Boys basketball makes deep run to Nassau Championships


Instagram: @PortVikings

Senior Marc Daly goes up for a lay-up in the county semifinals on Feb. 26 against Baldwin. The boys won by a score of 45-39.

Thomas Melkonian, Staff Writer

The Schreiber boys basketball team recently completed a very successful season in a run to the County Championship game.  The team was led by its seven seniors, Marc Daly, Johnny Bellini, Joe Melkonian, Louis Blakeman, Ben Spier, Harris Sonnenklar, and Engincan Levent.  These seniors have been playing with each other for many years and have developed a tight trust and chemistry between them.  None of them are selfish, and they all bought into the program Coach Sean Dooley had set up.  The commitment and work ethic that each player had contributed to the team was a key factor in their success.

The team finished the regular season with a 15-4 record and an 11-4 in conference play.  The team was very successful even with injuries plaguing them throughout the season.  These injuries could have been detrimental to the team’s success, but thanks to the hard work and discipline of Coach Dooley, the team was able to see success during games.  The injured players also contributed off the court by being good teammates, as they continued to offer advice, be leaders, and give confidence to their fellow teammates. 

“It was amazing to be part of a group of guys that played together to the end.  Teams that play for each other are different.  Even when guys like Marc go off and have amazing games, the locker room talk stays about all of us,” said Melkonian. “It’s pretty cool to be able to accomplish what we did this year. Making it to the county chip was an amazing accomplishment for the team.”

Sonnenklar, Melkonian, and Speir were key players that struggled with injuries this season.  They worked their way back to being healthy and were eventually able to play again, which was crucial for their postseason run

“I think we had a deep playoff run due to how much we played as a team and how hard we played. We exceeded everybody’s expectations by buying into the system and playing for each other and for the team rather than for individual stats or accolades,” said Daly.

The Vikings were given the fourth seed in the playoffs behind Baldwin, Uniondale, and Farmingdale.  The team’s first playoff game was a home game against Freeport who was the fifth seed in the playoffs.  Freeport was 11-8 this season and 7-5 in conference play.  Port was able to easily take the win with a score of 82-66.  This game would allow them to move onto the county semi-finals game against a one-loss Baldwin team, which had just beaten Hicksville by a score of 70-33 to move onto the semi-finals.

Baldwin was 17-1 and 11-1 in conference play.  Their only loss was to the Vikings earlier in the regular season with a score of 37-36.  This game took place at Farmingdale State College.  Many people were speculating that the Vikings would come out nervous because they have never played in front of a crowd of that size and, on top of that, the team was still struggling with players having injuries, including Melkonian and Speir.  However, both players fought through their injuries and were able to help the team to a win over the best team in the county.  

The final score was 45-39 in favor of the Vikings.  Coach Dooley had never beaten Baldwin in all his time coaching Schreiber’s boys varsity team until this year, when he beat them twice.  Key players of the game were Daly, who had 20 points, and Melkonian, who held Baldwin’s best player Tavon Pierre-Louis to 9 points.  He was averaging around 20 points this season.  This win sent the Vikings on to play Uniondale in the County finals.

Uniondale had just come off a win against Farmingdale in the other semi-final game with a score of 41-25.  Uniondale was 16-3 with a conference record of 13-2.  They were ranked number two in the county behind Baldwin.  The winner of this game would get the chance to play at Nassau Coliseum for the Long Island championship.  Unfortunately, the Vikings came up just short even with two last-chance three’s from Daly at the end of the fourth quarter.  Port lost by three points with a score of 51-48. Daly finished with 23 points, and Speir finished with 13.  It was a hard-fought game and a good effort from all the players on the team. 

“Although it wasn’t  the outcome we all wanted, this is something that will last with me forever,” said Spier.  “I will forever be grateful for the lessons Coach Dooley has taught us and my teammates that always gave it their all fighting until the last buzzer.” 

The boys basketball team made it a lot farther than anyone expected them to.  They also upset the best team in the county and only lost by three in the county finals.  All the boys left their hearts on the court and unfortunately, the game did not go their way.  The Vikings fought as a team, and won and lost as a team.  Now, the team is looking forwards to next year’s guys to bring them back to the same spot.