Terry Harris screamed and then further released his anger by taking a quick walk down the hall.
He had fouled out with 2:19 left in the game and after he had just scored nine points and made three steals within the first six minutes of the fourth quarter to help give his team a nine-point lead. Moments later, though, Harris returned to the Half Hollow Hills West bench and told his teammates, "Let's get this win."
Despite its star player being relegated to the bench for the final two minutes, host Hills West held on to defeat North Babylon, 65-56, in a non-league game early Tuesday afternoon.
"It was tough to deal with right away," said Harris, a senior, who filled up the stat sheet with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five steals. "But right after, I knew I had to root on my team. I knew we were going to win it."
Harris gave himself good reason to think that way. After a lackluster start to the game, the guard erupted with six points off three turnovers in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter to lead Hills West to a 10-0 run. The Colts led 47-33 with six minutes left.
"After the first two minutes of that fourth quarter," Harris said, "that was the game."
Well, not quite. North Babylon's Melshawn McPherson scored nine of his 17 points in the final quarter to keep his team in the game. After Harris fouled out, Zach Moore, who finished with 14 points, made field goals to cut the deficit to seven points inside the final minute on two occasions. But down the stretch, that's as close as North Babylon came.
Hills West made 13 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal it.
"I knew we could still win this game," said Jamal Starling, whom teammates refer to as "Nate" because of his resemblance to NBA player Nate Robinson. "Terry's a big part of this team and we need him a lot. But it was huge for us that we got it done."
At 5-8, Starling is one of the shortest players on the court. On Tuesday, he came up big. He was 7-for-8 from the free-throw line while Harris was out during the fourth quarter.
Hills West's defense forced North Babylon to take tough shots from the perimeter and clogged the middle throughout the game and especially early. The Colts led 26-22 at the half.
Then Hills West relied on its press late in the game. It forced a bevy of turnovers and led to transition baskets, mostly by Harris and Ross Greenfield (18 points).
And toward the end, it also helped to have an extra voice screaming instruction from the bench.
"Terry's defense is the best on the team," Hills West coach Bill Mitaritonna said. "And he fouled out but the greatest thing was he turned into an assistant coach."