Savion Lewis was well aware of what he and his Half Hollow Hills East teammates did Saturday in the Suffolk Class AA semifinals. The stylish junior guard rocked but was hardly shocked.
Lewis scored 16 of his 28 points in a game-breaking fourth quarter as No. 3 Half Hollow Hills East pulled away from No. 2 Brentwood, 75-59, to earn a place in the in the county finals for the first time in school history.
“That was our expectation — to make history,” said Lewis, who also had eight assists. “I’m not surprised. It’s what we expected since practice began.”
The Thunderbirds (19-4) will play for the county championship against No. 1 Bay Shore on Thursday at Stony Brook at 8 p.m. The Suffolk League II rivals split their two regular-season meetings. Brentwood, which lost in the county finals last season to Half Hollow Hills West after two consecutive county and Long Island championships, finished 18-5.
Lewis took over a game that was tied at 51 entering the fourth quarter. He scored five points during an 8-0 run that produced a 61-51 lead with 4:18 left. There was also a bit of history attached to the other three points of that burst, when rugged 6-4, 215-pound forward Kenny Mathurin drilled the first three-pointer of his varsity career.
“We kind of put him in lockdown mode for those kinds of shots,” Hills East coach Pete Basel said, before breaking into a huge grin. “I was screaming, ‘no-no-no!’ But it went in. I’ll take it.”
Mathurin totaled 14 points, mostly on putbacks around the hoop, while Kendall Nero-Clark drilled three from downtown on his way to a 16-point night. “I knew from the three scrimmages we had since the season ended that we were ready to play at a high level,” Basel said.
No one on either team played at Lewis’s level, however. He hit pull-up jumpers, sliced past defenders for layups, made 11 of 15 free throws and found teammates for easy baskets in transition. He scored seven points and had a steal and an assist during a 12-0 run that made the final score a bit misleading. Julien Crittendon’s three-pointer off a Lewis feed started the streak with the Indians trailing only 63-57 with 2:45 left.
““He’s a heady player. He knows what we need. Today we needed him to score in the second half,” Basel said. “This is what Savion thrives on, playing in this type of atmosphere in this type of game.”
In this type of style – fast and furious. “I love the open court when it’s just me and the other guy,” said Lewis, a slender 6-0 whippet. “My teammates trust me and they know I’ll come through in the clutch. I’m a winner.”
School history says he is correct.