Since dropping its first two games against Conference A3 rivals, there’s been no stopping South Side.
The Cyclones captured their host tournament to close December and have found another gear since calendar flipped to January. Last Saturday afternoon, they earned a sixth straight victory and fourth in a row in A3 play by taking a 69-59 decision at Hewlett. Seniors John Murphy (21), Ryan Ledwith (15) and Eamon McGowan (11) all scored in double figures as South Side upped its record to 9-3 overall. Freshman Ryan Weiss hit five treys and finished with 16 points, and senior Brett Karkus added a dozen to lead the Bulldogs (6-6 overall, 3-3 in A3.)
“Whenever we play Hewlett it’s a tough game,” South Side head coach Jerry D’Angelo said. “We started strong but they got hot from the outside and took the lead late in the second quarter before we began to do a much better job defending.”
The Bulldogs were coming off their finest performance of the season, a 67-54 win on the road against a Jericho team that won its first four conference games. “We’re in fifth place and need to win at least three more to make the playoffs,” Hewlett head coach Bill Dubin said. “We just played great at Jericho and out-rebounded them 54 to 30. Today we had only 29 rebounds and allowed too many easy baskets. They beat us on the boards and in transition.”
The hosts trailed 16-6 after one quarter after Ledwith’s buzzer-beater but rallied quickly behind some prolific shooting from behind the arc. Karkus opened the second quarter with a trey, Weiss nailed his first three long distance attempts, and junior Jesse Korkos drained a go-ahead three-pointer to provide the Bulldogs with their first lead at 23-20.
Following a 30-second timeout by D’Angelo, the Cyclones scored eight of the next nine points to lead 28-24 at halftime, marking the sixth consecutive games they were ahead at intermission. Murphy, who didn’t score in the opening quarter but raked in the second half with 17 points, hit a couple of field goals during the spurt capped by senior Anthony Pericolosi’s trey.
“We started to attack their zone and it paid off,” D’Angelo said.
South Side scored 24 points in the third to take a 13-point lead into the fourth. Senior Jack McDonald was instrumental in the quarter with six points and a handful of rebounds, and Murphy, Ledwith and senior Quinn Shannon all knocked down three-pointers. Murphy then gave the Cyclones their largest lead, 69-50, late in the fourth. Hewlett senior Gilad Shafir scored eight points in the final 90 seconds.
The Bulldogs, who also got nine points from junior Sam Vanunu, will try to get back on track and avenge a loss to Glen Cove this Saturday at home at noon. “It’s a must-win,” Dubin said. “If we don’t get it, we’ll put ourselves in a tough spot.”
South Side, which hosts the rematch with Hewlett on Feb. 10, will try to extend its win streak at Roslyn, also at noon Saturday.