Kian Dalyrimple sprained his right thumb blocking a shot off the backboard a few weeks ago. He has played with his shooting hand taped ever since.
That has hardly altered his stroke, which he had on display as Half Hollow Hills West defeated Holy Trinity, 60-57, Monday in the first round of Baldwin’s Holiday Tournament.
The Colts (4-0) will face Baldwin Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the championship.
Dalyrimple scored a game-high 23 points. He was 5-for-9 on three-point attempts. Richard Altenord (13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks) scored the Colts’ last four points to finish what Dalyrimple started.
“It’s all about heart,” Altenord said. “We stayed strong and pulled out the W.”
Dalyrimple, a 6-5 guard, said he developed his shot trying to emulate the NBA’s best. He has striven to rise like Michael Jordan, elevate his release like LeBron James and flick quickly like Stephen Curry.
“I used to just watch NBA players, and I would go outside and do what they did,” Dalyrimple said.
The fruits of his hard work were evident Monday, particularly in the first quarter. His high release helped him hit a tough three for the game’s first basket. Then he rose and adjusted in the air, doing his Jordan impression, to bank a two-pointer, and he knocked down two more three-pointers off the dribble, beating his defender with a quick release.
“He’s a natural scorer,” said coach Bill Mitaritonna, who earned his 200th win. “He’s got that gene. He just gets us going.”
The Colts (4-0) rode Dalyrimple to a 16-2 lead with 1:23 left in the first quarter, but Holy Trinity (4-2) extended its pressure and cut the gap to 31-26 at halftime. The Titans began the second half on an 8-0 run, capped on a layup by Thornton Scott (13 points).
Holy Trinity would not lead for long.
Dalyrimple (four steals) intercepted a pass and fed Altenord for a layup before getting a layup of his own to wrest away the lead for good one minute later. Those two plays sparked a 14-5 run that put the Colts up, 45-39, to finish the quarter.
“I said, ‘Holy Trinity gave us a knockout punch and we’re up six,’ ” Mitaritonna said, describing his pre-fourth quarter huddle. “I said that’s a good sign of character and a sign that we can face adversity. This was a great test for us tonight.”