Jarell White had been waiting for this.
The Bellport boys basketball standout remembered exactly how it felt to lose to Deer Park in the Suffolk Class AA semifinals last year and, on Friday night, was determined to grab a little bit of revenge. White did just that, scoring a career-high 41 points and hauling in 19 rebounds to lead the Clippers to an 85-74 victory in Suffolk III.
“After we lost to them last year, we had this game circled,” the forward said. “Our whole team took it personal when they moved on to the championship, so we wanted this.”
White led the charge for Bellport (6-1), but he also got help from Jaihad Robinson, who chipped in his own career-high 23 points and 12 rebounds.
It was a one-two punch that kept Deer Park (5-1) on its toes defensively and allowed Bellport to attack from every angle.
“[Jaihad] stepped up on offense,” Bellport assistant coach Kai Watkins said. “Then Jarell was his normal self. It was a strong team effort.”
Watkins added that White and Robinson’s performance on the boards helped Bellport pull away late, giving the Clippers second looks on offense and shutting down Deer Park on defense.
“That was huge and it’s been one of our weaknesses,” Watkins said. “We’ve really worked on rebounding.”
Now that revenge has been served, Bellport doesn’t want to linger too long on the victory. There are more games to play, more teams to face and, according to White, county title aspirations.
“We’re not thinking about Deer Park anymore,” White said. “It’s about the next game and the end of the season.”