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Eric Somer, Roslyn use tough ‘D’ to beat Hewlett

Eric Somer drives around a Hewlett player en

Eric Somer drives around a Hewlett player en route to 12 points, but his defense was the difference. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

In a showdown of Bulldogs vs. Bulldogs, host Roslyn knew it had to keep Hewlett’s Luca Preziosi on a short leash.

“Our main goal was to stop Luca,” Roslyn’s Eric Somer said. “Nothing easy. Tire him out.”

With Somer playing a face-guard, deny-the-ball defense that limited Preziosi, Long Island’s fourth-leading scorer, to seven points, and his teammates sharing the ball in a balanced offense, Roslyn triumphed, 60-46, Tuesday night in Nassau A-II.

“We had a couple of different schemes, depending on the situations,” Roslyn coach Craig Murphy said after his team improved to 6-3. “Mainly, we didn’t want him to get good looks at the rim and we definitely talked about avoiding contact.”

Roslyn was well aware that Preziosi, who came into the game with a 28.5 scoring average, had made 24 of 26 free throws in a 33-point effort on Saturday when Hewlett knocked off Plainedge, 71-63. “He likes to jump into the defender,” Somer said.

That tactic drew one foul in the first half, but otherwise, the sharpshooter managed only two field goals and was scoreless in the second half as Hewlett fell to 5-4. Jacob Buchbinder scored 17 points with seven assists to lead Roslyn. Somer complemented his defense with 12 points, Mason Fertig had a double-double (11 points, 10 assists) and Jacob Levy chipped in nine points and seven assists.

“Balanced, just the way I like it,” Murphy said with a coach’s satisfied grin.

His team played two different styles, running the floor in transition to create open looks in the first half that resulted in nine three-pointers and a 40-28 lead, and controlling tempo with smart ball movement in the second half to maintain a double-digit lead for all but a few fleeting seconds.

Alyjah Hill, who sparkled with 23 points, scored Hewlett’s first seven points in the third quarter, including a coast-to-coast layup after a steal to bring Hewlett to within 43-35. After Fertig drained two free throws, Darren Spencer converted a three-point play down low to make it 45-38 with 2:14 left in the third.

But Roslyn re-established control by closing out the quarter on an 8-0 run, punctuated by Buchbinder’s corner trey, the team’s only one in the second half, and a driving layup that beat the buzzer.

Roslyn slowed it down in the fourth quarter, with all five players touching the ball on nearly every possession. “We wanted to take fewer shots in the fourth quarter and control tempo,” Buchbinder said. Of his team’s split-personality in the two halves, he said, “We looked for whatever was the best shot. When they came out to challenge the outside shot, we’d get to the hoop.”

All the while, Somer prevented Preziosi from getting much of anything. “I think it worked,” Somer said.

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