Ronald Harris hits winning three-point play for Bellport
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When all of the votes were tabulated from Thursday night's Harris Poll, it was Ronald of Bellport who came out on top over Terry of Half Hollow Hills West.
Ronald Harris scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning three-point play with three seconds left, as host Bellport edged Hills West, 68-66, in a Suffolk League IV thriller.
Terry Harris, double-teamed all night, managed 23 points but missed a potential game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer.
"It wasn't a set play, it just happened," said Ronald Harris, who got free on a backdoor cut after Terry Harris made two free throws to put the Colts up 66-65 with 19 seconds left.
Bellport's Mike D'Amadeo made a nice feed to Ronald Harris, who missed his first layup attempt but got the rebound and banked it home, drawing a foul in the process.
He sank the free throw and then held his breath, as did all of the Clippers, when Terry Harris managed to get free off a screen near midcourt and launched from the right wing. The shot bounced off the front rim, giving Bellport (5-4) a huge boost to its playoff chances in Suffolk IV. Hills West fell to 7-3.
"I took this as a playoff game," Ronald Harris said. "We needed to win."
That helped explain the Clippers' apparent sense of urgency when they came out firing, nailing four three-pointers in a game-opening 14-2 spurt.
"That gave us confidence," said Andrew Trent, who matched Ronald Harris with 20 points. Scott Artis added 13.
Justin Leonard was an inside force off the bench for the Colts with 20 points.
Leonard's teardrop in the lane with 1:26 left gave the Colts a 64-61 lead, but Ronald Harris made two free throws and converted on a strong drive as the Clippers went ahead 65-64 with 44 seconds left. Then Terry Harris drew a foul inside to give the Colts their last lead.
Terry Harris was harassed all night by Bellport, which stationed players in front and back of him in the post and double-teamed him on the perimeter whenever he touched the ball.
"That was the plan," said Ronald Harris (no relation), one of the players assigned to Terry. "He's their main player. The offense runs through him. We tried to get him off his game."
Trent, who also rotated in coverage of Terry Harris, said the Clippers "tried to keep him from getting the ball. I think we got him out of rhythm on his shots."
Terry got a clean look on his last shot, which was close to an NBA-range three-pointer, but it was short. No exit poll was needed to predict the winner.