It didn’t take long for South Side to reap the benefits of a challenging non-league schedule.
The Cyclones boys basketball team went 1-3 against its non-league competition, falling to CHSAA favorites Kellenberg and Chaminade and Westchester’s New Rochelle.
In those losses, South Side faced feisty pressure defenses and was soundly tested.
“We’ve had a lot of practice against presses,” coach Jerry D’Angelo said.
The practice paid off in resounding fashion Tuesday, as South Side defeated visiting Roslyn, 84-49, in a battle of unbeaten teams in Nassau A-II.
“Coach made sure he tested us before we got into league play so we would be ready for January,” Matt Boranian said.
To make up for a height disadvantage, Roslyn (5-4) applied pressure to South Side the length of the court. But the Cyclones (5-3) were prepared with several capable ballhandlers and jumped out to a 16-2 lead midway through the first quarter.
Roslyn cut the gap to 21-13 near the end of the period but trailed by double digits the rest of the way after a layup by South Side’s Alex Sorensen, who scored a game-high 21 points with 10 rebounds.
“We started very strong,” said Sorensen, who has scored at least 20 points in every game this season. “We hit a lot of shots when we needed them. We just played very well in the beginning of the game and closed good.”
Boranian (17 points, 10 rebounds) played a key role in the hot start. When the press break did not result in a transition basket, the 6-6 center excelled in the half-court by sealing his man for easy layups and cleaning up the offensive glass. He scored eight points and snared five rebounds in the first quarter.
“We knew we had better size against them,” D’Angelo said. “We knew that was something we had to take advantage of.”
South Side limited Keandre Augustine, Roslyn’s potent 5-9 guard, to 15 points. Augustine had nine points in the first quarter, but Matt DiLuccio and well-timed help defense forced him into a poor shooting night.
With Augustine struggling and South Side’s tested press break clicking, the Cyclones were able to send a message to the rest of Nassau A-II.
“We do think that we’re the best team in the conference,” Boranian said, “We just wanted to prove that tonight, and I think we did that.”