Junior varsity boys have won 33 straight
By Leigh Alan Klein
If the streak was going to end, this might be the night.
The Beacon junior varsity boys’ team had won 32 straight games. They had not lost in 2017. They had not lost in 2018. But for the final game of the season on Feb. 12, they were missing a key element: Dayi’on Thompson, who averaged 23 points a game, had been called up two weeks earlier to the varsity in preparation for the state tournament.
Still, you don’t win 32 straight games without a deep bench, and the Bulldogs outlasted the Sailors, 55-46.
“This group went 33-1” over the past two seasons, noted John Philipbar, who has coached the J.V. for four years. “We hope it translates to varsity” when many of the players advance next year.
The team’s last loss was on Dec. 6, 2016, in the season opener against Tappan Zee. “We made a huge comeback after being down 16 to take a one-point lead with 5.5 seconds left,” Philipbar recalls. “They hit a shot at the buzzer to beat us, 64-63. I still think about that game just about every day.”
(Had the shot not dropped, the streak would be 38 straight.)
There have been a few close calls. Against Poughkeepsie earlier this season, the Bulldogs were down by 20 points before rallying to win by 10.
“I have coached high school basketball for 12 years, and this was the hardest-working group of kids I have had,” he said. “At times our practices were more competitive than some of the games.”
Against Hendrick Hudson on Feb. 12, the Bulldogs jumped to a 7-0 lead. Beacon did a good job of sharing the ball in the first quarter, and its full-court pressure defense caused four Sailor turnovers.
Without Thompson, the team’s scoring is balanced. Six players scored in the first quarter, which ended with the Bulldogs ahead, 17-11.
How Much Longer?
The junior varsity boys’ team from Fredericton High School in New Brunswick, Canada, won 207 straight between 2006 and 2012. The longest streak in New York by a boys’ varsity team is 104 by Belleville, a hamlet north of Syracuse, from 1966 to 1971.
In the second quarter, the game tightened to 17-16, but Beacon took a nine-point lead before Hendrick Hudson mounted another run to cut the margin to five, 31-26, at the half.
The scoring slowed in the third. The Sailors would hit back-to-back threes and were back within one, 35-34. But Kam Torres executed a beautiful back-door cut and converted a strong drive to push Beacon’s advantage to 39-34.
Beacon Junior Varsity
Ian Bautista, Lionel Cumberbatch, Caden Cutinella, Adrian Davis, Caleb Evans, Shane Greene, Marquise Hatton, Regan Ladue, Tsamaj Powell, Stephen Schneider, Tre’ Smith, Dayi’on Thompson, Kamron Torres, Deandre Williams, Josh Zangerle
Hendrick Hudson came out strong in the fourth, attacking the glass for rebounds, and the momentum shifted. With five minutes, the Sailors led, 44-42.
But after Shane Greene nailed a three-pointer for the Bulldogs off a pass from Deandre Williams, Beacon never trailed. Greene hit another three to seal the win.
Walter Panas, 64-43
North Rockland, 67-49
New Rochelle, 68-62
Sleepy Hollow, 60-45
Hendrick Hudson, 65-42
Walter Panas, 62-44
Sleepy Hollow, 51-16
Hendrick Hudson, 53-44
Putnam Valley, 63-28
Putnam Valley, 72-58
Tappan Zee, 69-57
North Salem, 89-36
Blind Brook, 73-64
Hendrick Hudson, 48-42
Hendrick Hudson, 55-46
Photos by Rem Dinio