Royals Run it Back, Win 2021 Suffolk County Championship

Massimo Cipriano Sports Mar 3, 2021

After a season of ups and downs, the Port Jefferson Varsity Girls basketball team found themselves exactly where they wanted to be: the Suffolk County Championship. After winning the title last year, their goal was nothing less than defending their throne. On Sunday, February 28, a contest with the Greenport Porters was their final obstacle. Earlier in the season, the Royals visited Greenport in an intense matchup that ended in a 56-52 victory. Now the hosts of the final, the Royals were prepared for another tough contest.

It took some time for the Royals to heat up. The Porters, led by Junior Guard Adrine Demirciyan (15 points), were hitting their midrange and three-point shots throughout the first half. Greenport also dominated the glass, snagging offensive rebounds that set up second-chance scoring. The Porters seemed to have an answer each time the Royals took a chip at their lead, emerging at the half with a 21-17 lead over the hosts.

Coming into the second half, the Royals’ nerves had settled, and they began to find their rhythm. Sophomore Guard Lola Idir (19 points, 3 3PM) led the comeback charge, synergizing dribble penetration and deadeye shooting to give the Greenport defense problems. With two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Junior Forward Abbey Rolfe (14 points) converted an and-one to give the Royals their first lead of the game, quickly followed by a corner three from Idir to extend the lead to four. From there, the game belonged to the Royals. They were on the same page defensively, and converted tough defense into smooth offense. Just as they had in their earlier meeting, the Royals second half efforts led to a comeback victory, this time by a margin of 51-41.

Coach Jesse Rosen, Keith Buehler, and Charles Hafner led the Royals to their third Suffolk County Championship since 2017. This one might be the most bittersweet, as they bid farewell to three senior starters. Starting guards Hailey Hearney, Evelyn Walker, and Brooke Zamek—as well as seniors Claudia Koutstananou and Katelynn Johnston off the bench—are ending their Royals basketball careers at the top. It will be interesting to see if the Royals can extend their success in coming seasons, solidifying the newest dynasty in Port Jefferson sports.

Last year, the Royals' home playoff victory against Babylon was enjoyed by a thunderous crowd.

Massimo Cipriano

Massimo, a senior, is the editor of the sports column. An aspiring sports journalist, he attended a USC sports journalism summer program. He also runs a sports blog, The Step Back.

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