Sachem North Boys Basketball Coach Tom Mullee felt confident after last night's 54-51 victory at home against William Floyd, and why shouldn't he?
After all, the team defeated a solid contender and the reigning Class AA County Champions to pull within one game of .500 against league opponents. And it was how they secured the victory that made Mullee particularly pleased. Sachem North trailed by as many as 11 points and were behind most of the game. In the end, North's perseverence won out.
"I always tell my guys that most teams in Suffolk County are around the same, and the team that thinks they’re going to win, wins," Mullee said. "[The win] can only make us a more confident team and get us to where we really expect to win."
Floyd got off to a fast start by anyone's standards, dropping three-pointers as if they were layups, and shooting high percentages from the field. The tandem of Devin Burney and Elijah Rios led the scoring for Floyd with 19 and 12 points, respectively. But after that 26-point onslaught in the first quarter, Floyd would only score 25 more points for the remainder of the game. Sachem North, however, kept the scoring consistent, with 15 in the first, 13 in the second, 15 in the third and 11 in the final frame.
Senior Brendan Chetuck carried the day for the Flaming Arrows, with 22 points, including the basket that put them up for good at 52-51 with 18 seconds left.
"Chetuk is a three-year player for us and now he’s a senior, and he’s just figured it out," Mullee said. "He’s figured out that ‘hey, it’s my senior year and I’m not gonna have any regrets whatsoever. He really single-handedly carried us today."
Also scoring for Sachem North was James Vassford(11), Danny Urbanski(7) Nick Morena(5), Malik Pierre(5) and Matt Ward(4).
Looking forward, Mullee said the team will play at Brentwood High School, another tough challenge, but with the victory over Floyd, the Flaming Arrows can reach for the 7-7 record required to make the playoffs.
"When you work hard and you hang in there together as a team,
good things happen," Mullee planned to tell his team. "Our backs were against the wall, and we were able to get a win against a very good team. We’re 2-3 now [in league play] and we’re back in the mix.”