Video highlights of Center Moriches defeating Southold, 107-55, in the Suffolk BCD boys basketball championship at Whitman High School on Saturday Feb. 22. Credit: Newsday / Michael Ruiz

For Center Moriches, the recent culture of success can be summed up in a motto.

“It really just comes down to our mantra — ‘Be humble to prepare and confident to perform,’” boys basketball coach Nick Thomas said. “And we’ve had great success over the years just from having a tremendous amount of talented kids who come in and work hard every day.”

That mantra became evident once again on Saturday afternoon as Naejon Ward recorded 22 points, five rebounds and seven assists, Emond Frazier had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Ahkee Anderson added 14 points, five rebounds and six assists for Center Moriches, which bested Southold to earn its fourth consecutive Suffolk BCD championship with a 107-55 victory at Whitman High School.

Center Moriches will look to defend its Long Island Class B championship against Malverne on March 10 at Centereach at 7 p.m., but will first take on Class A champion Amityville in its next matchup in the Suffolk small schools championship on Friday at Farmingdale State at 6 p.m. Center Moriches also won the Suffolk overall championship last season.

Anderson, who transferred to Center Moriches from Greenport before the season and recently reached the 2,000-point plateau, now has 2,048 varsity points. The dynamic senior guard downplayed his rise up Long Island’s all-time scoring list and instead emphasized the importance of his team’s state title aspirations.

“I don’t really care about that,” Anderson said. “It’s nice, just another thing to add to my career. That’s cool, but what I really want is a state championship. That’s all I’m worried about.”

Center Moriches opened the contest on a 21-5 run thanks to its swarming defensive pressure and balanced offense, and led 32-13 entering the second before taking a 61-27 advantage into the break. Center Moriches continued its strong performance in the second half to seal the victory.

“Some games we lax and it shows,” Frazier said. “But today we got after it early and we were able to capitalize.”

Ward said focus will continue to be crucial for Center Moriches as they look to make another run to the state tournament.

“We can’t take any teams lightly,” Ward said. “Anyone is capable of anything at this point in the season.”


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