A tough day at the foul line and some missed layups ultimately led to a breakthrough season for Long Beach to come to an end in the first round of the Nassau Class AA boys’ basketball playoffs.
No lead was safe Wednesday until third-seeded Farmingdale scored 17 of the first 19 points in the second half and held off the No. 6 Marines, 67-64, before a jam-packed gym at Long Beach.
The Dalers, whose home court was unable to be used, had no trouble taking to the road and draining shots from behind the arc. Marvel Chambers hit five treys as part of a 29-point effort, Tom Moroldo (11 points) sank three and Tyrel Cason (11) a pair as Farmingdale (17-3) won its sixth straight and advanced to meet Uniondale in the semifinals.
Senior Gerard Burns poured in 29 points and juniors Jaden Barwicki and Alex Bauer both added 11 for the Marines (13-7), who in their first playoff appearance in four seasons misfired on 13 of 35 free throw attempts.
“Some of the layups we missed were contested layups, but between those and the missed free throws, we just couldn’t overcome it,” Long Beach head coach Scott Martin said. “We knew everything about Farmingdale coming in. We saw their last four games. Today they shot lights-out from three and their best player [Chambers] came in hot and he stayed hot.”
The teams set the tone for a back-and-forth affair in a wild opening- quarter that saw Long Beach run off 11 straight points and Farmingdale produce a 15-2 spurt. Chambers, who entered the playoffs averaging 17 points per game, had 13 after eight minutes as the Dalers led 21-15.
The Marines, who finished in third place in Conference AA-I behind Baldwin and Port Washington, had a huge second quarter to get back in the game. Farmingdale led by eight before Burns and Bauer sparked a 15-2 run that forced Dalers head coach Jim Pastier to burn a timeout.
Bauer scored eight of his points in the second, including going 4-for-4 from the line, and Long Beach held a 34-26 lead at intermission.
The cushion was short-lived, however, as Chambers sandwiched a field goal and a trey around a Louis Smikle (9 points) free throw and the game was quickly tied barely a minute into the second half. After junior Evan Michael’s free throws put the Marines back in front, 36-34, the Dalers ripped off 11 straight to take control. They led 48-41 after three quarters.
“We couldn’t get anything to fall in the third quarter,” Martin said.
A Bauer trey and a steal and layup by Burns brought Long Beach within 57-54 with 2:22 remaining, but Chambers and Cason proved cool under pressure with consecutive threes to put the game out of reach.
“It was a great season,” Martin said. “The kids played great basketball every single day. We can maybe look back at only a few quarters all season where we didn’t play well as a team.”