It had been eight years since South Side's boys basketball captured a Nassau County Class A championship.
The opponent then was Jericho, and after a first half where South Side led by nine, a dominant second half slammed the door on the Jayhawks' dreams of a championship and South Side won its first title in a decade, 62-47.
It was deja-vouz for South Side on Saturday.
The Cyclones held a five-point lead over Jericho at the half in the Nassau County Class A final at Hofstra on Saturday, but a monstrous offensive second half for South Side catapulted by great bench play and six three-pointers clinched the win and Class A title, 64-51.
"It feels nice," Cyclones Head Coach Gerry D'Angelo said. "We had a good goal the first day of practice; it was to get to the county championship game. It's very fulfilling to get to our goals."
The Cyclones will play Harborfields for the Long Island title on Saturday at Hofstra.
Up 23-18 to start the second half, the Cyclones — who had one field goal in the second quarter — found their offensive groove early, nailing back-to-back three pointers by seniors Kevin Coyle and Ryan Spadaford to increase its lead to nine. Senior Bobby Akeson and junior Gerald Mitchell provided a spark off the bench that ignited a 14-1 run spanning the end of the third into the fourth quarter that effectively slammed the door on Jericho's title hopes.
After senior Ryan Spadaford's layup gave South Side a 35-25 lead with about 2:30 left in the third, Mitchell stole the ball from Jericho's Corey Miller and took it coast to coast for a layup. He was fouled on the play and sunk the free throw to give the Cyclones a 38-25 lead.
On the next offensive play, Mitchell found Akeson open in the corner for three, who drained it to give South Side its biggest lead at 41-25.
"I wanted to be aggressive, grab some rebounds, play good defense and let everything fall into place," Akeson said, who finished with ten points.
But Mitchell wasn't done. To start the fourth, he found an open Dana Flaherty for a corner three after slicing through a double team, then nailed a three of his own the next time down the court to put South Side up 21. The crowd erupted after his three splashed through the net, and Mitchell's shot proved to be the knockout punch that sent Jericho reeling to the canvas.
"It definitely got my teammates into it," Mitchell said of his three-pointer. "The crowd helped a lot. It was a big shot. It feels great. I hope I get another (title) next year. This feeling is fantastic."
D'Angelo said his team's depth can rival any team in the county.
"I thought they played excellent," D'Angelo said of his bench. "Bobby gave us great minutes, so did Gerald. They both contributed offensively and defensively. Nick Bruno stepped up in the third quarter when Darren picked up his third (foul). Flaherty played his heart out, hit two big threes...my 6,7,8 can start on 50 percent of the schools in Nassau County."
Spadaford led the Cyclones with 13 points and 7 rebounds, but the scoring was evenly spread throughout the team. DJ Nickelson finished with 9 points and 10 rebounds, Coyle and Picchione both had 7 points; Mitchell had 8 points and Flaherty finished with 6 points.