East Islip's celebration wasn't complete without a huddle and cheer around a framed photograph and its night wouldn't be fulfilled, they said, without a trip to the cemetery.
"This is what Rick would've wanted and I know we made him proud," senior Mike Kissel said. "We visited his grave [Friday] and we're going again to celebrate with him."
The Redmen dedicated the season to their beloved former head coach Rick Papandrea, who died in November after a seven-month battle with stomach cancer. The team visited Papandrea in the hospital shortly before his passing, they said, and the bowlers promised their coach an excellent season in his honor.
Aided by Kissel's 300 game, East Islip returned to prominence, winning its second Suffolk championship in three years Saturday at Sayville Lanes. The Redmen had a stunning 11th-place performance last season.
"This is what we planned on doing from the start of the season," said Jacob Klein, who bowled a 1,359 series. "Our motivation has always been to make [Papandrea] proud and I know we just did."
East Islip led from start to finish and dropped 6,801 pins to finish ahead of Sachem East (6,702) and last year's champion Middle Country (6,557). The Redmen will compete in the state tournament March 2 in Syracuse.
"It's a great, determined team," Redmen coach Bob Cheadle said. "On a long day, emotion and adrenaline can only get you so far, then your fundamentals have to take over."
East Islip was fundamentally stellar, led by Nick DeFazio's 1,407 series and Jon Cheadle's 1,394. Kissel, who rolled a 1,360, had his second 300 of the season in Game 4.
Sachem East's Nick Caruana had a tournament-best 1,555 and Bryan Hirt's 1,439 helped Connetquot take fourth.
"I couldn't have asked for anything better," Kissel said. "Everything went as I would've hoped and it almost feels like it was meant to be."
Nassau tournament postponed. The Nassau boys and girls team bowling championships were postponed yesterday because of a power outage at Garden City Lanes. The tournament has been tentatively rescheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at the same location.
Notes & quotes: The Sayville boys team, which includes five girls, took 16th. Kristina Etergineoso, who led the Golden Flashes with a 201 average in the regular season, had a 999 series Saturday. "I take pride in it," the junior said of starring on a boys team. Sayville doesn't have a girls program. "It was a really fun season."