The lingering effects of Bayport-Blue Point's stunning comeback from a 12-point deficit to defeat Harborfields on Feb. 24 for the Suffolk Class A boys basketball title is that the Phantoms don't believe they are out of any game.

"I really thought we'd come back in this one," senior guard Tim Darby said, shaking his head. "We were just stagnant on offense."

The Phantoms managed only seven points in the final period as Southampton pulled away for a 67-53 victory Monday night in the Suffolk Small School championship game at Farmingdale State.

"They slowed it down, and that hurt us," said Darby, who scored 14 points, two fewer than teammate Doug Niblock. "We like to get off a good shot in four seconds, but we couldn't do that."

Especially in the second half. The teams were tied at 32 at halftime, but the Phantoms never got their run-and-shoot offense in gear. "I don't think we were as intense as we needed to be," Darby said. "I think some of our guys cruised a little. We're at our best when we're running and hitting our threes."

The safety net for the Phantoms, and the reason they weren't overly dejected, is that they remain alive for the big prize: They will play the Nassau Class A champion, either Valley Stream South or Floral Park, for the Long Island championship at 2:30 p.m. on March 14 at Farmingdale State. The winner earns a trip to Glens Falls, and Darby knows just how special that can be.

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Athletic director Tim Mullins confirmed that the last time the school won a Long Island boys basketball title was in 1947, long before there was a state tournament at Glens Falls.

"It's right there on the wall: 1947. This is very exciting," Darby said. "I feel like we can do it if we play our game. We have big goals for ourselves. I want to make some school history."