The South Side boys’ basketball team did not have the prettiest performance of the season last Saturday night, but it was still good enough to extend its lengthy winning streak and advance to the next round of the playoffs.
Eamon McGowan and Quinn Shannon each had five points during a decisive third-quarter run as the third-seeded Cyclones rallied from eight points down in the second half for a 50-39 win over a spunky Garden City squad to advance to the quarterfinals of the Nassau Class A playoffs.
Ryan Ledwith added 12 points and Jack McDonald had a strong game on the boards with 13 rebounds for South Side, which will carry a 14-game winning streak into this Saturday’s game against No. 11 Mepham at 1 p.m. The Pirates advanced by stunning sixth-seeded Valley Stream South with a 56-53 victory.
“Give Garden City credit, they played hard,” South Side head coach Jerry D’Angelo said. “We were able to get a nice little run in the third quarter, we got in transition, stuck some outside jump shots, and, in the end, we made some big stops.”
The Trojans (14-7) were not intimidated by one of the hottest teams on Long Island and jumped out to an 11-4 lead with two minutes remaining in the opening quarter. The Cyclones (17-3) had trouble sustaining any offense for most of the first half, but did start to find their stride late in the second quarter and used a 7-0 run to take a 16-15 lead on Ledwith’s layup with 1:34 left.
But Brian Wood’s 3-pointer and a baseline drive by Joseph Woods with 38 seconds left gave Garden City a 20-16 lead at intermission. Trojans leading scorer Luke Long began the second half with a trey and a 3-point play to push the lead to eight before the Cyclones took over.
Shannon converted a pretty feed from Ledwith and then drilled a 3-pointer on South Side’s next possession to cut the deficit to three with 6:10 left. It was senior’s only points of the game.
Just over 30 seconds later, Ledwith hit a jumper from the right side to give the Cyclones the lead they would not relinquish. McGowan, who finished with a game-high 17 points, converted a 3-point play and a turnaround jumper sandwiched around a leaning basket by Jake Murphy to cap the 18-0 run.
“When we play hard, we notice that we play so much better,” McGowan said. “We play five guys on a team, everyone moves, and we all pick each other up when one falls down.”
The Trojans got as close as 40-37 with 4:36 left, but South Side scored the next 10 points to put the game away. Ledwith had four points during the run, McGowan hit a jumper from the key and Murphy converted two more shots from the line.
Like Garden City, South Side did not play Mepham during the regular season.
“They’re big,” D’Angelo said. “They’ve got a lot of athleticism [and] they’re physical. This is going to be a tough one for us.”