Cold Spring Harbor point guard Thomas Milana has been in halftime locker rooms of championship games, understanding that a lead at the break doesn’t mean much for the outcome of the final score. And he wasn’t going to waste any time with a title on the line.
“My mind was just on winning this game,” Milana said. “Doing everything I can to help my teammates win the game.”
With the Seahawks leading by six points to start the third quarter, the senior opened the second half hitting back-to-back three-pointers. He finished with 11 points as No. 2 Cold Spring Harbor defeated No. 1 Malverne, 56-50, in the boys basketball Nassau B championship at Farmingdale State College Saturday evening. It was the program’s first county title since 1995, and its first Nassau B title in school history, according to Newsday records.
“Thomas is never scared of the moment,” said coach Jason Mercurio. “Any game we play in, he’ll never be scared. He’s a fearless competitor and when he was in eighth grade playing games, I in knew he had that mental toughness, that edge.”
With a roster filled with players overlapping between basketball and Cold Spring Harbor’s Long Island championship football team, the Seahawks hope to keep their championship run going. Next will be a Long Island Class B championship in a state subregional matchup against Center Moriches (17-5) March 6 at Farmingdale State College at 7 p.m.
“I think we have a bunch of winners on this team,” Mercurio said. “They are champions. A lot of them were Long Island champions in football and they have a champion mentality.”
Malverne (18-3) fought back from an 11-point deficit with 5:35 left in the third quarter and tied the score at 47 with 4:52 remaining in the game after D.J. Gaston hit his sixth 3-pointer of the second half. He finished with 24 points to lead all scorers, including 21 in the second half.
But Cold Spring Harbor hit five free throws in the final four minutes, 21 seconds, and ended the game on an 9-3 run for the victory.
“We knew they were going to go on a run,” Milana said. “They’re a great basketball team. But we just had to work it out defensively after that and win the game.”
Aidan Adomaites had 18 points, Kip Dallaris added 11 points and Jack Vavassis had six points for Cold Spring Harbor (19-2).
“It just all came together,” Adomaites said. “We’ve worked so hard as a team all year long. It feels great, but we’re not finish yet. We’re not satisfied with this. We want the rings.”