This wasn't exactly how Nick Paquette expected to play in Smithtown West's League III opener: Sporting a long gash, wrist to elbow, sustained hours before after being tripped up playing soccer in gym class.
With his left arm wrapped up tight in bandages, his father was forced to scramble and buy the junior his very first shooting sleeve before tipoff at Riverhead Thursday.
Well, the sleeve is here to stay.
Paquette had a game-high 27 points and shot 6-for-9 from three-point range as the Bulls staged an explosive second quarter en route to a 64-33 rout of the Blue Waves.
"I've never even worn a shooting sleeve before," he said. "But I definitely, definitely think I'm going to keep it."
Despite an early lag, Smithtown West tied it at 14 at the end of the first quarter on back-to-back layups by Matt Misser -- baskets that ignited a 12-0 run that lasted till 2:44 left in the half.
Paquette had four treys, all from the top of the key, and a pull-up jumper in the 22-5 quarter. The Blue Waves (0-1), badly outrebounded by the likes of Paquette, Tyler Weigl (11 rebounds) and Billy Behrens, were 0-for-6 until Charles Manning's jumper ended the drought.
"It feels great to bounce back," after the tight loss to Harborfields last week, said Behrens, who had eight assists, two steals, seven rebounds and six points. "If we're hitting our shots and Nick is hitting his shots, we can score a lot."
Paquette's final three of the first half beat the buzzer from long range, while his last of the night, an exclamation point from (where else?) the top of the key, gave the Bulls (1-1) a 32-point lead.
"Between our offense and defense, it was a perfect storm," coach Mike Agostino said. "Nick had that gash on his arm, and he put on the sleeve and he was hot as a pistol."