In a nanosecond, Hewlett’s Zach Bromfeld experienced a flip-flopping of emotions. Miffed one moment, hip-hopping to the sideline the next, pumping his fist and celebrating with his teammates.
The 6-6 center missed a foul shot that would have produced a three-point play, but he grabbed the crazy carom and tossed in a desperation bank shot from the foul line at the buzzer to end the third quarter.
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Bromfeld’s magic moment was part of an 11-0 run that helped No. 13 Hewlett rally past host No. 12 Seaford, 73-61, on Thursday night in a Nassau Class A quarterfinal game.
“At first I was upset that I missed the free throw,” Bromfeld said. “Then I saw the long rebound and I knew I had to shoot it right away. I got lucky with the bank shot. But that was huge for us. It gave us the momentum and we carried it into the fourth quarter.”
Bromfeld concluded the burst with a layup off a nice dump-down pass from Alyjah Hill as the Bulldogs (12-9) turned a 43-41 deficit into a 52-43 lead and went on to score 25 points in the fourth quarter.
That basket was the product of a game plan to make the most of Bromfeld’s decided height advantage over any Vikings defender. “Most games I’m the tallest player on the court,” Bromfeld said, laughing.
But most games he isn’t this dominant. The junior scored 24 points, grabbed 23 rebounds and blocked three shots to send Hewlett into the Nassau A semifinals against No. 1 South Side on Wednesday night at 7:30 at Hofstra.
Hill, a shooting guard, was another key element with 20 points. Point guard Luca Preziosi contributed 16 points, 13 in the second half.
“Our strategy was to get him the ball,” Hewlett coach Bill Dubin said, pointing at Bromfeld. “Reverse the ball, get it inside. If he’s covered, get it out. With Alyjah, we have an inside-outside game that a lot of teams don’t have.”
Seaford (14-7) had four players in double figures, led by Keith McHugh with 17 and Andrew Pick with 14, but both players fouled out. The Vikings, who led for most of the first half, were in foul trouble all night. That explains the decided advantage at the free-throw line for Hewlett, which converted 25 of 37 to Seaford’s 12 of 16.
But it was this kind of night for the Bulldogs: Even on one of their missed free throws, something positive happened.