SHRUB OAK, N.Y.— It’s appropriate the Super Bowl is coming up because on Jan. 28, the Lakeland Central School District had its own version of the Super Bowl when Lakeland hosted Walter Panas in the Vincent and Terry Giglio Memorial Scholarship Games, an all-day basketball affair that included contests on the varsity, JV and freshmen levels.
That made Lakeland’s boys basketball squad’s 45-35 triumph over Panas even sweeter.
“It means everything to us,” said Lakeland senior captain Tim Fallo, who scored a game-high 15 points. “This is the biggest game every year for us. We mark this the first day of practice and it’s just great to come out here and beat our crosstown rival.”
Lakeland, which also won by 10, 54-44, in last year’s Giglio Games, led 24-21 at halftime this season. It entered the locker room distraught after allowing Panas to tip-in a missed free throw at the buzzer.
“We were a little upset going into halftime but we just had to come back out and still play tough,” Fallo said. “It’s obviously bad to end a half like that because we played such good defense before that but we knew they weren’t going to stop. We just had to come out harder, knock down shots, box out, rebound and do the little things better in the second half.”
The Hornets did just that. Fallo finished the third quarter with a layup followed by a 3-pointer which put Lakeland up 33-27 going into the final quarter.
Lakeland then sealed the game in that quarter by locking the Panthers down defensively, allowing just eight points in the final stanza.
“Mike Capozzi did an outstanding job on Brandon Hodge,” Fallo said. “He was the guy who is their best player. He is the guy who we wanted to stop. Mike did an awesome job. [Hodge] only had two points. Mike just sparked our defense.”
Matt Mikulski (7 points), Chris Foci (7 points), Kyle Harrison (5 points), Griffin Shiland (4 points), John Mule’ (3 points), Patrick Morelli (2 points) and Capozzi (2 points) all joined Fallo in the box score for the Hornets.
Lakeland lost at Brewster 54-42 led by Capozzi (11 points), Shiland (10 points) and Foci (8 points) in a Jan. 26 contest.
The Hornets (6-9) defeated visiting Somers 63-53 on Jan. 25, paced by Shiland (13 points), Capozzi (11 points), Fallo (10 points) and Mule’ (10 points).
Yorktown came up with a big 67-51 triumph at Port Chester on Jan. 26.
“The key for us tonight was getting up and down the floor in transition and getting good shots,” Yorktown junior guard Marc Spinelli said.
Spinelli produced team highs in both points (12) and rebounds (6).
“I was luckily able to get inside and finished a lot of my layups in the paint,” Spinelli said.
Cam Cuparo, Sol Barer and Matt Severino all recorded 11 points each for the Huskers.
“Cam Cuparo really carried us in the third quarter,” Yorktown coach Kevin Downes said. “He played fantastic.”
Cuparo played as well as he did by deftly navigating his way through traffic around the hoop.
“Cam is a great big man and was able to get position in the low post almost every time and took advantage of it,” Spinelli said.
Yorktown (10-4) beat Hendrick Hudson 54-42 at Croton-Harmon’s “Hoops For Heroes” Showcase on Jan. 28, led by Tanner Dyslin (14 points, 9 rebounds), James Lundberg (10 points, 7 rebounds,), Barer (7 points and 5 rebounds) and Michael Broder (8 points).
“We had a really solid defensive effort today,” Downes said.