Oyster Bay will play for its first county title since 2006.
The No. 1 Baymen defeated No. 4 Malverne, 75-54, in a Nassau Class B boys basketball semifinal Saturday at LIU Post.
No. 3 Wheatley, which ousted No. 2 Carle Place 56-17, awaits in Thursday’s final.
“We haven’t been in this spot, in the driver’s seat like this, in a long time,” said coach Brian Boyle, whose Baymen last appeared in the county championship in 2013. “We’ll be ready.”
The Baymen (11-9) used a 22-8 run to start the second half to turn a 30-25 halftime lead into a 52-33 advantage. Malverne (2-16) had kept the game close as Oyster Bay’s Leo Barretto (20 points) and Mike Bizzoso (16) sat for long stretches in the first half because of foul trouble, but with both players on the floor, the Baymen pushed the pace and executed in transition and the halfocurt.
“Leo and Mike are big,” said Robert Howes, who had 17 points and four assists. “They’re one of the biggest scoring parts, rebounding parts, passing parts on our team, so once we got them back in the game, it got us all going.”
Boyle said Barretto’s aggressive defensive mentality has led to foul trouble at times this year.
“We’ve played without Leo in a lot of games because he has foul trouble, so the team is used to it,” Boyle said.
And from having other opportunities to watch his teammates take charge, Barretto knew Oyster Bay could weather the storm without him.
“I knew my teammates would back me up all the way because I know I could trust them all the time,” he said.
That trust has developed over the last six years, since Barretto and the senior class began playing together in seventh grade. Now they are here, counting down the days until the final.
“I’m just really excited because this is our first championship game (as a group),” Barretto said. “I can’t wait to play and have a chance to win that county.”