Memorable Mondays: Cinderella stories
Welcome to MSGVarsity.com's Memorable Mondays, a summer-long series that looks back on the top players, games and moments from the past season and gazes ahead to 2012-13. As the summer goes on, we'll compile all the lists and post them here: www.msgvarsity.com/mondays. New lists will be posted every Monday morning.
In Week 3 of Memorable Mondays, we look at five of the best Cinderella stories across Long Island.
Plainedge baseball: No. 16 seed to Long Island Champions
Plainedge's baseball regular season was mired in a season of mediocrity. After starting the year by winning its first five games, the Red Devils proceeded to drop six of the next seven. They followed it up with a four game winning streak, only end the regular season on a three game losing streak to Bethpage.
Finishing with a record of 10-9, Plainedge barely eeked into the postseason as a No. 16-seed. The experts didn't see them going far at all.
The Red Devils wouldn't let a low seed dictate the way they would perform.
Plainedge would steamroll through the postseason by finishing 9-2 and outscoring its opponents 86-22 through 11 playoff games en route to a Class A Long Island Championship. Although they would fall in the NYS semifinals to Cornwall, 11-6, Plainedge made its mark on the high school sports world with its stunning run.
St. John the Baptist boys basketball takes the Catholic League crown
As mentioned last week in our Memorable Monday dedicated to individual performances, no one gave St. John the Baptist's boys basketball team any chance in the postseason. The Cougars had a very underwhelming regular season which saw them capture one league win and earning the No. 7-seed out of seven teams.
SJB managed to shock the tri-state by rattling off wins over Holy Trinity, perennial power St. Mary's and finally St. Anthonys to capture the NSCHSAA title, thanks to Kyle Williams' 34-point, 32-rebound performance. Yes, 34 points and 32 rebounds in one night.
The Cougars weren't done yet. They knocked off Canisius, 63-52 in the CHSAA state semifinals only to see its seemingly impossible Cinderella run ended by Iona Prep in the championship game.
Jericho boys soccer: Nassau's No. 9-seed captures NYS Championship
Jericho entered the Nassau County playoffs with a 9-2-2 record but received the No. 9-seed in the postseason, putting the Jayhawks in tough position in the playoff brackets. After getting by Division in the first round, the Jayhawks unseated top-seed Valley Stream South 1-0 in the quarterfinals.
From there on in, Jericho rolled through the playoffs and only gave up one goal through the next five games topping Roslyn (1-0), Island Trees (1-0), East Hampton (2-1), East Syracuse-Minoa (3-0) and Maine-Endwell (2-0) to capture the school's first outright state title.
Wild cards rule the New York State wrestling tournament
The wild card system was instituted in 2007 to give wrestlers that fell just short of winning a county title another shot at glory in the state tournament. Those grapplers used their second chances wisely as seven wild card entrants from Long Island marched to the state championship round.
Alexis Blanco (Brentwood) and James Dekrone (Glenn), who finished second and third respectively in the Suffolk tournament, met in the 130-pound title match. Syosset's Evan Kappatos, Nassau runner-up, won the 285-pound state title with a grueling 3-2 win over El Shaddai Gilmore-Van Hoesen (Columbia). Connetquot's Sean McCabe (120 pounds) and Glenn's Nick Bellanza (182 pounds) also both captured titles. Half Hollow Hills West's Tyler Grimaldi became the school's first wrestler to reach the state finals as well, only to fall to Long Beach's Dylan Palacio in the title match.
Blue Wave rolls through Long Island
If you're looking for the last time Riverhead's girls basketball team won a Suffolk County championship, you'd have to go all the way back to the end of Ronald Regan's first term as President of the United States.
Led by the trio of Shanice Allen, Melodee Riley and Jalyn Brown helped lead Riverhead to its first Suffolk County 'AA' title with wins over Ward Melville, heavily-favorited Lindenhurst, and previously undefeated Hauppauge for the crown. It was Riverhead's first Suffolk County title since 1984, when the school was all the way in Class B. The Blue Wave weren't done there as they toppled Nassau's No. 1-seed Baldwin for the school's first ever Long Island title.
Join us throughout the summer as "Memorable Mondays" brings you more top 5 lists:
July 16: Top five exciting endings from 2011-12
July 23: Top five heartwarming moments from 2011-12
July 30: Top five favorite venues from 2011-12
Aug. 6: Top five coaches from 2011-12
Aug. 13: Top five most memorable games from 2011-12
Aug. 20: Top five teams from 2011-12
Aug. 27: Top five teams to watch in 2012-13
Find them all at www.msgvarsity.com/mondays.