You could tell by the calendar as well as the game situation that for Harborfields, it was Wynter time.
“There’s a certain time in games when I need to be more aggressive,” point guard Malcolm Wynter said.
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The host Tornadoes needed a blast of Wynter in the fourth quarter Wednesday, and the lefty responded. His floater down the lane in traffic tied the game and his precise pass two minutes later for Danny Morgan’s corner three, plus some slick dribbling against late pressure, allowed host Harborfields to hold off Deer Park, 60-56, in a nonleague game between two teams with lofty postseason aspirations.
Wynter scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Alex Merhige had 11 points and Nick Mitchell 10 for Class A Harborfields (5-1) from Suffolk V. Princeton Louis scored 17, Donnell Louissaint 14 (all in the third quarter) and Darien Jenkins had 11 for Class AA Deer Park (3-2) from Suffolk IV.
“He’s the quarterback and when he’s making good decisions, we’re a good team,” first-year Harborfields coach John Tampori said. “And he usually makes good decisions.”
Wynter decided to shoot more in the second quarter, scoring seven points as the Tornadoes built a 32-21 halftime lead that they expanded to 34-21 in the first minute of the third quarter. That’s when Louissaint took over for the Falcons. He scored on a put back, a three from the wing and a baseline drive to spark a 9-0 run that brought Deer Park back into the game.
Louissaint converted a conventional three-point play with a tough drive in traffic to tie the game for the first time at 39 with 1:45 left in the third. The Falcons took their first lead at 46-45 on a foul shot by Brett Talbert with 6:20 left in the fourth and 28 seconds later, Louis’ free throw made it 47-45.
Then it was time for young man Wynter. He beat one player off the dribble at the top of the key, sliced between two more in the lane and hit the tying basket with 5:34 left. Rob Pecorelli, playing his first game of the season after recovering from an illness, scored on a baseline drive and Danny Morgan drained a three from the corner on Wynter’s kick-out pass. Mitchell followed with a three from the same corner as the Tornadoes raced to a 55-47 lead.
Deer Park cut it to 57-53, but Merhige iced it with a three-point play off a nice feed from Mitchell. “That was a big moment for me. I was confident we’d win and we didn’t panic,” Merhige said.
All the Tornadoes were walking in a Wynter wonderland.