By Rob Potter
WHITE PLAINS March 10, 2006 The most successful boys basketball season in The Family Schools history came to a disappointing end on Wednesday night.
Four days after capturing the Section IX Class D championship by defeating top-seeded Chapel Field, The Family School lost to Long Island-area champion Greenport, 46-35, at the Westchester County Center in White Plains.
The game was close in the early going as Greenport (19-4) held a 13-12 advantage midway through the second quarter. The Porters enjoyed an 18-14 lead at halftime.
However, third period proved to be the key stanza of the contest.
Nine seconds into the quarter, Falcon forward Will Gahan grabbed an offensive rebound and put the ball back up and through the net. The basket pulled The Family School (15-8) to within two points at 18-16.
The Falcons then set up their press defense. Greenport, which was seventh among New York State Class D boys basketball team when the latest New York State Sports Writers Association rankings were released this past Sunday, was able to advance the ball to its end of the court.
A couple of seconds later, Greenport Coach Al Edwards called a timeout to talk over some strategy with his players.
Following that timeout, the Porters went on a 10-0 run during the next three-plus minutes.
Leading that scoring surge for Greenport were senior forward Kyle Charters and freshman guard-forward Ryan Creighton. Charters scored down close to the basket on consecutive possessions to give the Porters a 22-16 lead and Creighton swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key with exactly four minutes left in the quarter. The long-range shot pushed the Greenport advantage to 28-16.
The Family Schools Ben Laufer answered Creightons trey with a 3-point shot of his own at 3:38 to make it an 11-point game.
After a series of turnovers, Creighton completed an old-fashioned 3-pointer by scoring a basket as he was fouled and then making the subsequent free-throw. The play gave the Porters a 31-19 lead with 1:43 remaining in the period.
Creighton made another shot from beyond the 19-foot, 9-inch arc a minute into the fourth quarter, which gave Greenport a 36-20 lead.
On the next Family School possession, Laufer was fouled while taking a shot. The basketball did not fall through the net at that moment, but Laufer made both of his foul shots to make it a 36-22 contest with 6:46 remaining.
To the disappointment of the Family School coaches, players, cheerleaders and fans, Greenport senior guard Matt Duell knocked down a 3-pointer just 20 seconds later to give his team its largest lead of the evening at 39-22.
Senior forward Chris Berra scored with 2:09 left in the game to pull The Family School back to within 11 points (41-30).
But Greenport patiently worked on both the shot clock and game clock on its remaining possessions to ensure its victory. The Porters will play in the Class D quarterfinals tomorrow afternoon at SUNY New Paltz.
Berra swished a 3-pointer as the final buzzer sounded to make the final score 46-35.
Edwards, who is in his 24th year of coaching at Greenport, noted that this is the first time the Suffolk County school has advanced in state tournament competition.
Our guys played a great game tonight, Edwards said. We played great defense, especially in the third quarter. The beginning of the third quarter was key for us.
Creighton led the Porters offense with a game-high 16 points.
Edwards was impressed with The Family School.
They are a well-coached team and very disciplined, he said. They played hard tonight and proved that they belonged here.
Family School Coach Ted Towsley noted that Greenports defense and rebounding were key factors in the games outcome.
We like to set up our offense inside, but their defense forced us to set up our plays from NBA 3-point range, he said. They outrebounded us as well.
And they had that 10-0 run at the beginning of the second half, Towsley added. That was the difference, as we lost by 11.
Laufer, who recorded a team-high 14 points, was the only Falcon to reach double figures. Berra added nine points for The Family School.
The Falcons season may have ended on a sad note, but the good memories will remain for decades.
I told my players that I was very proud of them and they should feel good about themselves, Towsley commented. We had a great season.