It didn't seem to be Harley Spinks' night.
The senior guard clanked his first two jumpers. After he missed his fourth consecutive free throw, he jogged back down the court, shaking his head in frustration, a telling gesture from someone who doesn't show much emotion on the court.
"He just can't get it going," East Islip coach Rob Schwender said from the sideline.
But when it mattered most, when the Redmen needed their leading scorer to provide a spark, Spinks drained the tying and go-ahead three-pointers on consecutive possessions in East Islip's 46-41 League IV victory over visiting Deer Park on Thursday.
"Harley's a very calm player, but intense. Very hard on himself," Schwender said. "He was in the shadows of other guys as a junior. But now I think everyone's starting to recognize that Harley Spinks is a really good player."
Spinks (18 points) gave a subtle fist pump and his teammates erupted around him when he hit a three-pointer from the wing with 1:58 left to give East Islip a 39-36 lead.
The rough start didn't faze him.
"I just relax," Spinks said. "Don't worry about anything. Don't worry about the score. Just keep playing until the buzzer sounds."
Deer Park (2-2) built a 26-16 lead when Darien Jenkins (11 points) hit back-to-back three-pointers to open the third quarter, but East Islip (3-1) continued to hang around.
Sean Glennon began the fourth quarter with a three-pointer to bring the Redmen to within 34-31. The senior guard's 20-foot jumper gave East Islip a six-point lead with 51 seconds left.
"Coach just motivated us at halftime to come out and keep shooting, even if we've missed a lot," Glennon said. "We knew they were going to fall eventually."
East Islip received big contributions down low from senior forwards Brian Philbin (nine points, four rebounds) and Tyler Clehane (five points, eight rebounds).
But 6-6 center Tyler Pierre (13 points) and 6-3 forward Princeton Louis (12 points) gave East Islip headaches early and were largely responsible for the Redmen's deficit.
Then Louis got in foul trouble, picking up his fourth and being pulled late in the third quarter.
"All of a sudden things changed," Schwender said.
The floor opened up for East Islip, allowing shooters such as Glennon and Spinks to get opportunities in critical moments.
"For a shooter, all it takes is one make," Schwender said. "That's all it takes to get going. You saw that tonight."