Vasilis Triantafyllou had 10 points in the fourth quarter and...

Vasilis Triantafyllou had 10 points in the fourth quarter and also grabbed 13 rebounds for North Shore on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Credit: James Escher

North Shore has never been able to call itself a Nassau champion in boys basketball, a fact that isn’t lost on the current version of the Vikings.

“We’ve talked about it,” said Vasilis Triantafyllou, their standout senior forward. “We’ve seen it on our banners. It’s a very empty banner.”

They’re now going to get a shot at listing a county championship on that banner. But they will have to cool the hottest team in the county to make it happen.

Triantafyllou delivered 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, and second-seeded North Shore came away with a 47-39 win over No. 6 Cold Spring Harbor in a Nassau Class A semifinal on Wednesday night at Farmingdale State.

“We’ve been working toward this all season,” said Triantafyllou, who also grabbed 13 rebounds. “It was our goal. And hopefully we can finish it off with a championship.”

They will face No. 1 Friends Academy, the winner of 16 straight games, including Wednesday night’s other semifinal against No. 5 Floral Park. The Vikings (18-4) and the Quakers (18-4) will meet at Farmingdale State at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday.

The teams played twice during the regular season.

The Vikings lost at Friends Academy, 62-42, on Jan. 11.

And they lost in the rematch at North Shore, 68-50, on Feb. 2.

“Yeah, but I think we have a good chance this time,” Triantafyllou said.

The Seahawks led by as many as six twice in the first half, but this was mostly a close game until the final minute.

Nate Grossman nailed consecutive threes to cap his 14-point night and give Cold Spring Harbor a 36-35 edge with 4:49 left in the fourth.

Then Triantafyllou made a layup to give the Vikings a one-point lead and followed with a straight-on three. But Cole Newman cut the margin down to one with a three. It was 40-39 with 2:59 to go.

Triantafyllou blocked a shot and Lucas Schimsky, who scored 13, then hit a jumper in the lane for a three-point lead with 1:17 on the clock.

Damon Merazzi knocked down a three from the right corner for North Shore with about 49 seconds remaining to double the advantage. Triantafyllou sank two free throws at the 24.3 mark to make it an eight-point game.

“They hit big shots,” Cold Spring Harbor coach Jason Mercurio said. “Their best guy made the plays down the stretch and we didn’t make the plays down the stretch to win the game. It’s disappointing for sure. We were right there.”

The Seahawks led 13-9 after the first quarter ahead and were up 21-20 at the intermission. North Shore came out of the third with a 31-28 advantage and ultimately left Cold Spring Harbor with a record of 14-9.

“It was a positive season for us,” Mercurio said. “We had four sophomores and a freshman that were starting, so the kids did a great job. We were a really young team and we grew a lot this year, and hopefully next year we’ll be able to grow from this experience.”

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