Basketball may be Cam Jordan’s secondary sport, but he certainly is the primary reason why Half Hollow Hills West is optimistic that it can defend its Suffolk Class AA championship despite being a No. 7 seed.
Jordan, the multi-talented 6-5 senior who has accepted a football scholarship to Syracuse, scored 24 of his 26 points in the first half and had 17 rebounds, eight assists and three blocks Saturday as host Hills West defeated No. 10 Bellport, 61-49, in a Suffolk Class AA first-round playoff game.
The Colts improved to 17-4 and will play at No. 2 Brentwood at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Jarrell White had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Bellport (11-9). It was his 19th double-double of the season, according to coach Peter Grossi.
This was the best game Jordan has played since returning on Jan. 31 after a seven-game absence because of a concussion suffered against Hills East on Jan. 8.
“It took some time for me to get my wind back and get back into the flow,” said Jordan, a second-team Newsday All-Long Island wide receiver last fall. “I feel great now. I’m 100 percent.”
Jordan literally was 100 percent of the Colts’ offense in the first quarter, scoring all 12 points for a one-point lead. He scored another dozen in the second quarter as Hills West went ahead 35-23. But the Clippers scored the final six points of the half to cut the deficit to six.
Jordan then turned playmaker, opening the third quarter with a feed to Matt Asenjo for a three-pointer. “That three got me going,” said Asenjo, who scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half. “It was all Cam today. Most of my points were on assists from him.”
The Colts grabbed a 49-35 lead with a 9-0 run that included a three-pointer by Jackson Weisbrot, a conventional three-point play by Asenjo and another three-pointer by Derek Brower Jr.
Jordan, who scored at will off the dribble in the first half, began the fourth quarter with a pull-up jumper for a 55-40 lead, and the Clippers were cooked.
“I developed my playmaking game this year and Coach has trusted me with the ball,” Jordan said. “I’m confident up top, but in the first half, the middle was open, so I took it to the basket.”
Hills West coach Bill Mitaritonna marveled at Jordan’s court awareness. “He senses when we need him to score and when we need him to distribute the ball,” he said. “In the first half, we needed the points. In the second half, we needed him to be the playmaker. I didn’t have to tell him anything. He just did it.”
Pretty good basketball instincts for a football guy.