Suffolk basketball heads to playoffs after historic 24-0 record

Suffolk’s basketball team capped off a historic season Feb. 19 with a 123-45 rout of the Borough of Manhattan Community College,  completing the regular season with a perfect 24-0 record.

The Sharks, ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA, are set to play Dutchess Community College in the Section XV Division III conference playoffs in the Ammerman campus Brookhaven Gymnasium at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The team had not previously ended a season undefeated. Suffolk has beaten Dutchess twice this season.

Standout point guard Steven Tynes, who coach Victor Correa has described as the team’s leader, led the way for the Sharks in the win against Manhattan (20-8), scoring 29 points. He also had five rebounds, 10 assists and eight steals.

“It feels great. We worked hard all season. The results speak for themselves,” Tynes said. “It means everything to be a leader. I push everyone and they all push me.” 

Tynes had strong backup. Ryan Graziano had 16 points and seven rebounds. James Signer had 19 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks,  and Tyree Grimsley added 15 points, nine rebounds and eight steals. RJ Walker had 12 points. Jon Agostino added four points and 10 assists.

Last season, the Sharks had three losses, all coming against Nassau County Community College. But this year, they topped Nassau in both of their two matches. “It means everything. It’s nice to beat Nassau, our direct rival. We worked a bit harder this year,” Signer said.

The Sharks averaged 91 points per game this season, while allowing 71 points. They shot 50 percent from the field and held their opponents to a low 39 percent. They shot 37 percent from beyond the arc while holding their opponents to 32 percent. They also averaged 39 rebounds, 22 assists, 12 steals and six blocks per game.

“I think a lot of people fail to realize the work ethic of this team,” said Kyle Dowd, 18, a radio and TV major who in his second semester at Suffolk who attended eight games this year. “They’ve been displaying this type of basketball all year and the results showed in the 24 games they’ve played this year,” Dowd said. “They really wanted this game against Nassau. You could tell.”

Tynes finished the season averaging 21 points, 9.5 assists and 3.6 rebounds shooting 50.2 percent from the field. Grimsley averaged 18 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 71 percent from the field. Graziano averaged 13 points shooting 45 percent from the field.

Jaye Bookhart, who averaged 11 points while nailing three assists and three boards, shooting 44 percent from the field, said the team has to go into the playoffs with a specific mindset.

“In playoffs, everyone is 0-0,” he said. “We’re going back to the basics and keep getting buckets.” 

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