-35 games. Up north on LI we play only half that amount.
Ted Williams Museum in Hernando, FL. is a worthwhile trip if youre anywhere near Ocala. The focus in on Ted Williams and baseballs greatest hitters.
The Houston Astros baseball training camp just missed getting hit by that tornado which swept through central Florida a couple of weeks ago. The devastation where over 20 people died was just beyond the centerfield fence of one of the ballfields.