The Five Towns will have representation in the Nassau Class A boys’ basketball championship game, but it’s not the team most people expected. For the first time in school history, Hewlett has advanced to the county finals.
The sixth-seeded Bulldogs were lights-out in disposing of No. 7 Floral Park, 82-47, in Monday night’s unlikely semifinal matchup at SUNY Old Westbury between teams that upset the No. 3 and 2 seeds, respectively, in the quarterfinals. Senior Avery Feldman continued his postseason dominance with 30 points, including 18 in the first half, and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Hewlett into this Saturday’s title game against No. 4 Valley Stream South, another newcomer to the finals, at 1 p.m. at Adelphi University.
“It feels great to be in the finals,” said Feldman, a three-time All-County center who nailed five shots from three-point land and has 83 points and 37 rebounds in three playoff victories. “We got knocked out in the first round when I was a freshman, in the semifinals when I was a sophomore, and in the quarterfinals last year,” he added. “We’re flying now.”
Junior Ryan Steinberg scored all 14 of his points in the second half and senior Dimitri Baptiste added 13 to go with a strong defensive effort against Floral Park’s Justin Butler. Kevin Cluess led the Knights with 10 points. Butler was held to eight.
“Avery’s been playing tremendous and we’re riding him, but he’s had a lot of help,” Hewlett head coach Bill Dubin said. “We’ve done something no other Hewlett team has done in 60 years and that’s get to the finals. We know we have a tough game on Saturday, but we’ll be prepared.”
Valley Stream South, which beat the Bulldogs in the quarterfinals last winter, topped No. 9 Carey in the other semifinal, 55-40. Carey was coming off an upset of top-ranked Lawrence. “Everyone said this was a wide-open tournament from the beginning,” Dubin said.