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Angel Rivera leads Bay Shore to berth in Suffolk AA semis

Angel Rivera scores two of his 22 points

Angel Rivera scores two of his 22 points for Bay Shore during 61-34 victory over Central Islip in the Class AA quarterfinals at Bay Shore High School on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. Credit: James Escher

The song reverberated in Angel Rivera’s ears and in his mind.

“Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na

Hey-hey-hey, good-bye.”

Central Islip fans taunted the Bay Shore players with the classic sports-arena rock-jock anthem by the group Steam after the Musketeers ended the Marauders’ 12-game winning streak on Feb. 11.

Yes, Rivera was definitely steamed. “They knocked us off at their place and the whole time, I’ve been thinking about it,” the Bay Shore senior forward said. “They sang that song at the end of the game and we were not going to let that happen again.”

It was the Bay Shore fans who sang the song midway through the fourth quarter yesterday as Rivera scored 22 points and a stifling defense helped the No. 1-seeded Marauders eliminate the No. 8 Musketeers, 61-34, in a Suffolk AA quarterfinal played before a nearly packed gym at Bay Shore.

Bay Shore (19-3) will face No. 4 Smithtown West (21-1) in a Suffolk AA semifinal 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Stony Brook University. Central Islip, which was held to 14 points in the second half, finished 15-7.

“This is how we play every single game. This is who we are,” said Rivera, who scored 14 points in the second half and totaled nine rebounds. “We are not an offensive team. We’re a defensive team.”

That was evident midway through the second quarter, when Bay Shore took control by closing out the half on a 12-4 run for a 30-20 lead. Rivera hit two free throws and a driving layup and Anthony Simpson (10 points, 11 rebounds, eight steals) contributed a hustling three-point play in a sequence in which he battled for three straight offensive rebounds.

Any thoughts Central Islip had of rallying were doused early in the third quarter when Bay Shore broke open the game with a 12-0 run that produced a 44-24 lead. The Marauders led by 30 in the fourth quarter.

“They beat us to every loose ball when we played them the last time,” Bay Shore coach C.J. Leary said. “I told them I couldn’t think of a better chance for them to redeem themselves, and they did. Straight man-to-man. Crazy ball pressure and the guy behind you has your back if you get beat.”

Rivera scored six points during the burst, including a coast-to-coast layup after a steal. His twin brother, Jose, Bay Shore’s leading scorer with an 18.3 average, was held to eight points but contributed on defense and finished one fast break with the game’s only dunk.

“They were on Jose the whole game,” Angel Rivera said of Central Islip’s diamond-and-one strategy. “So he just stood back [on offense]. We let our defense become our offense.”

And sang a much different tune.

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