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Grippo brothers, G.Q. and Colin, lift Connetquot in overtime

Connetquot's G.Q. Grippo, left, Jake Piccininni, center, and

Connetquot's G.Q. Grippo, left, Jake Piccininni, center, and Jack Richardson celebrate Grippo's winning goal in overtime during Suffolk semifinal playoff against Smithtown East at Dowling Sports Complex. Credit: Bob Sorensen

When Colin Grippo raced down the field in overtime, his brother, G.Q., thought he knew just what to expect. “He usually shoots it,’’ G.Q. said. “I don’t know why he didn’t.”

Colin, the older, big brother, passed up a shooting opportunity and went behind the cage. There, he knew just what to expect. “I’m always looking for him,” he said of his younger brother. “He’s always got my back.”

G.Q., a sophomore, took a feed from Colin, a senior, and scored 1:24 into overtime to give No. 3 Connetquot a 13-12 win over No. 2 Smithtown East in a Suffolk A semifinal yesterday at the Dowling Sports Complex in Shirley. Connetquot made up a four-goal deficit in the fourth quarter.

G.Q. scored four goals, and Colin had two goals and three assists. It’s not the first time the two have teamed up for a score during their varsity careers. “But it’s definitely the biggest one,” Colin said.

The dramatic victory dethroned two-time defending county champion Smithtown East (14-3) and moved Connetquot (16-2) into the Suffolk A final Wednesday at Stony Brook at 8 p.m. against Ward Melville.

It didn’t look like the Thunderbirds would continue their championship drive when they trailed 11-7 entering the fourth quarter. Especially since the Bulls’ Gerard Arceri won 24 of 29 faceoffs, including all 13 in the second half. But having played nine other one-goal games, including four in overtime, they were unfazed by their predicament.

“We’ve been in this situation before,” Colin Grippo said. “It’s a matter of heart, and we’ve got that.”

Connetquot’s rally featured three goals in 2:59 — by George Wichelns (two goals, three assists), G.Q. Grippo and Jake Piccininni (two goals). Luke Esch bach answered for Smithtown East with his fifth goal on Connor Desimone’s fifth assist with 4:17 left.

But Wichelns scored unassisted with 2:33 left and G.Q. Grippo picked up a rebound in front and tied it with 28.2 seconds left in regulation. Arceri got the ball back for the Bulls, but Bobby Burns’ shot rang off the pipe and it was on to OT. Arceri won the overtime faceoff cleanly, but Dan Lewis forced a turnover and made the outlet pass to Colin Grippo.

“I thought he was going to go to the cage, but he went behind and found G.Q.,” Connetquot coach Brett Jeffares said. “It was a good look.”

Just a couple of brothers playing nicely and sharing.

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