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Joey Harclerode, P.J. Gunther spark Sayville to big win

Sayville's Joey Harclerode moves the ball in the

Sayville's Joey Harclerode moves the ball in the fourth quarter against Harborfields on Thursday, Jan 26, 2017 at Harborfields High School. Credit: Bob Sorensen

For Sayville’s Joey Harclerode, getting his outside shot to fall was a struggle all night. And once he picked up his third foul early in the third quarter, driving to the basket had its own perils. But when the 6-5 senior forward drilled a long three-pointer in the final seconds of the third period Thursday night, all was right in his world.

“At the end of the third quarter, I knew we had it,” Harclerode said of the shot that gave him nine straight points as part of a 20-0 explosion that launched Sayville to a stunning 62-46 victory over host Harborfields, which had been the only unbeaten team in Suffolk V.

“I think it’s been 10 years since we’ve beaten Harborfields,” Sayville coach Lou Lowe said of a victory that improved his Golden Flashes to 7-3 and dropped the Tornados to 9-1. “I have tremendous respect for their program, and beating them means the world to us.”

Harclerode scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half and grabbed 13 rebounds. P.J. Gunther hit five three-pointers and scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half as Sayville built a 32-22 lead. Joey Mas added 13 points and his brother Jesse had 12.

“I knew they’d focus on other guys,” Gunther said, “so I knew I’d have opportunities to score. My confidence was up after I hit my first one and they just kept falling.”

Gunther drained three from downtown in the first quarter, utilizing a quick, no-hesitation release. “I like to catch and shoot in rhythm,” he said. “I don’t even take a dribble, I just let it go.”

Gunther managed only a late breakaway layup in the second half, but he had done his job. “P.J. carried us on his back in the first half,” Lowe said. “We’re a good shooting team and he got us going. We played terrific defense — tough man-to-man on the ball and pushed them to their off hands.”

Sayville, which led 54-28 after its dazzling 20-0 burst, got to the basket or got to the foul line, hitting 22 of 28 free throws. “We shoot 75 percent as a team,” Lowe said, “and we did better than that tonight.”

Harclerode managed only three field goals but was 13-for-16 from the foul line.

“We’ve lost to Harborfields countless times, including the playoffs last year, so this is my favorite win ever,” he said. “To beat them on their home court is really special.”

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