Robert Pericolosi of South Side dribbles downcourt during a Nassau...

Robert Pericolosi of South Side dribbles downcourt during a Nassau Class A boys basketball semifinal against Elmont on Tuesday at Farmingdale State College. Credit: Dawn McCormick

After seeing that Manhasset held up its end of the grand bargain in the first Nassau Class A semifinal, the South Side boys basketball team wasn’t about to deny Long Island hoops fans the game for which they had been waitingt.

The streaking Cyclones have been on course to meet the defending state Class A champions for some time now. On Tuesday night they guaranteed the matchup by shaking off persistent Elmont for a 49-35 victory in the late Nassau Class A semifinal at Farmingdale State’s Nold Athletic Complex.

South Side (22-1) extended its winning streak to 22 games with its third triumph over their Nassau II-A division rival Spartans (16-7).

Now the Cyclones will get their chance to dethrone Manhasset (22-1) when the teams meet 5 p.m. Saturday in the county title game at Hofstra’s Mack Sports Complex. South Side will be going for its 12th Nassau title and first since 2012.

“For our guys it is the challenge,” South Side coach Jerry D’Angelo said. “We want to see how good we are and Manhasset has been the standard.”

“They beat us by 23 in the semifinals last year, so of course we want a shot,” James Murphy said. “This time . . . we believe our heart and hustle can pull it out for us.”

Robert Pericolosi added “it’s going to be a dogfight.”

Elmont lost to South Side twice in the regular season by a combined 38 points, but brought a grittier personality and a determination to keep the Cyclones’ potent offense and running game at bay. When Cassius Moore drained a short jumper in the lane with 1:40 left in the third quarter, the Spartans were within 26-25. Elmont’s Girell Frias-Walsh made a steal on the ensuing possession, but his highly-contested shot for the lead missed the mark.

Josh Garelle made a three-pointer to start a 14-2 run and the Cyclones never looked back.

“We knew they’d come out much harder this time,” Murphy said, “but we kind of felt we’d have them at the end.”

“The third time is always going to be the hardest, but I look at our progression,” D’Angelo said. “We were bearing down on defense at the end. That’s progress and I like it.”

Pericolosi had 15 points and Murphy and Garelle each added 14 points for South Side. Moore scored 13 for Elmont.

“We knew we could be here from Day One this season,” Garelle said of reaching the county title game. “We lost to [Manhasset] in the semifinal and we brought back the entire core of the team. We are a much better team than we were last season.”

In a much-anticipated matchup Saturday, everyone will find out how much better.

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