There were plenty of reasons for senior Mike Frangeskos to have a case of the jitters Wednesday night. It was the first playoff game and final home game of his varsity career. He was on the court with his twin brother, John. His family was in the stands. The gym at Westhampton was jammed and raucous.
"I saw it on his face. He wanted to win so badly. He wasn't nervous at all," Westhampton coach John Baumiller said. "He went out there and . . . bang! That's a senior captain."
Frangeskos scored a career-high 28 points, 19 in the second half, including a clutch three-pointer with 3:23 left, as the No. 4 Hurricanes defeated No. 5 Bayport-Blue Point, 59-52 in a Suffolk Class A quarterfinal game. Westhampton (10-8) will face No. 1 Amityville on Tuesday in a semifinal. The Phantoms finished 12-7.
"I didn't want this to be my last game. I wanted to go out on a good note in my last home game in front of friends and family," Frangeskos said.
From the start, Frangeskos was forced into more of a scoring role because the Phantoms' defense focused on stopping Devonte Dixon, the junior who averages 21 points per game. Dixon was held in check until the final three minutes, when he scored seven points as the Hurricanes pulled away. Frangeskos, who sank all 10 of his free throws, did much of the pulling.
"That's been the theme all year. Most teams double- and triple-team Devonte," Frangeskos said. "So the other guys have to step up."
Frangeskos did the stepping, especially in the fourth quarter. Bayport-Blue Point, behind Connor Panzer (20 points) and Tyler Grosse (17 points) stayed close for much of the contest. Grosse made two free throws to cut Westhampton's lead to 43-41 with 3:48 left.
After a couple of scoreless trips, the Hurricanes started to run their set offense, but Frangeskos found himself wide open on the right wing. He drained the three-pointer for a five-point lead and when Dixon sank a three from the left wing moments later, Westhampton had a 51-43 lead and Frangeskos and his brother John (six points) had their first playoff victory.
"We were ahead by two and I knew we needed a big basket," Frangeskos said of his timely three-pointer. "It's great to win this game with my twin, especially since we are going to different colleges . It's nice to share this moment."