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Herron, Hagigal are well enough to lead Westbury win

Westbury's Sheldon Hagigal (4, right), feeds the ball

Westbury's Sheldon Hagigal (4, right), feeds the ball to a team mate around the back of South Side's Ryan Spadaford (32, left), during their game at Westbury High School. (January 8, 2010) Credit: Richard Slattery

Lamard Herron was sick and Sheldon Hagigal was newly healed. But judging by their performances Friday night, you couldn't really tell that either had a problem. Each scored 16 points to lead host Westbury to a 72-50 win over South Side in Nassau boys basketball.

Herron, a team leader for the Green Dragons, had the flu. But he scored 12 first-quarter points and grabbed six first-half offensive rebounds to help Westbury build an early lead that wasn't relinquished.

Hagigal is one of Westbury's many offensive weapons, and in his first extended minutes since suffering a hairline fracture in a leg in practice six weeks ago, the 6-2 junior found a rhythm in the second half. He scored 12 points in the final two quarters and made five fourth-quarter free throws to help close it out after South Side briefly pulled within 11 points.

"Both had very good games," Westbury coach Dave Graff said. "Lamard is a pleasure to coach. He's a coach on the floor, a senior captain, he does everything for us. I could go on and on . . . "

As for Hagigal, the team's leading scorer during spring and summer leagues, the coach said: "He makes a huge difference for us. If he can work his way back to the way he was, that will make a difference."

The Dragons (5-3, 1-1 Conference ABC-I) didn't play as much pressure defense and fast-break offense as usual, instead choosing to slow to the halfcourt tempo that South Side prefers. Westbury believed it was playing better than the Cyclones (6-3, 1-1) at their own game anyway, building leads of 25-16 midway through the second quarter and 50-36 at the end of the third.

Herron, also 6-2, had the game's first three rebounds and converted putbacks to set the tone. The rest of the offense soon became involved. Paris Abrams finished with 14 points and 6-6 center Lucens Victor had 10. Herron had 12 rebounds and Hagigal 10.

"We wanted to play solid defense in the halfcourt and execute our halfcourt offense," Hagigal said.

Westbury did that, spreading the ball around and holding South Side's go-to players - guard Leon Taylor (12 points) and forward Brett Cohen (11) - in check. Taylor had scored 20-plus points the previous three games.

Said Herron, "With Leon, he looks to score but also looks to get his team involved. You have to recognize when he's going to score and when he's going to pass."

After the game, Graff asked Herron to come to the coach's office. "I want to take your temperature," he said.

But you couldn't really tell Herron was ill, or that teammate Hagigal's leg is healthy again.

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