Off to an ideal start on Wednesday afternoon with 10 unanswered points, South Side easily could have entered the ensuing timeout satisfied with the early results.
Instead, the Cyclones decided to keep the pressure on by bringing the same early intensity
. No. 5 South Side maintained control throughout the game en route to a 63-29 road victory over No. 4 Floral Park in a Nassau Class A boys basketball quarterfinal.
Floral Park (16-4) tried to halt South Side’s momentum after falling into the early 10-point hole just two and a half minutes into the contest. The message in the Cyclones’ huddle, however, centered on maintaining their aggressive style of pressing defensively and getting out in transition.
"Just come out even harder and keep going," said Jamie Murphy, who led the way with 15 points. "Don’t stop, don’t let them back in the game, just keep going."
South Side (16-5) will face the winner of Manhasset/Plainedge in the semifinals at Hofstra University on March 1.
South Side coach Jerry D’Angelo said his team emphasized its energy level before the tipoff.
"We made a concerted effort that we’re coming into someone else’s gym and we wanted to match their intensity," D’Angelo said. "And I think we did at the very beginning and got some quality looks."
Murphy and company finished the first quarter with a 16-6 advantage and closed out the half with an 8-0 spurt over the final 3:24 They led 31-14 at the break.
South Side’s ability to consistently push the pace and score with great efficiency in transition has made them a difficult matchup for opponents throughout the season.
"That’s been our strong point all year," said Luke Schwartzberg who finished with 14 points. "Just getting up and down the floor and running. I think that’s our best aspect."
The Cyclones came out of halftime and immediately went on a 12-2 run. Schwartzberg notched eight points during the stretch before Josh Garelle’s layup capped it off with 2:28 to go in the third.
"Our press has been working all year and we just kept it going throughout the game," Murphy said.
South Side took a 49-22 lead into the fourth before closing out the victory and earning a trip to the county semifinals.
"We’ll enjoy the win for a couple of hours and then we’ll go watch Manhasset-Plainedge," D’Angelo said. "Two very quality teams that are very well-coached."