Coach Jim Pastier shot an angry look into the packed bleachers behind the Farmingdale boys basketball team’s bench.
With less than a minute to go in Tuesday’s Nassau Class AA quarterfinal against Hicksville, the Daler student section began serenading the visiting team, but with a foul twist: “na-na-nah-na, hey, hey, hey – you suck.”
The Hicksville coaching staff was visibly upset. So was Pastier.
“It’s about sportsmanship,” Pastier said.
It was a sour end to an otherwise command performance by the Dalers. Fourth-seeded Farmingdale outmuscled No. 5 Hicksville, 64-55, for an impressive playoff win. Junior guard Dalique Mingo led the way with 22 points and 4 assists.
But in the afterglow of victory, Pastier took a moment to revisit 2011.
The Dalers (14-3) have made the playoffs in nine of Pastier’s 11 seasons as coach. But last season was not one of them. Farmingdale went 4-8 in conference play a year ago and finished far from the playoff spotlight.
That group of mostly freshmen and sophomores learned from the losses. They were the team on the receiving end of jeers and defeat.
“We had growing pains,” Pastier said. “We figured some things out. This is the product of it right now. We knew these guys had the potential to be great varsity players. It’s a good group of kids.”
Farmingdale showed its hunger for a playoff win, jumping out to a 25-8 lead against Hicksville, capped by Kevin Petit-Frere’s three-pointer with 4:55 left in the half.
Hicksville junior T.J. Danns (22 points) closed the gap to 44-36 at the end of three. But the Comets (14-5), which beat Plainview JFK in a first-round game last week, could get no closer.
A big reason for Farmingdale’s win was its collective muscle and hustle under the basket. The Dalers finished with a 37-27 rebounding edge.
The Dalers will face top-seeded Uniondale (19-0) in a semifinal Monday at 7 p.m. at SUNY-Old Westbury. Uniondale beat Freeport, 76-63, in its quarterfinal game.
“This is what these kids wanted since we didn’t make the playoffs last March,” Pastier said. “They know the championship goes through Uniondale.”
Nassau Class AA Boys Basketball
Quarterfinal @ Farmingdale
Teams...............1.....2.....3.....4 – F
Hicksville...........8...15...13...19 – 55
Farmingdale.....19...17.....8...20 – 64
H: Segura 5-4-15, Petrucelli 2-4-9, Tocays 3-0-6, Danns 9-4-22, Julka 1-0-3. Totals: 20-12-55. F: Burke 1-0-3, Jenkins 3-5-11, St. Simon 0-1-1, Petit-Frere 4-0-9, Mingo 8-6-22, Dhaliwal 1-6-8, Spadalik 1-0-3, Fogan 2-0-5. Totals: 20-18-64. Three-pointers – H: 3 (Julka , Petrucelli, Segura); F: 6 (Mingo 2, Burke, Fogan, Petit-Frere, Spadalik).