NORTHPORT, New York, Jan. 22
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
The crowd was cheering, plenty of photos were being taken, starting lineups were announced over the loudspeakers – but even as the Tigers of Northport played from behind to start the fourth quarter during the annual “Coaches vs. Cancer” game on Jan. 15, they never once lost their composure.
“Our guys are used to it; they embrace the atmosphere of that game,” Head Coach Andrew D’Eloia after the Tigers defeated Walt Whitman, 51-44. “We were able to play very, very good defense and that took Whitman out of their rhythm.”
Good defense and clutch foul shooting, D’Eloia added. Northport’s Sean O’Shea contributed 13 points in the win, but four of those points came in the fourth quarter off free throws that ultimately sealed the game in favor of the Tigers.
Lukas Jarrett, a junior, led Northport in scoring with 14 points of his own, along with 10 rebounds, for his fourth double-double this season. Junior Brennan Whelan was the final Tiger to crack double-digits with 10 points in the win.
“We always play as a team,” D’Eloia said. “We share the ball; we’re just unselfish.”
Whelan, a guard, was key in that distribution as he added 6 assists to go along with his scoring.
“Brennan did a nice job of controlling the pressure of Whitman’s defense,” D’Eloia said.
For Northport, the crowd, the coach said, also played a big part in helping the Tigers (5-2) overcome a 37-36 lead by Whitman (3-4) to start the final quarter. The annual “Coaches vs. Cancer” game saw plenty of fans come out and support the Tigers, with virtually every seat on Northport’s sideline filled.
“This game always brings the community together for a great cause,” D’Eloia said. “Northport is a really special place, and this game shows what that’s all about.”
Moving forward the Tigers were to travel to division-rival Connetquot (3-4) after press time on Tuesday. In the meantime, D’Eloia said, the Tigers would be hard at work during practice to iron out some kinks.
“We just want to keep working on our defense and defensive rebounding,” he said. “Keep getting better every day, that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Prior to the Connetquot game, the Tigers needed just two wins to qualify for this year’s Suffolk County AA playoffs. Northport takes on Half Hollow Hills East (5-2) tonight. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Northport High School.
Originally published: Long Islander News: The Record
(Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015; A27)