James Notias of Manhasset goes up for a shot in the second...

James Notias of Manhasset goes up for a shot in the second half of a Nassau boys basketball game against South Side on Saturday. Credit: Neil Miller

South Side emerged on the winning side against Manhasset in the Nassau Class A boys basketball championship game last March, then won by 20 last month when the teams met at Manhasset.

Now here they were on Saturday meeting again, this time at South Side’s home.

“It was a lot of motivation for us [after losing in January], even last year losing to them in the county championship,” Manhasset senior guard James Notias said. “We’ve been all wanting to get that one against them since.”

They got what they wanted this time. Manhasset emerged with a 67-58 win. Notias scored 15 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter to help hold off the Cyclones.

South Side had been undefeated in Nassau AA-V. The Cyclones (11-1 in the conference) could’ve clinched at least a share of the title by winning. They likely would’ve taken it outright with two sub-.500 teams left on the schedule. Now Manhasset (11-1 in the conference) could share it with them if both teams win their last two games.

But this was supposed to be a rebuilding season for Manhasset, which is 13-5 overall.

“We have all new guys except for James from the starting team,” coach George Bruns said. “ … I didn’t know what we had in the new group. They’re inexperienced.  . . . When kids are coached six days a week, they get better.”

The Cyclones are 15-3 overall despite having just two players back with starting experience from their state final four team — senior forwards Patrick Mullin and Ryan Kennedy, who was out injured for this game.

“We’re battling some injuries just like every team,” coach Jerry D’Angelo said. “I still think somehow we have to find our way sometimes.”

South Side didn’t find its way at the line, going 16-for-31 compared to Manhasset’s 13-for-18. Manhasset also found its way defensively and on the boards. The Fulgieri brothers, Evan (12) and Matt (11), combined for 23 rebounds. And Spiro Venetis added 17 points.

“They played very hard,” D’Angelo said.

Manhasset’s advantage was 55-44 with a little less than four minutes left. Then Mullin, who scored 19, went on a 7-0 run in 43 seconds to slice it to four.

But Evan Fulgieri countered with a foul-line jumper and Notias hit two free throws and a layup to make it 61-51.

“James is a force,” Bruns said.

South Side led at 29-28 at halftime, but Venetis and Notias each nailed a three in a 10-0 third-quarter burst, allowing Manhasset to open a 48-34 lead.

“I just thought the energy that the bench had and the energy that we had on the court helped us a lot,” Venetis said.

Could these teams see each other again in the AA playoffs?

“Could very well happen,” Bruns said. “Could very well happen.”

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