Spackenkill High School boys basketball coach Tom Bell gave his players the day off on Wednesday.
The Spartans earned it, after a come-from-behind win over Pleasantville in the New York State Class B regional semifinals on Tuesday. And on Thursday, Bell said his players returned to practice with plenty of energy.
“The kids were amped up,” he said. “They were loose, which was good. We went over some things and focused on what we need to do.”
Spackenkill meets Center Moriches of Section 11 on Saturday at noon, in the regional finals at Suffolk Community College in Selden. The winner advances to Friday’s semifinals to face either Section 3’s Westhill or Section 4’s Norwich, at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton.
The Spartans (21-2) rallied to beat Pleasantville, 69-50, in regional semifinals Tuesday,
Spackenkill overcame an eight-point deficit in the first quarter to take a one-point lead at halftime. The Spartans rolled from there, sparked by leading scorer Camron Abalos, who finished with 23 points. Tucker Lee added 15, while Hayden Peek poured in 12. Ezequiel De La Cruz finished in double digits with 10 points.
Likewise, the Spartans came from behind to nip Rhinebeck, 65-56, in the Section 9 Class B finals on March 4.
Both wins, Bell said, were a microcosm of the season.
“Whenever anyone asks me about my team, I’ll tell them they’re the most resilient group I’ve ever coached,” Bell said. “Whenever they get down, they find ways back. We’ve fought back so many times this year.”
Center Moriches (19-4) beat Oyster Bay, 80-60, in its regional semifinal.
“We’re going to have to limit their second shots and do a good job on the boards,” Bell added. “If we rebound well, we’ll have a great shot.”
A.J. Martelli: email@example.com, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports