The crowd was large and loud at Newfield High School Tuesday night. But it was North Babylon that made the most noise.
The Bulldogs scored 15 straight points in a 31/2-minute stretch that spanned the second and third quarters, then survived a fourth-quarter rally by the Wolverines to post a 52-46 victory that put them in control of the title chase in Suffolk League III.
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North Babylon is 10-1, while Newfield fell to 8-3. Each team has three league games remaining.
"This definitely was a big game. We want leagues,'' said North Babylon forward Melshawn McPherson, who registered a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
"The league title is big, but that's not where we want to stop,'' added point guard Zach Moore, who scored seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter.
Moore nailed a big three-pointer with a minute to go in the second quarter, part of a half-closing 11-0 burst that erased a 22-15 Newfield advantage.
McPherson scored the first four points of the second half, and North Babylon eventually built a 10-point lead at 42-32 early in the fourth. But the Wolverines delighted their vocal supporters with a 7-0 run that included a layup by Joe Feliciano and a three-pointer by Dean Simeone. The duo scored 10 points each.
But Moore sank a top-of-the-key trey after Arron Lee (13 rebounds) cleaned up on the offensive glass, and Moore answered Simeone's side jumper with a pull-up from the foul line to put North Babylon up 50-43. Jarrell Cowell (nine points) hit a step-back three with exactly a minute left to make it 50-46, and there was howling from the Wolverines' den.
"I like it when there's a big crowd that's talking at road games,'' McPherson said with a smile. "We like to shut them up, and tonight we were able to shut them up.''
It was Moore who did the shushing. He ignored the hoots, hollers and foot stomps from the bleachers and sank two free throws with 26.7 seconds left that sealed the deal. "It's nice when we can silence them,'' Moore said.