Two losses, back-to-back, is not a good way to start a new basketball season. Last Saturday, the Vikings were unable to rebound from their opening round loss to St. Mary's 86-61 and also lost the consolation game to Friends Academy 71-65. In the annual Fritz Muller Tourney played at Manhasset HS, the double loss was reminiscent of last year's double loss in the same tournament. After shaking off those two losses, the Vikings went on to have their best season in over 15 years and made it to the conference playoffs. Hopefully the Vikings will rebound as they did last year and improve on those achievements. This week the Vikings are on the road again and will participate in the Bethpage Tourney. The first round game is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 6 p.m. Port will play Division in the opening round. Depending on the results of thast game, Port will play on Friday at either 6 ot 8 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 17, Port travels to St. Dominic's for a non-league game and on Dec. 22 Port hosts Great Neck North at 7 p.m.
In the opening game of the Manhasset Tourney, the Vikings were matched up against what is considered to be the best Catholic HS team in Nassau County. St. Mary's starting line-up averaged over 6'2" and included two of Nassau's top players in Joel Suarez and Jim Fruenberg. Early in the game, the Vikings were able to match St. Mary's point-for-point. Steven Osario hit 8 of his 16 points in that first quarter. However, midway into the quarfter the pressure of trying to contain some of the big men started to take its toll by way of personal fouls against the Vikings and St. Mary's was able to re-group and gain the momentum that was to carry them the rest of the way. Port's tallest man, Steve Osario, picked up his third personal foul and had to sit out most of the second quarter. Although Jason Ham netted eight of his game-high 17 points in the quarter, St. Mary's continued to build up their lead to 41-27 by halftime. By this time St. Mary's had already converted on nine free throws to Port's zero. Foul trouble continued to plague the Vikings throughout the second half, and St. Mary's continued to capitalize as the Vikings were forced to relinquish the pressure in an effort to keep several starters in the game. Osario and DeFeo eventually fouled out of the game. By this time, St. Mary's was well in control and coasted to the win. Jason Ham was high scorer for Port with 17 points. Also in double figures were Osario, 16, Cosolito, 14, and DeFeo, 10.
The consolation game was no consolation for Port Friend's Academy had already lost their first round game to Manhasset and appeared to be easy pickings for Port. However, Friends proved to be just the opposite. The Vikings moved out to an early 12-4 lead midway into the first quarter only to have Friends' regain their poise and even the score of 19 by the end of the quarter. From that point on until midway into the fourth quarter, Port regained momentum as Cosolito hit for seven, DeFeo 5, Ham 8 and 0, Garrow 4 third quarter points. By early into the fourth quarter Port had already hit on eight three pointers, probably a Vikings' record. While Port was making long shots, their defense was lax and Friend's capitalized on fast breaks and short put-backs from inside the paint. With less than three minutes remaining, Friends' took the lead and Port's offense collapsed. Port was held to only seven points in the last quarter. As in the previous nite's game, foul trouble continued to plaque the Vikings. DeMeo fouled out, Osario, Cosolito and O'Garrow were playing with 4, 3 and 3 fouls respectively. Over all Port was charged with twice as many fouls as were their opponents. As a result the margin of victory by Friends was the result of the difference in free throws. In addition, all of Friend's points from the field came on easy lay-ups and put-backs from inside the paint. DeFeo was high scorer for Port with four three pointers and a career high 21 points. O'Garrow and Ham each had 12 and Cosolito netted 9.
Both games were played without the services of Viking All-Conference Patrick White who has been sidelined with a recurring injury and has not been able to put in the required number of practices. Hopefully White will be back shortly. Meanwhile Osario and Ricky Brow will have to pick up the slack.