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Alex Purchick, Bora Soybas and tough zone defense lead Bethpage's victory over Lawrence

Alex Purchick #10 of Bethpage takes flight to

Alex Purchick #10 of Bethpage takes flight to score two points during the fourth quarter of a Nassau County boys basketball game against Lawrence at Bethpage High School on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. Credit: James Escher

With Alex Purchick and Bora Soybas fueling a strong finish, Bethpage’s conference campaign got off to a strong start.
Purchick scored 15 points and Soybas added 12 to lead Bethpage boys basketball to a 47-33 win over visiting Lawrence in both teams’ Nassau A-IV opener Wednesday evening. The Golden Eagles outscored the Golden Tornadoes 30-16 in the second half to pull away.
“We started off a little rusty but I think how we played in the second half is how we’re going to be playing all season,” said Purchick.
“Starting off with a win is always a great feeling, because that gives you confidence going into the rest of your games,” Soybas said.
Little separated the teams in a low-scoring first half, as the two sides were tied at 11 after the first quarter and 17 at the break. Lawrence guard Mikell Henry scored 13 of his 20 points in the first half, prompting Bethpage to switch from man-to-man defense to a zone.
The alignment featured Purchick and Soybas up top and 7-footer Matt Lane in the middle and it caused a host of problems for Lawrence.
“When we go to that zone and have Lane in the middle . . . and me and Alex up top, it’s a hard zone to beat,” Soybas said. “If they’re driving, we know we have a 7-footer who is going to alter the shot no matter what.”
Purchick, , who scored 10 points in the second half, also said that Lane (six points) affects the game on the other end.
“Once we started using him, everything else opens up,” he said. “You can throw it up and you know he’s going to catch it. He grabs second-chance rebounds. It helps a lot.”
Bethpage started the third quarter on a 6-0 run and also closed the period in strong fashion, before starting the fourth quarter on a 6-2 run. Kyle Gabrinowitz and Ryan Smith each made a long two-pointer during the spurt, before Gabrinowitz made a layup to put Bethpage ahead 37-26 with about six minutes left.
Henry hit a layup to make the score 39-30 with 3:30 left, but that was a close as things would get, as Bethpage forced a series of turnovers during an ensuing 8-0 run that effectively sealed the game.
Said Soybas: “At halftime, we talked about energy and picking up the pace and making sure we get deflections, steals and fast breaks. We brought the energy in the second half.”

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