South Side's Josh Garelle, center, and James Murphy, right, battle...

South Side's Josh Garelle, center, and James Murphy, right, battle for a rebound against Irondequoit's Kenyen Lovett during a NYSPHSAA Class A Boys Basketball Championship semifinal in Glens Falls, N.Y., Friday. Credit: Adrian Kraus

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. — What’s it like to lose? South Side’s boys basketball team surely would have had to strain to remember that sour feeling.

After dropping the opener at Port Washington, the Cyclones claimed 24 straight games and brought that streak into the NYSPHSAA Class A semifinals Friday night at Cool Insuring Arena.

But the Long Island champs finally experienced that losing feeling again after scoring just eight points and allowing 31 in the second half against Section V winner Irondequoit.

Senior guard Ryan Heath went off for 18 of his 19 points against them after the intermission as the Rochester-based Eagles walked off with a 50-29 victory over the Cyclones.

“It’s been three months and seven days since the last time we lost,” coach Jerry D’Angelo said. “This is a very, very good Irondequoit team. There’s no shame losing to them. We played hard. We just didn’t have our best offensive game.”

They shot just 3-for-16 in the second half after going 8-for-15 in the first half. But they also made nine of their 16 turnovers over the first 16 minutes. Josh Garelle and Patrick Mullin led them with nine points apiece, and James Murphy added seven.

“We were getting the shots we wanted; they just weren’t going in,” Murphy said. “We didn’t do anything wrong.”

“You’ve got to be proud of everyone,” the senior guard added. “… We can’t be too mad. Disappointed. But we worked so hard. It’s sad.”

On the other side, there was joy. The 22-4 Eagles advanced to the championship game at 8:45 Saturday night here against Section I champ Tappan Zee. They will chase their first state title since 2017.

“They’re just the greatest group of young men, as great as we've ever coached,” said Irondequoit coach Chris Cardon, who’s retiring from the job after 37 years when this run is over.

Cardon put forth a plan at halftime with the Cyclones leading 21-19.

“They’re tough to play against in the half-court, which they showed in the first half,” Cardon said. “I just told our guys, “You’ve got to continue to get the first rebound and then let’s try to run. Let’s see if we can run.’ And then we got running and we got a couple of easier baskets, and it opened up other things.”

They outscored South Side, 15-3, in the third quarter. Heath had a hand in their final 10 points — steal leading to Xavier Gissendanner’s dunk; layup, tip-in; floater; floater right before the buzzer, making it 34-24.

“We did a good job [on Heath] in the first half,” D’Angelo said. “He came alive in the second half.”

The cushion continued to expand. The largest lead was the final lead.

So the Cyclones returned to Rockville Centre at 24-2.

“It was a very special season for us,” D’Angelo said, “We put a lot of time and effort in the offseason to get us to what we thought we could be, a state-level team.”

This state-level team will be losing three key elements — Garelle, Murphy and Robert Pericolosi.

“My three senior captains have led us every game in so many ways, shape and form,” D’Angelo said. “We have six seniors on this team who did a really good job of being kind of big brothers, role models to the rest of the team.”

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