Savion Lewis has elevated Half Hollow Hills East to previously undiscovered heights, turning that into common practice the last two seasons. On Saturday, he’ll embrace that challenge again.
“I look forward to it a lot,” said Lewis, Hills East’s star point guard and Long Island’s top scorer, who will lead the Thunderbirds to their first appearance in the state Class AA boys basketball semifinals at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday against McQuaid Jesuit at Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton. “I think the further we get, the hungrier we get. We want to keep on making history. I’m all for the challenge.”
Lewis had 21 points, seven assists and six steals in a 69-54 victory over Uniondale on March 11 that produced the first Long Island championship in program history for Hills East (23-3). The team’s rise to prominence began taking shape last season when the Thunderbirds won their first Suffolk Class AA and Suffolk overall titles.
“When you have a special player like him, all the other players feed off him and his work ethic,” Hills East coach Peter Basel said. “It’s not a one-man show.”
If Lewis encounters consistent double-teams, Basel implored everyone, not just renowned secondary scoring threat Julien Crittendon, to step up.
“We worked on that last week in practice,” Basel said. “The other four guys have to get open. They have to set screens and get into the driving and passing lanes, and Lewis will find them.”
Amityville and Greenport also will compete in state semifinal games in Binghamton. In Class A, the Warriors (25-1) will face defending champion Irondequoit at 9 a.m. Saturday, and in Class C, Greenport (22-3) will take on undefeated Lake George at 3 p.m. on Friday.
Amityville’s 84-71 victory over previously undefeated Garden City on March 11 behind the stellar performances of guards Josh Serrano (29 points) and Jayson Robinson (23 points) clinched the Warriors’ first Long Island crown since 2013.
“I feel like we’re gonna win this game,” Serrano said. “We’re prepared mentally and physically.”
Said Amityville coach Gordon Thomas, “We want to stick with the game plan that we started a year ago — play with high intensity, enthusiasm, pressure defense and have fun.”
Greenport sophomore point guard Ahkee Anderson, who had 28 points, nine rebounds and six assists in a Class C Southeast Regional final against Alexander Hamilton, will be a tone-setter for the Porters against 2017 Class C runner-up Lake George.
“Ahkee plays better in the bigger games,” Greenport coach Ev Corwin said. “I’ve told him I want him to be a little more aggressive early on in games, and he has been.”
The Porters also present a quality complement in the post.
“Every game, our strategy is to try to drop it in to Julian Swann at 6-4, 260,” Corwin said. “We like to try to work inside-out.”