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Jeff Park gets to play again, helps Glenn to Suffolk Small School title

KeAndre Augustine of Glenn drives to the net

KeAndre Augustine of Glenn drives to the net defended by Southampton's Israel Johnson during the Suffolk Class ABCD boys basketball final at Ward Melville. Photo Credit: Bob Mitchell

On Tuesday at 3 p.m., crestfallen Glenn players expected to be folding up their shorts and jerseys for the last time and turning them in. But a startling drama has unfolded instead, and the Knights' season continues.

Though the players did not know it, on Tuesday morning Glenn was declared Suffolk Class A champion because Amityville was found to have used an ineligible player in the final seconds of Saturday's 74-73 overtime victory over Glenn, thus forfeiting that game.

"I thought our season was over and that I'd never play high school basketball again," Knights senior point guard Jeff Park said. Instead, Park scored 18 points to lead Class A Glenn to a 61-52 victory over Class B Southampton Wednesday night at Ward Melville in the Suffolk Small School championship game.

The Knights (17-5) advance to the Suffolk overall championship against Class AA qualifier Brentwood at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Whitman. They also face the winner of Saturday's Nassau A title game between Valley Stream South and Hewlett on March 8 at Hofstra for the Long Island championship and a trip to Glens Falls.

Southampton (17-5) faces Nassau B champion Wheatley for the Long Island title on Saturday at Adelphi, with the winner advancing to a state regional final. Shockingly, it is Amityville's season that is over.

"It's an unfortunate circumstance. You don't ever want to see something like that happen," Glenn coach Charly Rogener said. "It's unfortunate for every kid involved -- obviously, for Amityville, but also for our kids having to get back into it."

After a hastily called practice on Tuesday, the Knights looked sluggish early and trailed 15-11 after one. But the backcourt tandem of Park and sophomore KeAndre Augustine (12 points) sparked a 21-point second quarter and a 32-25 halftime lead. Glenn extended the advantage to 41-29 in the third quarter and the Mariners, who were led by Nasies Fulford (16 points) and Shaundell Fishburne (13), never got closer than five.

"After the shock, it was tough getting into it at first," Park said. "But we got back in the flow in the second half."

Rogener called his senior leadership of tri-captains Park, Darryl Daniels (14 points) and Paul Wesnofske (nine points) "unbelievable. They got everybody ready to go."

That wasn't easy after it appeared Glenn's season had ended on Saturday at Farmingdale State. Rogener said he learned about the Amityville forfeit Tuesday morning and waited until after school to inform his players.

Asked if he believed Glenn's accomplishments going forward might be considered tainted, Rogener replied, "I haven't thought about it that way and I'm going to try not to think about it that way. I'm going to keep it in perspective for my kids. There's nothing we can do about it. We left it in the hands of Section XI and Section XI came back with that decision. We just have to go with the hand that was dealt to us."

As Park said, "Second chances don't come often and we want to make the most of it."

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