Port Jefferson players celebrates their victory over Greenport in the...

Port Jefferson players celebrates their victory over Greenport in the Suffolk Class C final. (Feb. 22, 2011) Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

From the other end of the court, where he had been instructed to stand, Port Jefferson star Terrell Rose yelled to his teammate, Anthony Lanieri, about to step to the foul line, "Knock 'em down!"

Lanieri didn't hear those words of encouragement, nor did he hear the loud, but mixed entreaties from a spirited crowd with divided loyalties at Longwood High School. "I blocked out all the noise. I just looked at the basket, focused, and ignored everything else," the 6-4 junior forward said.

Lanieri hit both ends of a one-and-one with 12 seconds left and when a desperation trey at the buzzer was off the mark, Port Jefferson had a 56-53 victory over Greenport in yesterday's Suffolk Class C championship game.

The Royals (12-7) will play Ross in the Suffolk C-D game at Farmingdale State on Friday and will face Friends Academy in the Long Island Class C title game on March 9 as they try to earn a trip to Glens Falls.

Greenport (18-2) got 17 points from Dantre Langhorne, 15 in the second half. The Porters had beaten Port Jefferson twice in the regular season, but the third time was the harm.

"The third-time thing can be a real problem. You can't really beat a team three times," Royals coach Mike Riley said. Greenport almost did, cutting a 55-44 deficit to 54-53 with a late 9-0 run capped by Langhorne's three-pointer.

Before that, Rose was a thorn in Greenport's side. The 6-2 senior played a terrific all-around game, scoring 23 points, including four treys, grabbing 10 rebounds and adding five assists, five steals and three blocked shots. "I love filling up the boxscore," Rose said. "I'll do whatever it takes to help us win."

Rose and Greg Nielsen (18 points) helped Port Jefferson build a substantial lead that looked safe until Greenport's late flurry. "He's a natural leader with great court savvy," Riley said of Rose. "He's a go-to guy."

Riley told Rose to go to the other end of the court rather than line up for a potential rebound when Lanieri went to the line. "When I made the first one, that relaxed me," said Lanieri, who scored 11 points. "So I was confident for the second one. I knew if I missed, they could've won."

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