Forcing a turnover in basketball can be just as much of a mind game as a physical challenge. Just ask Daniel Sorano, who was just trying to put a little pressure on his man and ended up with a game-saving steal.
"I just wanted to freak the other guy out a little," he said.
Sorano's steal and breakaway layup midway through the fourth quarter helped lift host Rocky Point to a 53-41 win over Mount Sinai Tuesday night in non-league boys basketball.
With the score tied at 38, Sorano stole the ball at midcourt -- one of his four steals on the night. He drove down the court and made the lefthanded layup underneath the basket, putting Rocky Point up 40-38 and highlighted a 16-0 run to seal the victory.
Sorano had 11 points, four steals, two rebounds, and a block. Steven Soltysik led the Eagles with 15 points and Andreas Vouliakis had eight points and 15 rebounds.
Mount Sinai (2-1) challenged the Eagles (2-0) in the paint early. Center Mike Guzzardi scored all of Mount Sinai's eight first-quarter points within the first four minutes to give the Mustangs an 8-3 lead.
Rocky Point then went on a 14-0 run that lasted midway into the second quarter, putting the Eagles up 17-8. But Mount Sinai immediately answered back, rattling off 10 unanswered points to close out the half, including a second-chance putback by Guzzardi to give the Mustangs an 18-17 lead with 20 seconds remaining before the break.
"We let them back in it," Eagles coach Jim Jordan said. "We got comfortable too early."
Rocky Point changed its defensive strategy in the second half, putting double coverage on Guzzardi and placing more pressure on the Mount Sinai offense. It worked, as Guzzardi made only two field goals in the second half and finished with 18 points.
"We were able to box [Guzzardi] out in the second half and isolate him from the rest of the offense," Sorano said.
Mount Sinai was up 31-28 with 1:30 left in the third quarter, but Joey Kingston (10 points) hit back-to-back three-pointers to put Rocky Point ahead 34-31.
"If I can just set my feet, I'll always make the shot," Kingston said.
Mount Sinai's Greg Kopcieski tied it as time expired in the quarter with a three of his own, but the Eagles still were confident that they had the edge going into the final period.
"I think the momentum sort of stayed with us throughout the second half," Jordan said.