Derek Brower Jr.’s high-volume scoring for Half Hollow Hills West was eye-opening Thursday. But after Brower chose to forgo what would have been his easiest two points of the game, eye-opening was taken to a different level.
With a clear path to the rim early in the first quarter of the Colts’ 67-35 Suffolk IV victory over Bellport, Brower envisioned more than just adding two points to his eventual 30-point output. Instead, he saw an opportunity for a spectacular moment. Brower surprisingly turned under the rim and dished to a trailing Jovahn Williamson, who delivered a rim-rocking, one-handed dunk over a contesting Clipper.
“As soon as I caught the ball, my adrenaline level was crazy,” said Williamson, who had nine points. “I felt I was definitely throwing that one down. It felt amazing.”
Williamson’s monster jam gave Hills West (14-4, 9-3) a 10-0 lead and sent the home crowd into a frenzy. The Colts rode that momentum, continued to push the ball up the floor and put the game out of reach with their up-tempo pace, building a 41-18 halftime lead.
Brower set the tone for Hills West in the opening half, scoring 20 of his varsity-best 30 points. He finished with five three-pointers, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
“My teammates did a good job of finding me,” Brower said. “I just happened to put the ball in the basket.”
Hills West came in one game ahead of Bellport (9-8, 7-5) in the league standings.
“We knew this was going to be a big game and that we needed to make a statement,” said Matthew Asenjo, who had 12 points.
Hills West didn’t let up in the second half and brought a 56-30 lead into the fourth quarter. Brower scored at will, but it was the moment he chose to pass up two uncontested points that had the locker room buzzing after the game.
“His dunk goes down as an all-timer that I’ve seen here at Hills West,” coach Bill Mitaritonna said of Williamson. “And we’ve had some pretty good dunkers here.”