Put a check next to the first goal.
Kings Park walked into West Babylon’s gym Wednesday night and dominated, claiming a 62-28 win. So the defending Suffolk Class A boys basketball champion improved to 7-1 in Suffolk III, clinching another ticket to the playoffs.
“We’ve had some really good success recently,” coach Chris Rube said. “Every year, people say, ‘Championship this year?’ I say, ‘No, you’ve got to qualify for the playoffs.’ You can’t skip steps to success. I tell them, “We’ve got one goal. Playoffs. That’s it.’
“Now, we accomplished it. New goal. We want double-digit league wins. And if we achieve that, then we’ll set a new goal.”
If they keep playing like this, they will eventually be setting a goal to repeat.
The Kingsmen are 9-5 overall, having won eight of 10 after a 1-3 start. This time, Matty Garside scored 20 points, including career No. 1,000. Thomas Matonti added 18 on six threes.
“We’ve shown in spurts how good we can be, but we weren’t consistent enough to put it together for a whole game,” Rube said. “I think you saw tonight from start to finish our intensity was there, our discipline was there and our execution was there, too.”
Their lead sat at 14-9 heading for the second quarter after Garside, an All-Long Island first-team guard as a junior, buried three three-pointers.
Then Kings Park delivered eight minutes of brilliance, outscoring the Eagles 22-7 for a 36-16 advantage at halftime. Matonti put on a shooting show in a 1:40 span. The junior combo guard nailed three straight left-side shots from beyond the arc.
“We were playing as a cohesive unit, which really allowed me to get in the zone,” Matonti said.
Garside made a free throw 53 seconds into the third for his 15th point — aka No. 1,000.
“It’s definitely an achievement,” Garside said. “But it’s just a testament to all the people that have supported me throughout the years, coaches, parents. My brother (Jack) has been a big help.”
Thomas Raccomandato topped the Eagles (10-3, 7-2) with nine points and Bobby Schwartz grabbed 13 rebounds. The team needs one win for a playoff berth.
“We’ve played great all year,” coach Tim Lynch said. “We’ve played hard all year. Obviously, tonight we didn’t do the things we wanted to do. But I still have a lot of confidence in this group.”