After a poor game against Glenn in the first round of the playoffs, Southampton forward Micah Snowden got so angry, he asked to stay after school.
“I love it when a player gets angry and approaches you. It says a lot about him,” Mariners coach Herm Lamison said.
So Lamison spent two days — an hour and a half each day, including a Sunday — alone in a gym with Snowden. “We worked on low-post moves, positioning and shooting free throws,” Lamison said.
Snowden learned his lessons well. You could say he gave a Grade A performance Friday night. The 6-3 sophomore scored 26 points, went 8-for-8 on free throws in the fourth quarter and was a dominant low-post presence as Southampton defeated Wyandanch, 93-80, in an entertaining shooting match that decided the Suffolk Class A boys basketball championship before an overflow crowd of more than 1,100 at Suffolk CCC-Selden.
“I was able to get position, feel where the defender was and I’d either score or get fouled,” said Snowden, whose team scored 60 points in the second half. “It was there all night. Class A was a big leap for us.”
That’s because the Mariners had won the previous three Class B titles before moving up this season — to the head of the class.
Four other Mariners also scored in double figures. Elijah Wingfield netted 19, Aaron Krzyzewski had 18, Andre Franklin came off the bench to score 14 of his 16 in the second half and Timmy Alejo added 11.
Southampton (19-2) advanced to the Suffolk Small School championship game against Center Moriches at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Suffolk CCC-Brentwood. The Mariners also advanced to the Long Island Class A/state regional final against the Nassau Class A champion at 11 a.m. March 12 at Stony Brook University.
Wyandanch (16-7) was led by Long Island’s leading scorer, Kashawn Charles, who made seven three-pointers on his way to a 31-point performance in his final high school game. His downtown shooting helped the Warriors build a 41-33 halftime lead, and he nailed back-to-back three-pointers from well beyond the arc in the third quarter as Wyandanch desperately tried to hold off the fast-breaking Mariners.
When Snowden got position down low and turned for a bank shot, it triggered an 11-0 run that put Southampton ahead for good at 62-54. Franklin sliced down the lane for a layup and drained his second three-pointer of the quarter to highlight the surge. “My role is to give the team energy and light it up,” Franklin said. “When my first two threes went in, I thought the game was ours.”
Lamison said Franklin could be a starter, “but he accepted his role. That’s what we need — for him to come off the bench and score the ball.”
Wyandanch fouled frequently, trying to slow down Southampton, but that tactic failed as the Mariners made 21 of 24 free throws in the final quarter.
“We came out hungry in the second half,” Snowden said.
And he had a feast in the low blocks.