Bay Shore's Christian Smiley shoots from long-range during a state Class...

Bay Shore's Christian Smiley shoots from long-range during a state Class AAA boys basketball semifinal against Niagara Falls at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls, New York, on Saturday. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

GLENS FALLS — There wasn’t one smudge on Bay Shore’s record — 24 games, 24 wins, all against Long Island competition. Now the mighty Marauders were off the Island, on to the Class AAA final four, and seeing how they measured up in a bid for a state championship.

They had been winning prizes that had been elusive for so long, including their first Suffolk title in 20 years and first Long Island championship in 43 years. Their last state crown in boys basketball? That would be, well, never.

The first step toward winning first prize at Cool Insuring Arena came Saturday.

Bay Shore needed to safely navigate its way over Niagara Falls in the semifinals.

Not a problem. Still no smudge. Make it 25 games, 25 wins.

Christian Smiley paced four double-figure scorers with 15 points, and the senior forward grabbed 10 rebounds in a 56-42 victory over the Section VI champion.

The Marauders are going to a state final.

“We’re very happy to be there,” coach Ken Parham said. “We like the challenge. So one more game. Let’s see what we’ve got.

“That would be huge [to win it].”

Section II champ Green Tech (19-6) will be standing in the way at 1 p.m. Sunday.

"I’m not happy,” Bay Shore senior guard Tashawn Bumpers said. “We won and all, but we’ve got to wait until [Sunday] until we get happy.”

Parham scouted Green Tech in its 52-45 win over Kingston of Section IX in Saturday’s other semi.

“They’re very big,” Parham said. “They’re very good. I didn’t see a weakness.”

Bay Shore's Niall Haughney contributed 14 points and eight rebounds toward beating Niagara Falls (16-7). Bumpers added 12 points and four steals. Khamari Broomfield made three three-pointers and scored 11 points. And Carter Wilson dealt 10 assists to go with seven rebounds and four points.

“They had five guys who we had to account for,” Niagara Falls coach Carlos Bradberry said. “That was the hardest part. We probably hadn’t played a team this year where we had to account for all five guys.”

A 27-14 Marauders lead had dissolved to 29-22 by halftime.

But they took charge again at the start of the third. Smiley knocked down a corner three, Haughney hit another short bank shot and Wilson drove the left side — 36-22.

Bradberry called for time.

But the 7-0 run became a 12-2 run. Bumpers made a layup after a turnover and then drilled a three from the left wing, making it 41-24.

Then Niagara Falls scored the final eight points of the period — 41-32.

Bumpers drove for the first points of the fourth. Haughney and Wilson followed with baskets. The margin was up to 15. Nick Estell, who paced the Wolverines with 16 points, soon banked in a shot. The advantage was down to 47-36.

The response? Smiley made a layup and Broomfield hit a three.

“Today I don’t think we gave it our best effort, but tomorrow we definitely will,” Smiley said. “I think there was a lot of nerves.”

Broomfield helped get Bay Shore off to a 10-3 lead, sandwiching two threes around a jumper from the left elbow.

Niagara Falls, which started three sophomores, quickly sliced it to three. But Smiley scored six in an 8-2 burst to close the first quarter, good for a 19-10 advantage.

“Having a team on their toes from the start is definitely our thing,” Smiley said.

So now there’s one very large game left to try to complete a perfect season.

“I feel like we’ve just got to play hard,” Smiley said. “We’re excited to play in the game, but we’re here to win it.”


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