Playing from behind in the first quarter, the Vikings got their act in gear in the second and went on to dispose of the East Meadow Jets 53-46. The Vikings were slow out of the gate as East Meadow performed excellently on the boards and prevented second shot attempts from the Vikings. Ross and Ferrucci led the Vikings with 16 and 13 points respectively, as the varsity overcame a 13-9 first quarter deficit to win going away with tight defense and stronger board play in the second period. Ferrucci did an excellent job of plugging up the middle of the paint, along with Mandelkern, Mulqueen, and Guillaume that enabled the Vikings to hold the Jets to one-shot opportunities and completely take them out of their first quarter rhythm.
Once the Vikings were able to control the pace of the game in the second quarter, they applied pressure on all points on the floor. The outlet passing of the Vikes in addition to the dribble penetration gave them an inside attack as well as a perimeter offensive. The Vikings didn't necessarily have their best shooting performance of the season, but their persistence in chasing loose balls, and going after their own rebounds gave them second shot opportunities that they let pass in the first quarter. The Vikings were able to hold serve as it were in the second quarter outscoring the Jets 15-11 and evening the halftime score at 24.
The third quarter was where the Vikings would establish their rhythm and dictate the course of the game for the second half. They gave the Jets a thorough pasting by outscoring 16-7, and out-hustling them. Ross got his floaters to fall and Ferrucci got his points off the board, but the Vikings got a great deal of contribution from their lesser-known players in this game. Players like Moran put in six and Cetta put in a deuce to assist in the scoring output, but you can't forget Guillaume's inside presence and outlets, Mandelkern's hustle for the loose balls and Mulqueen's perimeter threat all of which enabled their big guns to complete their jobs.
Even when Port's primary scorers weren't hitting their shots with the same integrity and timeliness, the mere threat of any of supporting Port players kept East Meadow guessing and off-balance. East Meadow regained some of their composure in the fourth quarter and began to sink their shots with greater regularity and proficiency, but the Viking court coverage compensated for the sometimes, inadequate shot selection. Port kept the Jets honest by not permitting the high percentage lay-ups or giving them easy fouls to convert from the stripe. When the Jets finished their run, they had only gained back two points in the fourth, and the Vikings subsequently ran them off the court with a well-deserved 53-46 win.
The Vikings played a first half against Farmingdale that looked as if it were a playoff preview, but the air came out of Port's balloon in a hurry in the second half as the varsity lost a tough one 65-54. What a tale of two halves! It was as if there was two different teams in each half, either that or maybe the players from each team switched uniforms without me being able to catch it. The Vikings got off to a big lead in the first half, but uncharacteristically they let it slip away in the second. Much credit must be given to Farmingdale's ferocity on the boards and in their ability to play cohesive basketball in a tightly wound second half.
The usual dramatis personae for the Vikings: Ross, Ferrucci, Mandelkern and Mulqueen put up good performances, but they couldn't withstand the onslaught of the Farmingdale contingent that put up 46 points in the second half alone. Port's swarming defense kept Farmingdale in check in the first quarter as they limited their opponents to a mere eight points in the first quarter. Their double teams and switches kept Farmingdale looking for open shots on the outside, and they were unable to convert many opportunities as a result. Port, however, could only muster 10 points of their own, so the first period remained tight throughout.
Port ran away in the second quarter as Ross led the way and finished with a team high 16 points. They got support from their bench as well as from James, Moran, Levy and Guillaume. They all contributed buckets throughout the contest, but more importantly, they were able to provide the starters with a much needed rest against a highly exuberant Farmingdale club. Ferrucci got his put backs, and Mulqueen hit from the perimeter to give the Vikes the outside threat to compliment the inside play. Port put Farmingdale back on its heels in the second period by tacking on 19 points to Farmingdale's 11. With a halftime lead at 29-19, it certainly appeared as if the Vikings would be able to put the burners on in the second half and run away with an easy one.
The second half would be all Farmingdale however as they were the ones who did the running. They simply blew away the Vikings with timely shooting and exasperating fast breaks that led to easy conversions. The gorund swell of play led to a crescendo of confidence within the Farmingdale club as their inspired play silenced the hometown crowd and completely neutralized any advantage for the Vikings. Farmingdale tied the Vikings at 36 as the third period came to a close, and by the time the fourth quarter came along, Farmingdale kept up their full court run whereas the Vikings couldn't even convert easy hoops. Of course, the ubiquitous Farmingdale defense made even the simple back door a mighty task, and the Vikings never got back into it. The final score of 65-54 was perhaps Port's most disappointing because it was their opportunity to beat one of the better teams on Long Island.