West Islip’s Nick Galasso, who was on the field for all four of the Lions’ state titles the last five years, speaks to reporters after his final championship, which came Saturday in a win against Fairport at Stony Brook University’s LaValle Stadium. Galasso also broke the all-time Long Island record for career points in the contest.
It happened in 2006 when Galasso, then an eighth-grader, was called up to varsity for the playoffs.
And though the Lions were in the midst of a down-to-the-wire battle against West Genesee in the Class A state championship game, Galasso, who was then all of 14 years old, was on the field during crunch-time.
“Coach (Scott Craig) told me I was one of our best stick-handlers and I belonged out there for the last two minutes,” Galasso recalled today.
West Islip won that game 7-6. It was the first state title in school history. Since then, the Lions have won three more, the last came late this afternoon as West Islip pulled away for a 13-5 win over Fairport at Stony Brook University’s LaValle Stadium.
The win was noteworthy for another reason. Galasso entered the game needing six points to break the all-time record for career points by a Long Island player of 498, established by Jim Zaffuto, who led Elmont to the first-ever Class A state championship in 1977. Galasso broke the record with one point to spare, finishing with a goal and six assists.
“I knew about the record,” Galasso said. “Coach Craig told me. But this wasn’t about that. It was about winning a state title.”
Galasso broke the record during a third quarter in which West Islip outscored Fairport 7-0 after the first half ended in a 5-5 tie.
“We always say that the third quarter is our quarter,” said Quinnipiac University-bound junior Mike Sagl, who scored five goals.
Galasso finishes his career with an even 500 points. He is fourth on the all-time New York points list behind Casey Powell (Carthage High School Class of 1994, 553 points), Nick Trizano (Iona Prep, Class of 2009, 511 points) and Joe Resetarits (Hamburg High School Class of 2008, 508 points).
Galasso was named the game’s most valuable offensive player. Junior goaltender Kyle Turri was named the game’s most valuable defensive player.
West Islip ends the season with a 21-game winning streak that started after the Lions dropped their opener in overtime to Sachem North.
While Galasso was making history, so too was Manhasset.
The Indians beat Corning East 19-6 to win the Class C title, marking the first time in the long and tradition-rich history of the program they have ever won back-to-back state titles. It was Manhasset’s fourth state title overall.
UPenn-bound senior midfielder Drew Belinsky, who had three goals, was named the game’s most valuable offensive player. Sophomore Bobby Duvnjak was named most valuable defense player.
It was Corning East’s 11th consecutive loss in the state title game, a streak that began after a 13-7 win over Yorktown in the 1990 Class B state final.
Time of possession was once again crucial for Manhasset as Syracuse University-bound senior Ricky Buhr once again dominated on faceoffs.
“I’ve been taking faceoffs since the third grade,” Buhr said. “It’s something I’ve always done and I work on every day to get better. Coach (Bill Cherry) always tells me it starts with me because the faceoff is the first play of the game.”
Manhasset ends the regular season at 20-0 and with a 36-game win streak. The Indians’ last loss was an 11-10 overtime decision to Comsewogue on April 7, 2009.
Garden City, making its first state title-game appearance since 2000, fell to Jamesville-DeWitt 11-5 in the Class B title game. It was the second state title in the last four years for the Red Rams, who were minus leading scorer, Syracuse University-bound senior midfielder Jake Bratek, who has missed most of the playoffs with a broken collarbone injury suffered in practice.
“They have great athletes and they converted on a lot of the transition opportunities they had,” Garden City coach Steve Finnel said.
With a junior-laden team that includes several of the nation’s top players in their class (including Hopkins-bound attackmanTom Gordon and Harvard-bound defenders Stephen Jahelka and Brian Fischer)k, the Trojans will be one of the top-ranked teams in the nation for the 2011 season.
Check back for a recap of today’s Connecticut state championship games at Brien McMahon in Norwalk.
New York state tournament schedule, brackets
Connecticut state tournament schedule, brackets
MSG Varsity coverage
(Only on Optimum)