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Avery Feldman's 30 lead Hewlett to 'A' final

Hewlett's Avery Feldman, who scored 30 points in

Hewlett's Avery Feldman, who scored 30 points in the game, gets past Floral Park's T.J. Cluess during a Nassau Class A boys basketball semifinal on Feb. 24, 2014. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

The giant cardboard blowup face that was waved frequently in the noisy, giddy student section showed Hewlett star Avery Feldman wearing a beard . . . and a frown.

"That's my playoff beard,'' Feldman said with a smile.

And the expression?

"It was kind of a fake frown after I hit a buzzer-beater to beat Bethpage,'' he said, "because I had to pose for the picture.''

The beard stays and Feldman is beaming after his latest accomplishment. The 6-2 senior scored 30 points, 18 in a tone-setting first half, as No. 6 Hewlett overpowered No. 7 Floral Park, 82-47, Monday night at SUNY Old Westbury to reach the Nassau A final for the first time. The Bulldogs will face Valley Stream South on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Adelphi.

"This is crazy,'' Feldman said after a dominant performance that included five three-pointers and a handful of slick assists.

"I thought I might wind up with the 'cycle' -- I got knocked out in the first round as a freshman, the semifinals as a sophomore and the quarterfinals as a junior.''

Instead, Feldman finds himself in a cycle he hopes doesn't end. He scored a career-high 34 points in the Bulldogs' quarterfinal win over West Hempstead.

"There was a definite carry-over from last week,'' Hewlett coach Bill Dubin said. "His confidence got boosted. He's been saying all along that he'll do whatever it takes for us to win.''

On Monday night it took a fast start. Feldman nailed a trey from the wing to open Hewlett's scoring and followed that up later in the first quarter with a baseline jumper, a corner three and a power move to the basket. Still, Floral Park led 13-12 after one.

Not for long. Joe Pasquale scored inside to put Hewlett ahead for good at 14-13 and Feldman followed with a pair of three-pointers. He then scored in the lane and Bryan Eckerle hit two more treys as Hewlett broke it open with a 20-3 run that produced a 32-16 halftime lead.

Feldman opened the second half by muscling inside for a conventional three-point play, and the rout was on.

Ryan Steinberg scored 14 points and point guard Dimitri Baptiste added 13 plus an efficient floor game for Hewlett (14-6). Kevin Cluess led Floral Park (15-5) with 10 points.

"Our team knows how to get open. We don't stand around on offense,'' Feldman said. "We're flying now.''

They're smiling, too.

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