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Mar 4, 2014 11:21 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sanders Leads Mariners In Long Island Championship Boys Basketball Win

Mar 5, 2014 9:38 AM

When the Southampton boys basketball team lost the Small Schools Championship to Elwood/John Glenn back on February 26, part of its problem was a lack of production from starting guard Taylor Sanders.

That was not a problem on Tuesday night.

The senior poured in a team-high 24 points, hitting seven three-pointers, to lead the Mariners in a 61-58 win over Wheatley in the Long Island Class B Championship.

With the win, Southampton advanced to the regional final, where it will take on the winner of the Section I vs. Section IX game at Beacon High School on Friday at 8 p.m.

Sanders had the hot hand from the opening tip against Wheatley, racking up 11 points in the first quarter alone, with three three-pointers. His last three of the night was a big one, stopping a 7-0 run by Wheatley that had cut the Mariners’s lead to six points, putting Southampton ahead 57-48 with 3:12 left in the game.

Wheatley still didn’t go down without a fight, making it a three-point game at 59-56 with just 13 seconds left, but senior guard Shaundell Fishburne calmly sank two free throws to solidify the win. Fishburne, who was not guaranteed to play because of an ankle sprain, finished with 16 points for the Mariners. Forward Lyle Smith added eight points, while forward Isaiah Johnson and guard Nitauke Williams came off the bench for a combined 11 points.

Wheatley was led by guard Kevin Martins, who finished with a game-high 29 points—including 14 in the fourth quarter—hitting nine three-pointers.

After the game, Sanders said he was intent on redeeming himself after the poor showing against Glenn.

“My coach just told me to step up,” he said. “Before the Glenn game, I had a couple of bad games, except for [the Suffolk County championship win over Babylon]. So I just had to step up, and I was working hard in practice.”

Southampton head coach Herm Lamison said Sanders’s effort was crucial for his team, especially given the fact that Fishburne, the team’s leading scorer, wasn’t at 100 percent.

“In order for us to go, we need Taylor to go,” Lamison said. “He knew he didn’t give us the performance last time, so tonight he said he was ready, and he was really focused. And everybody else really stepped up and played well too, [including] the subs coming off the bench, with Nitauke and Isaiah. Those guys were really locked in and they were really focused. They really wanted the game.”

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