The greatest basketball season in Roslyn High School's history ended in disappointment with the Bulldogs falling short in the Long Island ABC-I title game.
But that defeat has hardly dampened the spirits of Head Coach Jeff Riesner as he looks back on a season that saw Roslyn, in dramatic fashion, win its first-ever Nassau County title.
In fact, the season was also a matter of settling an old score. Riesner recently attended an awards dinner. The program for the evening listed Long Island basketball championship squads throughout the decades. The first year that the authorities kept records was, he related, 1924. That year, South Side High School defeated Roslyn, 49-35 for the Nassau County title. And so, it took 85 years, but Roslyn finally administered payback as it defeated South Side this year, 69-61 to win its first-ever Nassau County Class ABC-I title.
"I told the team all year, when you set a goal and reach it, go on to the next goal," Riesner told The Roslyn News.
Riesner wanted the Bulldogs to get a good seed for the Nassau County tournament and then win the first game, both of which he felt would give the team more confidence as the tournament progressed.
That, of course, is what happened. As he has all year, Riesner praised the team for its togetherness and spirit. He lauded George Beamon, the Bulldogs top scorer, for his record-setting season and his work ethic. Beamon is a resident of Roslyn who transferred back to Roslyn High School from St. Dominic's in Oyster Bay. Beamon had transferred to St. Dominic's in ninth grade. "After the season, he told he wished he had stayed [at Roslyn]," Riesner said.
Riesner also singled out Jordan Richman and Daniel Lipp for their improved play throughout the season. Riesner, naturally, is looking forward to next year. Two starters, Richman and Tariq Forte, are returning. As important, the junior varsity squad had a 12-4 record, which also gives Riesner plenty of hope that Roslyn's tradition of excellence on the hardwood will continue.
Going into the playoffs, the Bulldogs were the third-rated seed in the ABC-I Nassau County playoff brackets. Favored ahead of Roslyn was top seed South Side and number two seed Westbury.
Not only did the Bulldogs defeat both teams on the way to the title, they did so in heroic fashion. In the semifinal game, Roslyn scored an overtime win over Westbury, 71-64, while in the title game, the Bulldogs had an even more impressive win, gaining a come-from-behind victory over top-ranked South Side, 69-61.
In the win over Westbury, the Bulldogs held off a furious Westbury rally to send the game into overtime, where Roslyn prevailed by a seven-point margin.
George Beamon was top scorer with 31 points. Three other Bulldogs scored in double figures: Jordan Richman (15), Jake Ansel (13), and Daniel Lip (10.) Richman also had a career-high 15 rebounds and five blocked shots, while Lip chipped in with five assists.
In the Nassau County title contest, the Bulldogs displayed the same tenacity with the game on the line. Roslyn rallied from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat top seeded South Side, 69-61.
Beamon again led the way with 33 points. He was assisted by Dan Lip who scored 16 points, and Jordan Richman who had 12 points. Lip's contributions were especially noteworthy. Most of Lip's scoring came from the three-point line. Playing in high-stakes competition, Lip knocked down an incredible five three-pointers. Beamon had three three-pointers, along with eight field goals and eight free throws.
In the Long Island title game, the Bulldogs played from behind the entire contest.
Going into the final frame, East Hampton had a comfortable 41-27 lead, But the Bulldogs, as they have throughout their exciting playoff run, played up to their nickname, battling back from a 45-29 deficit to make one final run at the Long Island title.
Roslyn's two top scorers, George Beamon and Jordan Richman, led the Bulldogs' fourth quarter charge. Free throws by Richman and a jumper by Beamon pulled the Bulldogs within 10 points of the lead. After East Hampton opened up a 13-point advantage, the Bulldogs went on a furious 13-3 tear over the next three minutes, putting them on the brink of a tie.
During that run, Beamon led the way nailing down two huge three-point shots. The first one put Roslyn within seven points, and a three-pointer with 1:31 to go in the game pulled the Bulldogs to within three points.
However, East Hampton bounced back, scoring on a layup and then forcing a turnover that sealed their lead and the game.
During the season, Beamon had 673 total points, 124 rebounds, and 43 assists. His offensive output included 193 field goals, 34 three pointers, plus 185 points from the charity stripe.
Beamon was assisted on the offensive side by Dan Lip who had 210 points, including 42 three-pointers. Jordan Richman had 215 points, plus 117 rebounds. Richman's point total included 80 field goals.
The Roslyn High School girls' basketball squad was led by Carolyn Fann, who contributed on both ends of the court.
Fann had 320 points, including 107 field goals and 22 three-pointers. She also pulled down 64 rebounds.
Stephanie Klapper also had a big year, scoring 194 points, with a team-high 90 rebounds. Nina Hadzibabic chipped in with 145 points, including 17 three-pointers. Ashley Levy added 91 total points, plus 56 rebounds.