Bay Shore guard Carter Wilson takes the steal in for...

Bay Shore guard Carter Wilson takes the steal in for two points against Commack in the Suffolk Class AAA semifinals, Wednesday, February 28, 2024. Credit: George A Faella

Survive and advance is the name of the game.

The undefeated, top-seeded Bay Shore boys basketball team saw its 13-point third-quarter lead over No. 4 Commack turn into a tie score with 4:05 remaining. A Niall Haughney layup gave Bay Shore a two-point lead with 3:49 left, which it held until 20.1 seconds remained as Nick Waga tied it with two free throws.

With the ball and a chance to take the lead, Carter Wilson drove into the lane. Wilson dumped it to Haughney, whose layup was blocked by Evan Kay. Right there for the offensive rebound, though, was Wilson.

“The play call was just make the right play, trusting my teammates,” Wilson said. “I trusted Niall with the layup — it might have been a no-call, whatever happens happens — and then I was just there for the rebound.”

Wilson caught the ball underneath the rim, went up with his right hand and banked in the go-ahead layup with 1.4 seconds remaining. The ensuing Commack pass was intercepted by Khamari Broomfield, putting the finishing touches on a 49-47 Bay Shore win over Commack in the Suffolk Class AAA semifinals Wednesday at Longwood.

“That’s a classic example of a team that you play three times,” Bay Shore coach Ken Parham said. “They’re well-coached, they know what we’re doing, we know what they’re doing, and it comes down to that.”

In their two regular-season Suffolk League II meetings, Bay Shore won by 28 at home on Dec. 20 and by six at Commack on Jan. 29.

“I give a lot of credit to how hard Commack played and how coach (Peter) Smith had them ready,” Parham added.

Wilson finished with 12 points, including the winning bucket, six rebounds and five assists. Christian Smiley had 16 points, nine rebounds and five blocks for Bay Shore (22-0).

Bay Shore will meet Floyd (22-0) in the county championship at 5 p.m. Saturday at Longwood, setting up a long-awaited meeting between the two best large school teams in Suffolk.

“Great experience,” Wilson said of the championship matchup. “Floyd’s a great team, and it’s gonna come down to Xs and Os and who plays harder.”

Bay Shore took a 33-24 lead into halftime, powered by Smiley’s 12 and Wilson’s 10 first-half points.

Commack (16-6) held Bay Shore scoreless for the next 3:35 after the Marauders built a 13-point lead, cutting its deficit to 39-35. Waga had 15 points and Luke Cecere had 10 points — all in the second half — for the Cougars.

Bay Shore can claim its first county title since 2004 on Saturday.

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