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Pandolfi's 'D' helps Stony Brook win first LI title

Stony Brook's Tim Pandolfi reacts to the victory

Stony Brook's Tim Pandolfi reacts to the victory over Friends Academy. (March 9, 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday/Photo By Patrick E. McCarthy

The last words spoken among the Stony Brook boys basketball team during its final timeout were, not surprisingly, defensive-minded in what had been a low-scoring game. "Get a stop," more than one player said as the Bears nursed a three-point lead on Friends Academy with a little more than a minute left in the fourth quarter of last night's Long Island Class C final.

Tim Pandolfi obliged with a defensive finish Stony Brook needed. The junior guard, who also led on offense with 16 points, came up with a steal near the three-point line on the possession coming out of the timeout and cruised the other way for a layup to make it a five-point lead with 48 seconds remaining.

From there, Pandolfi and Logan Vimont made a pair of free throws and Stony Brook beat Friends, 35-29, to win its first Long Island boys basketball championship in program history at Bay Shore.

"We weren't getting a lot of points on offense," said Pandolfi, who with Vimont (12 points, nine rebounds) were the Bears' only double-digit scorers. "A steal really helped. It always starts on the defensive end and everything else will come."

Including another game to play. Stony Brook (14-4) advanced to the state Southeast Regional final at Pace University on Friday, where it will play the winner of Westchester's Blind Brook and Orange County's S.S. Seward at 4:45 p.m. The winner of that goes to the state Class C semifinals in Glens Falls on March 19.

"It was a defensive-oriented game, but that's OK," Stony Brook coach Michael Hickey said. "I don't care if we win, 2-1. We played well. There were times when we mishandled the ball a little bit, but I was pleased defensively."

Stony Brook held Friends (12-7) to the same amount of first-half points - 12 - that Pandolfi scored in the first two quarters. The Bears led by 10 at the half, and even after going without a field goal in the first six minutes of the third quarter, still led 25-17 at the start of the fourth.

Friends, led by T.J. Hefele's 12 points, made a push to pull within 29-26 with 2:05 left. But coming out of that final timeout, Pandolfi found the ball in his hands with a clear lane to the basket.

"Who better to have?" Hickey said of his leading scorer. "He's a speed demon and dropped it in. That gave us some breathing room."

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