She’s 5-5, so no one would have blamed Brentwood’s Ty’Zhea Hawkins if she had decided to fall back and concede a transition layup to 5-10 Kaitlin Cronin of Hauppauge.
But this was Hawkins’ night to shine.
Despite trailing by several strides, Hawkins never gave up on the play following a steal by Cronin at midcourt. Hawkins discovered another gear, chased down Cronin, elevated and emphatically swatted the layup attempt out of bounds.
“It’s just the competitive nature in me,” Hawkins said of the explosive block following Brentwood’s 48-31 road victory Tuesday night. “I work hard. The whole team works hard every day to do stuff like that. It’s all part of the grind.”
Hawkins was the key for the Indians (3-0). The junior guard slashed into the lane and knocked down short floaters and mid-range jump shots. Hawkins also applied relentless pressure on the Hauppauge ball-handlers. She had 18 points, five rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block.
“My teammates just trust me with the ball and making decisions,” Hawkins said.
Brentwood took control in the second half thanks to a 20-0 run. The game-deciding spurt began with a 4-0 mini-run to end the first half, giving the Indians a 21-17 lead. The stretch culminated with Brentwood leading 37-17 with 1:52 remaining in the third.
Katie Murphy’s 22-point effort kept the game within reach for Hauppauge (1-1) until Brentwood made its momentum-shifting run. Murphy scored 15 of Hauppauge’s 18 first-half points.
“We were hoping that just by wearing them down across the game that at some point there would be that breaking point,” Brentwood coach Chris Harrison said.
Talia Drakeford also sparked Brentwood by recording 12 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and a steal.
“We’re pretty confident right now, but we’re not letting it get to our head,” Drakeford said of the 3-0 start.
But given Hawkins is only 5-5, Drakeford couldn’t downplay her thoughts regarding the block of the night.
“I was very impressed,’’ she said. “She’s very strong and very athletic for a girl her size.”