It will be difficult for Savion Lewis to top the birthday present he gave his father Sunday.
Playing at Nassau Coliseum on his father’s birthday, the Half Hollow Hills East guard scored a school-record 50 points in a 90-68 victory over Chaminade.
“I was trying to go for 55,” Lewis said with a laugh. That’s the age his father, Jeph, turned Sunday.
And in terms of where it ranks among birthday gifts from Lewis to his father?
“Probably the best,” said Lewis, who sat out the final six minutes. “I told him I was going to try to do a little something, but it’s definitely one of the best presents I’ve given him.”
Lewis electrified the crowd by scoring 34 points in the first half, including 20 in the second quarter. The 6-1 senior hit three-pointers, drove the lane, made acrobatic layups while falling, scored from mid-range and even had a breakaway dunk.
“It’s amazing. It feels like the rim got wider,” Lewis said. “I was on fire, so I just kept on shooting and going and it felt really good.”
Lewis, a returning Newsday All-Long Island selection who has committed to Quinnipiac, made his presence known from the opening game of the season, when he scored 37 points in a victory over Brentwood.
“He’s just playing at another level and it started the first game,” coach Pete Basel said. “He’s averaging over 30 [points per game]. He’s just a special player.”
Lewis’ explosive second quarter fueled a 38-point second quarter that gave the Thunderbirds (12-2) a 55-29 halftime lead. Hills East led 76-47 after three quarters.
“He was just locked in and we just fed off it,” said Kendall Nero-Clark (17 points). “Our defense amped up after we saw him clicking. It just all transferred in.”
Hills East has challenged itself with a difficult non-league schedule throughout the season, but the players were even more excited about the opportunity to play a historic program in Chaminade, the defending Long Island CHSAA champion.
“It was the publics vs. the Catholics, and to us, that means a lot because we don’t really play a lot of Catholic schools,” Lewis said. “So we wanted to play with the best of the best and show out with the best of the best.”
Thomas Long had 15 points and Michael O’Connell added 10 for Chaminade (12-2).
The chance to face a top team at the newly renovated Coliseum brought additional motivation for the players.
“It was beautiful,” Nero-Clark said. “We had people here supporting us. We were definitely amped up for this game and brought out the intensity and it showed in the score.”
Even Lewis was taken aback by learning he had set the school record for points in a game — and by reaching 50, for that matter.
“You only see it on TV and stuff like that,” Lewis said. “And to actually doing stuff like that, it’s amazing. It’s a blessing.”