Port Jefferson's dream season ends in state regional final
Port Jefferson’s coaches will remember how their seniors carried themselves on and off the court during their time in a purple and white uniform.
That time ended on Saturday night at Farmingdale State. The Suffolk Class C champion Royals fell to defending state champion Millbrook, 61-30, in the state regionals.
Amy Whitman (11 points) made three three-pointers in the third quarter, and Alexa Ayotte totaled 10 points for Port Jefferson (18-4).
Whitman, Ayotte and Lola Idir (six points), all seniors, combined for 27 of Port Jefferson’s 30 points in their final game with the Royals.
Jesse Rosen and Keith Buehler, who co-coach Port Jefferson, said the seniors are role models for the underclassmen.
“Our seniors in particular have done such an unbelievable job of exemplifying what it means to be a student-athlete,” Rosen said. “I’m just so proud of them.”
Port Jefferson won 17 consecutive games this season after starting the season 1-2. The Royals went 12-0 in Suffolk’s League V and earned their fourth straight county crown.
Millbrook prevented the Royals from chasing their first state championship. Emily Grassler and Ella Wilson each scored 16 points for the Class C champions from Section IX. Four Millbrook players had double-digit points.
“Props to them, they did a really nice job utilizing their weapons,” Rosen said. “The weapons are there, but you got to be able to use them, and they certainly did.”
The Royals missed their first seven shots, and Millbrook opened a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Idir scored Port Jefferson’s first points on a three-pointer with 3:24 left in the opening quarter.
Millbrook sprang a 7-0 run to start the second quarter and took a 31-15 lead into halftime.
After Ayotte scored, and Whitman drilled a three-pointer on Port Jefferson’s next possession to start the second half, Millbrook went on an 11-0 run and carried a 21-point advantage into the fourth quarter.
The Royals cycled their offense through Ayotte at the top of the key, inside Millbrook’s zone defense. Ayotte quarterbacked Port Jefferson’s ball movement, weaving through Millbrook’s size and reach advantage.
Said Rosen: “Offensively, just the rotation of the basketball is how we figured we would try to negate their size down low.”