DIX HILLS, NY -- The game is pretty simple for Half Hollow Hills East center Ryan Nitti.
Set up shop in the paint. Pull down the boards. Throw it in the hoop.
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound junior followed the blueprint exactly, scoring 17 points and bringing in 14 rebounds as his Thunderbirds defeated West Islip, 55-44 in a League II boys basketball contest in a game streamed live on MSGVarsity.com Gametime Livecast.
With the win, Hills East kept its playoff hopes alive and improved to 2-6 in League II.
The Lions and Hills East played to what was a fairly even contest, but a lopsided second quarter in which the Thunderbirds outscored West Islip 8-2 proved to see a difference-maker in the scoreboard.
Both teams seemingly traded scores throughout the first eight minutes with Hills East taking 14-13 lead after the first frame. West Islip opened up the scoring in the second quarter, but Hills East took over from thereon in, rattling off eight straight points heading into halftime to take a 22-15 lead into the break.
It was a lead Hills East would not surrender.
It also was the point when Nitti would lead the Thunderbirds to an eventual victory.
Nitti scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half, half of which came during a 10-5 run by the Thunderbirds.
Most of the big junior’s points came from within the paint following an offensive board – he pulled down ten of those.
Nate Schwartz was not far behind for Hills East, as he contributed 11 points and two rebounds. Seven of his 11 came in the first half, and he was the only Thunderbird to drain a bucket from beyond the three-point arc.
Hills East was 1-7 from three-point range, while West Islip was 7-26, including four straight three-pointers to round out its scoring on the game.
Both Chris Anderson and Dan Cunningham led West Islip, both of each had 10 points in a losing effort. Nine of Cunningham’s 10 points came from beyond the three-point arc.
|Half Hollow Hills East||14||8||16||17||55|
|Half Hollow Hills East|