Wantagh Boys’ Basketball Shooting for High Standards


Taylor Corwin, Reporter

The boys’ basketball team shot to a 3-0 start creating dreams of an undefeated season. Then, however, the team suffered the loss of one of its best players (Roddy Roche) to injury, and dropped a pair of close games to conference rivals. Along came Garden City. Is there a school that Wantagh fans, students and athletes despise more than the Garden City Trojans?

For the final weeks of the season the team struggled to gain a final win that would put them in the playoffs. In the second Garden City game on the road, with an amped Wantagh crowd, the Warriors survived a late technical foul to win 47-44, February 11. The game also marked the return of Roddy Roche, who had 14-first half points. Eric Regenbogen lead the team with 22 points and the presence of Brendan Devine helped Wantagh gain the upper hand against Garden City. Together, they are unstoppable and make up “The Big Three,” like Coach Hunter calls them.

From the start of the game the atmosphere of the Garden City gym was filled with intensity and animosity coming from both sides of the court. Wantagh led by one with one second to go. Regenbogen made a pair of huge free throws. However, Garden City stayed alive because of a Wantagh bench technical foul because the players ran on the court thinking the game was over. GC made both free throws and had a chance to tie but a final three-point heave fell short.

The first Wantagh-GC game was just as dramatic. Wantagh was up by two points on the Trojans, January 15, a sense of desperation filled the Wantagh gym. With seconds left Garden City tied it, 38-38, sending the game into overtime. With tensions high, an adrenaline rush overcame Wantagh’s players and fans.

Christian Ianelli fired a three-point shot. The ball went in but Coach Hunter called a time-out an instant before the shot and it didn’t count. Although the game was sent into overtime, the Wantagh Warriors finished strong with a 42-40 victory.
With just three games left and a 5-4 record (8-6 overall), the Warriors are left fighting for a playoff spot. If the team makes the playoffs with their starting five line-up back, they will be unstoppable. With the majority of the team in their final year of high school basketball, the idea of going to counties would be a perfect way to end their high school careers.

Coached by Keith Hunter, the team has been led by Brendan Devine, a towering 6-6 center, and Eric Regenbogen, who averages over 20 points a game and in 9 games has reached the 30 point mark three times thus far. Also contributing to the Warriors success are Thomas Burke and Chris Iannetta.

When asked about his thoughts regarding the season so far, Coach Hunter said, “As a whole, the season has been a bit of a dissappointment.” Meeting high expectations in the beginning of the season and then falling short because illness and injury has really taken a toll on not only the team, but on Coach Hunter as well. “I have trouble sleeping at night to be honest. Once we’re in playoffs we will make some noise, it’s just a matter of getting there.” Maybe Hunter is now sleeping better since the boys are playoff bound.