Smithtown Christian guard Nehemiah Yuen hits the three point shot...

Smithtown Christian guard Nehemiah Yuen hits the three point shot against Chapel Field in the Long Island/Southeast region Class D finals, Monday, March 4, 2024 at Center Moriches high school. Credit: George A Faella

The Smithtown Christian boys basketball team is one win away from making its first trip to Glens Falls for the state semifinals.

The Suffolk champion Knights put on a clinic Monday, allowing a season-low point total in a 56-27 win over Section IX champion Chapel Field Christian (Pine Bush) in a Class D regional semifinal at Center Moriches High School.

Nehemiah Yuen scored 19 points, hitting four three-pointers, and Isaiah McCarter dominated down low with 17 points.

“The whole idea that we had for this game was just defense — defensive intensity, defensive effort,” Smithtown Christian coach Daniel Skaritka said. “They had two pretty good scorers. We wanted to keep them in check most of the game and I think we did a pretty good job with them.

“I don’t know what we held them to in the first three quarters, but I know our defensive game plan worked and I’m really proud of it.”

Smithtown Christian (18-4) allowed only 16 points in the first three quarters — six in the first, six in the second and four in the third.

“Honestly, I got to say that we executed perfectly,” McCarter said. “This is the best defense we’ve ever played. We held them to 27 points and I’m proud of my guys.”

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“It’s mainly just how the game starts,” Yuen added. “We had to set that tempo from the beginning and I think we all played well defensively. Defense wins games.”

Smithtown Christian will play the winner of Section I champion Greenburgh-North Castle and Section IV champion South Kortright Central in the regional final on Saturday at 10 a.m. at a Long Island location yet to be announced.

Jonah McDuffie scored 20 points for Chapel Field (11-7), last year’s runner-up in Class D.

Smithtown Christian held an 8-6 lead with 2:53 left in the first quarter before going on a 14-0 run between the first and second quarters. The Knights used a 9-0 run to go up 31-8 with 3:25 left in the first half and led 34-12 at halftime.

They had a 14-0 run lasting more than seven minutes between the second and third quarters to go ahead 47-12.

The Knights won the 2020 Suffolk Class D title, but the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly ended their season after a regional semifinal win. Alumni from that team celebrated in the locker room on Monday, and this year’s group looks to complete the unfinished business.

“It would mean the absolute world, but job’s not finished,” Yuen said. “We got a lot of work to do. I’m not satisfied with this.”

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