The first three-pointer was cool. The second was very cool. Three in a row was hot stuff. By the time Darius Young was done with his third-quarter shooting spree, the Westbury junior had made five in a row from beyond the arc. He was a genuine fire-breathing Dragon.
Young sank eight threes, scored 25 points and tossed a couple of slick alley-oop passes to his pal Jonathan Dean as host Westbury scorched Herricks, 75-51, Friday night in a battle for first place in Nassau AA-III boys basketball. The Green Dragons improved to 8-1 while the Highlanders fell to 6-3.
“It was my teammates looking for me. They knew I had the hot hand,” Young said.
This was a royal flush of a hot hand. Young rattled one in from the corner to start his streak but after that it was nothing but net. A pullup three on the break from the right wing. A step-in three from that same spot. A left-wing three in transition. A left-corner three that had the place rocking.
“He had a game earlier this season when he scored 42 points against Floral Park so I know he’s capable of getting hot,” Westbury coach Dave Graff said. “After he hit the first one or two, they started looking for him.”
All the while, Young was looking for more than just an open shot. Twice he had the crowd and his teammates buzzing with passes to Dean that turned the night into a jam session. Dean’s first dunk was a one-handed lefty slam in the third quarter as Westbury built a lead as large as 32 points, and the second one was during fourth-quarter Showtime when he used two hands to finish off another neat lob from Young. Dean scored 22 points and is close to regaining his form after missing much of the season with a fractured hand.
“Jon is my right-hand man. He’s like my brother,” Young said. “I love those alley-oops. I’d rather do that than hit a three because I’m always looking for my teammates.”
Not always. Young proved that some threes count more than others when he made a stunning four-point play after being fouled as he converted from the left wing in front of the Herricks bench. That was an important sequence because it expanded the Green Dragons’ lead to 17-11.
“That gave us a lift,” Young said.
He gave them much more than that in the third quarter. He brought the heat.