BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The Center Moriches boys basketball team couldn’t find its rhythm Friday afternoon, and the
Red Devils’ season ended with an 80-68 loss to Lowville (Central New York) in a state Class B semifinal at Maines Arena.
“We had opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on, and [Lowville] made us pay,” Center Moriches coach Nick Thomas said. “They were a good team, they made shots, they moved the ball well, and we knew that coming in.”
Center Moriches (21-6) trailed by five points at halftime, and Red Devils senior Micah Snowden said the team was confident going into the third quarter.
“Coach always tells us that it’s about who wins the first few minutes of the third,” said Snowden (26 points, 15 rebounds). “Whoever does that is going to win the game.”
Unfortunately for Center Moriches, Lowville (22-2) set the tone of the third quarter, taking a 49-39 lead with 4:03 left in the period.
“We weren’t playing defense as a team,” Snowden said. “[Lowville] attacked the basket really, really well and it hurt us.”
Lowville prevented the Red Devils from bringing the pressure they’ve prided themselves on all season. The Red Raiders shot 6-for-9 from three-point range in the third quarter and brought a 12-point lead into the fourth, although Tyiquon Nix’s three-pointer with 1:45 left brought Center Moriches within 69-62.
“That was their identity, in terms of being a perimeter-oriented team,” Thomas said. “They had a natural feel for moving the ball and they had a good system in place that got them here.”
Lowville shot 56.4 percent from the field. Center Moriches shot 30-for-79 overall, including 6-for-24 from three-point range, and missed a handful of putback chances.
“Their guys stepped up and it was tough to catch that momentum,” Thomas said. “I thought we’d be able to negate their perimeter strength with our strength inside today. It wasn’t our day.”
Last month, Center Moriches became the first school outside the top two enrollment classifications to win the overall Suffolk title, beating Class AA champion Brentwood. Thomas was quick to point out everything his team accomplished this season and said he knows he’ll be able to remember the year with pride.
“I love looking back and I know I will because it shows everything my kids did and the effort they put in,” Thomas said. “Today I thought we were really good, but we needed to be at our best. We came up a little short.”