It's a badge of honor to be called upon to lock down the opposition's leading scorer. Half Hollow Hills West junior guard Richie Altenord relishes the opportunity.
Altenord bottled up, harassed and shut down Newfield playmaker Jarrell Cowell on Thursday night as Hills West beat the Wolverines, 57-38, in a Suffolk League III boys basketball game. The Colts improved to 6-0 in league play and Newfield dropped to 2-4.
"He held one of Long Island's top scorers to eight points," Hills West coach Bill Mitaritonna said. "He physically exhausted Cowell by the end of the fourth quarter. It was an extremely impressive effort to play defense like that and take so much pride in contributing to a win."
Altenord also contributed seven points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots.
Kian Dalyrimple (12 points) scored seven straight points as Hills West used its athleticism to open a 7-0 lead. Newfield cut the Colts' lead to 13-8 at the end of the first quarter, but the frenetic pace had the Wolverines one step behind.
"They're very athletic and we didn't take care of the ball," Newfield coach Anthony Agostino said. "The word is if you stop Jarrell Cowell, you stop Newfield. We have to find other ways to create opportunities and take some of the pressure off him."
Marty Colleran kept the Wolverines close with a short jump shot and two three-pointers in the second quarter, but the Colts forced the Wolverines to turn the ball over six times. Newfield never got closer than seven points.
"We shared the ball much better and never allowed them to get into any kind of rhythm," Mitaritonna said. "That's our style of play: to disrupt the other team and capitalize on their mistakes."
Campbell Mastrogiacomo opened the third quarter with a neat reverse layup to cut Newfield's deficit to 30-23, but Justin Leonard scored six straight points to extend the Colts' lead to 36-23. During the short burst, Leonard also had two blocks and two offensive rebounds.
"I play aggressively and go after the offensive rebounds," Leonard said. "I take pride in second-shot chances."
Jon Faraci, who had eight points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, hit a second three-pointer from long distance to give the Colts a 49-34 lead with 6:48 left in the game.
Newfield was held to one point for the first 7:08 of the fourth quarter.
Said Altenord, "It's all about the lockdown defense."