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Larry Baker, Justin Vines lead Wantagh to win over Plainedge

Wantagh's Larry Baker, left, battles Plainedge's Steve McCartney

Wantagh's Larry Baker, left, battles Plainedge's Steve McCartney during a Nassau Conference A-III varsity wrestling dual meet at Wantagh on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Photo Credit: James Escher

It took 33 minutes of bout time and five decisions for the Plainedge wrestling team's higher weights to open up a formidable lead over rival Wantagh in its Nassau Conference A-III dual meet Wednesday night.

But then it took only a total of 4:14 and four bouts for Wantagh to turn things around en route to its 39-27 victory.

Buoyed by its strong crop of young, yet experienced lightweights, Wantagh (14-2, 1-0) roared back to grab a 30-15 lead and hold on in front of a raucous crowd of supporters.

"It's all about bonus points," Wantagh coach Paul Gillespie said. "You have to look for the pins and that's what we did at the light weights. We have some of the best lightweights in the county and I expected them to perform."

Plainedge (11-2, 0-1) jumped out to a 12-0 lead before Larry Baker of Wantagh got a quick reversal after being taken down and turned it into a pin at 220.

Justin Vines came out at 99 and used his speed and athleticism to secure a takedown, which he turned into a pin in just 44 seconds.

Freshman Jonathan Loew, a runner-up in last year's county championships as an eighth- grader, needed just 47 seconds to secure his pin at 106. Jonathan DeRidder was awarded a forfeit victory at 113 and 2013 state champion Kyle Quinn secured a pin in 2:43 at 120 pounds.

"We knew we had to score," Loew said. "It's a team effort, though, because we knew we couldn't give up bonus points. We were just looking to not give up the extra points at the heavier weights so the [Baker pin] was huge for us."

Though Plainedge rallied back and could have won the meet with a pin in the final bout at 152, Andrew Eget of Wantagh picked up a pin of his own in 5:20 to end the meet.

"We really needed the points to get us back into the match," Quinn said. "It was close but once we took the lead we knew it was going to be over."

Wantagh's win could go a long way toward deciding the top seed for the county dual meet championship at the end of the season.

Gillespie has his team focused on the postseason.

"We said, 'This was a great win,' but then we have to forget about it and move forward because the end of the year is what matters and I keep stressing that to the kids," he said. "Every match and tough spot we're in, and we win, is great but we have to do it again at the end."


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