The seeding for the Nassau Class A boys basketball tournament will be made next Tuesday. The first games are on Thursday and Saturday. Bethpage looks ready for all of it.
The Golden Eagles used a balanced attack and a huge second half to extend its winning streak to 12 with a 64-49 Conference A-IV victory over visiting North Shore on Friday night. It was a good test for Bethpage (14-4, 12-1); the Vikings (10-8, 9-4) also have clinched a spot in the field.
Matt Lane, a 7-foot senior center, led four Eagles in double figures with 16 points, and senior point guard Bora Soybas had 13 points and six assists. Senior forward Yosuf Alekozay had all 13 of his points — including three three-pointers — in the third quarter as Bethpage outscored North Shore, 26-9, to turn a one-point halftime deficit into a 48-32 lead. Junior shooting guard Ryan Smith had all 11 of his points — including three three-pointers — in the fourth quarter.
“We’re a team that moves the ball and passes well,” Soybas said. “When you know that you can turn down a shot, make a pass and the next guy is going to get a better look and make it? It makes you unselfish. That’s what we’ve got.”
“The main thing with us is that we’ve gotten better and better as the season has gone on,” Golden Eagles coach Jack Davenport said. “We’ve taken gradual steps and we’re winning games. I wasn’t crazy about our first half, but overall I like how we’ve been playing. There’s still time to improve.”
Bethpage might have been more formidable if 6-3 senior power forward Brian O’Boyle, the Eagles' top rebounder, wasn’t lost for the season to a quadriceps injury.
Bethpage will have a shot to either win or share the conference title on Monday against Lynbrook. Wantagh and the Eagles are tied for first place.
Lane could be a difference-maker in the postseason. His minutes Friday were somewhat limited by foul trouble but he altered plenty of shots from the center of Bethpage's zone defense when he was in the game.
Said Davenport, “these are high school kids and they are not used to driving to the basket and running into a 7-footer.”
Lane also showcased a solid array of inside moves.
“I should have a size advantage in every game,” he said. “I should be able to use my moves to get good shots.”
Alekozay keyed a 17-1 run to open the second half with eight points and Lane added seven in the game-defining burst.
“We didn’t feel good about our first half so we said the third quarter would be our quarter,” Alekozay said. “We’re a good team. You didn’t see it at the beginning, but you saw it at the end.”
Phil LaRosa had 13 points, and Dan Quigley and David Berlin each scored nine for the Vikings.