The slogan of the day, posted on the board in the Bay Shore locker room read, “If you’re not talking, you’re not playing defense.”
The Marauders did plenty of talking and played plenty of defense in coasting to a 74-31 season-opening victory over visiting Centereach Tuesday night in a non-league boys basketball game.
“Get out and chase. If you don’t defend, you don’t play,” Bay Shore coach C.J. Leary said, uttering another of his slogans. “That’s our M.O. That’s who we are.”
The Marauders had steals, turnovers and points aplenty in breaking open the game with a 17-3 first-quarter advantage. A 26-point third quarter allowed Leary to clear his bench early with a 60-18 lead after three.
Swift point guard Kyree Sawyer led the way with 14 points, six assists, five steals and five rebounds. The Rivera twins also filled up the stat sheet. Jose had 14 points, four rebounds and four steals while Angel had 13 points and six steals.
Jose Rivera’s blocked shot and feed to Angel for a layup triggered a 13-0 burst that carried into the second quarter and gave the Marauders a 20-6 lead that kept growing all night. Angel Rivera also scored on another feed from his brother during the spurt while Sawyer contributed a pullup jumper and three-point play off a drive.
Sawyer had a big third quarter with three dribble-drive layups, one resulting in a three-point play. Jose Rivera had a breakaway dunk in the period and fed his brother for a layup after a steal. Centereach point guard Jon Agostino, son of former Amityville coach Jack Agostino, scored his team’s first eight points and finished with 14. The Cougars are 0-2.
“Five on a string,” is how Leary characterized the perpetual motion, man-to-man defense that frequently employed a devastating trap Tuesday night. “It’s straight-up man-to-man. We try to outwork every team we play,” Leary said.
The former Marauder star player, in his second year as head coach, hopes the frenetic, disruptive style will help offset the team’s lack of height and create enough turnovers that lead to easy baskets in transition. “Our offense is basically get it and go,” Leary said. “We want to create tempo. Our best offense is our defense.”
Even though Angel Rivera was the steals leader in the opener, Leary said that Jose Rivera and Anthony Simpson “are our best on-ball defenders. Angel likes to float and jump the passing lanes.”
Those passing lanes were crowded Tuesday night.