Mike Notias of Manhasset goes up for a layup and...

Mike Notias of Manhasset goes up for a layup and two points at the Nassau Class A boys basketball semifinal against South Side on Tuesday at Hofstra. Credit: Dawn McCormick

South Side managed to hang with Manhasset in the first quarter, finishing it even. But the top seed in the Nassau Class A boys basketball tournament is the top seed for a reason.

Turnovers became the dark side for South Side in the second quarter. Manhasset took charge on defense, and on offense, opening a 14-point halftime cushion.

Manhasset went on to take a 66-43 semifinal win over the fifth-seeded Cyclones Tuesday at Hofstra behind 16 points and six assists from Liam Connor,15 points and five assists from Mike Notias and 11 points and seven rebounds from Liam Buckley.

"Like Kobe [Bryant] said, the job’s not done," Notias said.

Indeed now it’s on to the championship game. This 20-1 team will try to claim its first county crown in three years when it meets No. 3 Garden City (17-3) Saturday at 5 p.m. back at Hofstra.

"We’ll be ready for it because our biggest focus with the coaches is if we prepare the right way, we can win any game," Connor said. "The most important thing for us is we know all the guys we have in our locker room, we all believe in each other."

These guys were in a 12-12 tie after eight minutes.

Matt Perfetto then buried a three from the left corner 16 seconds into the second quarter for Manhasset. Teammate James Morris, a 6-8 junior who came off the bench, scored the next six points on layups. And the 6-4 Connor made a layup to cap an 11-0 burst.

By the time the period was over, Manhasset had outscored South Side 18-4 and owned a 30-16 advantage.

"We didn’t do a good job handling the ball," Cyclones coach Jerry D’Angelo said. "We didn’t do a good job against their pressure.

"They’ve got great size. They shoot the ball well. They’ve got good guards. They’re physical. They’re aggressive. They’re a very good team."

Perfetto and Connor each hit a three and Connor made a layup to start the third — 38-16, timeout, South Side.

The Cyclones, who got 14 points from both Jamie Murphy and Rob Pericolosi, couldn’t get it under 16 from there. Connor scored 11 in the third to help make it a 47-29 game. The 6-5 Buckley scored eight in the fourth. The lead reached 26.

"We play good defense," Manhasset coach George Bruns said. "We’re pretty solid. … We have some firepower offensively. Sometimes our defense gets our offense going."

Despite the loss, D’Angelo left with hope after a 16-6 finish.

"We’re very young," he said. "We only have four seniors. So I like what the future holds for me."

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