Jarell White has mounted a relentless attack on this basketball season. The 6-4, 230-pound Bellport senior has been terrorizing opponents all through it with his unwavering nose for the basket and his untiring passion for the rebound. On Tuesday evening, he was presented with something he could really sink his teeth into: a game against Deer Park.
A year ago, the Falcons did a number on Bellport. First, they ended the Clippers’ unbeaten season in Suffolk AA-III to snare a share of the conference title. Then they showed the Clippers the door in the county playoffs. “After what they did to us last season,” White said, “Deer Park is a team we all get fired up for.”
That was clear as White ran roughshod over the host Falcons, going for 36 points and 21 rebounds in an 84-66 victory. Bellport (14-1) clinched at least a share of the conference championship. Deer Park (12-3) is still bound for the postseason, but the loss means it will finish no better than third.
“We knew we could have done better last year, so this year we’re set to come out and do it,” said Bellport’s Jihad Robinson, who had nine points. “The [division] is fine with us, but we have bigger goals. We want to go to the end and be the last ones standing.”
White, who averages 33.3 points, had a quiet first quarter but erupted in the second and third. He had 11 of the Clippers’ 25 second-quarter points and 17 of their 25 third-quarter points as a close game became a rout. The Falcons had no solution against him on the glass, where he scored 18 of his points after pulling down an offensive rebound.
“Watching him never gets boring,” said Devon Balfour, who had 13 points. “He does whatever it takes for us to get the win.”
Deer Park’s Malik Edmead, who had 28 points, made a three-pointer to cut the Bellport lead to 54-48 with 4:17 left in the third. White had all of Bellport’s points in the ensuing 11-3 run, capping it with a three from the top of the arc.
“We’re fortunate to have had him for four years, and it’s great to see him finishing strong,” assistant coach Kai Watkins said. “It really helps a team when its best player is its hardest worker. We have that in Jarell, and the rest of the team follows suit.”
Bellport still managed to surge to a lead with White scoring only two in the first quarter because of eight points from Lorenz Aikens. And as White faced some triple-teams in the low block, Robinson and Balfour kept the offense going. In those moments, the Clippers showed, as Watkins said, “We are no one-man band.”
“We have seven or eight guys who can really play,” he added. “If people don’t know that, they’re in for a surprise come playoff time.”