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North Babylon uses teamwork to get ahead in win over Half Hollow Hills East

North Babylon defeated host Half Hollow Hills East, 64-54, in a non-league boys basketball game on Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. (Credit: Newsday / Owen O'Brien)

Trying to game plan for the North Babylon boys basketball team is no easy task.

The one consistency for the Bulldogs is variation. North Babylon prides itself on the depth of its lineup and roster, rather than relying on a single individual to play at his best every night to deliver a victory. This was on display yet again Monday afternoon.

North Babylon had 10 different scorers — including nine in the first half — in its 64-54 victory over host Half Hollow Hills East in a non-league boys basketball game. Five players scored at least eight points and 12 points was the team high.

“That’s the thing about us,” said Kevin Blanchet, who scored 12 points. “For some teams, it’s one player, but we’re 15 deep. You can’t guard us, really. One day, I might go off, one day our bench players might go off. You don’t know who’s going to score that game.”

When North Babylon coach Brendan McCaffrey makes his starting lineup before every game, he doesn’t do so thinking these are going to be the five most important players in that particular contest. The action often dictates who plays the most minutes that day.

“It’s incredible,” McCaffrey said. “It doesn’t matter who starts, it matters who finishes in the game, that’s what I tell these kids. I think we’re one of the deepest teams in the county; you don’t know who we are putting in.”

After a first quarter tied at 13, the Bulldogs (7-2) scored the final 10 points of the second quarter to take a 31-21 advantage. Then they scored the first seven points of the third quarter to take a 17-point lead.

“That was key because we were up 10, but our mindset coming out of the half was it was 0-0,” Blanchet said. “They were coming and we had to keep playing. We lost to them last year in the playoffs and we didn’t want that again, so we had to keep pushing.”

Jordan Guice had 10 points, Alec Tabada had nine, and Brian Blanchet and Joshua Delice added eight apiece in the win. Xavier Lewis had 16 points and Frank Wilson had 14 for Half Hollow Hills East (3-6).

As the Bulldogs continue to play with the same team-first mentality as they did in last year’s 19-win season, they hope their unselfishness will lead to a deep postseason run.

“We play better when we move the ball, not in one-on-one situations,” Tabada said. “That’s when we play our best — as a team.”

“If we can move the ball together, play for each other rather than for our stats,” Blanchet added, “that can help us win every game.”

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