Sachem North defeated Lindenhurst, 78-52, in a Suffolk League II boys basketball game on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, at Sachem North. Credit: Newsday / Owen O’Brien

It’s a lose-lose situation for opponents when trying to decide to key on James Butler or Anthony Holloway defensively.

The Sachem North boys basketball backcourt tandem can create nightmare matchups for opponents regardless of where they are on the court. They can dribble, shoot and make plays for others. Especially when setting up one another.

“It’s hard to find two guards who can guard both of us,” Butler said. “Both of us can go to the rack and kick it out when they help in.”

This was on display early and often as host Sachem North defeated Lindenhurst, 78-52, in both team’s Suffolk League II opener Monday night. Butler finished with 30 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Holloway had 26 points and 17 rebounds.

“Those two, they challenge each other every single day at practice,” coach Matt Candemeres said. “They get each other better at practice so when they put up numbers like that, it’s not a surprise.”

Sachem North opened the game on a 9-0 run. Butler and Holloway scored all 15 of the Flaming Arrow’s second-quarter points.

“We have a lot of good chemistry,” Holloway said. “We’re working hard every day and doing what it takes to win.”

Holloway and Butler have a lot of freedom in the Flaming Arrows’ offense. Candemeres said Sachem North led Suffolk in three-pointers made last season, and although that may not be by design, he just wants the team to be taking quality shots.

“It’s definitely fun to play in this offense,” said Butler, who scored 15 points in the third quarter. “Shooting a lot of threes, I love to do that as a shooter.”

Holloway hit five three-pointers in the win.

“We know if he sees one or two go in, it could turn into five or six really quickly,” Candemeres said. “As we saw.”

“We do a lot of shooting drills and keep the ball moving,” Holloway said. “They weren’t pressuring me a lot in the corner until the second half, but I was feeling it.”

Peter Ferrizz added eight points for Sachem North. Keith Valdez led Lindenhurst with 23 points and Daniel Gron had 11 points.

With Butler, a three-year varsity player, leading the way on the floor, Sachem North hopes for a season that culminates with a trip to the playoffs.

“He’s a coach on the court,” Candemeres said. “He can get to the rim, he can shoot any type of shot and he can score 20 in any given quarter.”

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