Making its 14th playoff appearance in the last 15 seasons, Hewlett exploded for 50 points over the second and third quarters on the way to defeating visiting North Shore, 77-61, in a Nassau Class A boys’ basketball outbracket game Thursday night.
The 15th–seeded Bulldogs (11-8) scored 21 of the last 32 points of the first half, with senior Brett Karkus providing a dozen of those from long range, to break open a close game and never let the Vikings (10-10) within single digits in the second half. Karkus scored a career-high 31 points and added eight assists, freshman Ryan Weiss had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and senior Darren Spencer chipped in 10 points and 13 boards. Juniors Phil LaRosa (18) and Jack Ledden (14) scored in double figures for No. 18 North Shore, which led 10-9 early in the second quarter.
“It’s in big games like this you want your best players to step up,” Hewlett head coach Bill Dubin said. “If they don’t, you can be one-and-done. We did a lot of things well tonight and everyone played well. I think the only thing we could’ve done better was free throws.”
The Bulldogs went 9-for-17 from the line, with all coming in the second half. It was their strong shooting from long range, particularly from Karkus, that spelled the end of North Shore’s season. Hewlett travels to No. 2 Long Beach on Saturday at noon.
“They were lights-out and we didn’t expect them to shoot as well as they did even though they have some good shooters,” Vikings head coach Kevin Carpenter said. “They found a rhythm in that second quarter and made it an uphill battle for us. I’m proud of our guys and how hard they played. It’s a pretty young team.”
North Shore started slow offensively and trailed 9-2 with only 3:25 remaining in the first quarter when Carpenter used a timeout to settle down a group with no seniors in the starting five. The Vikings responded with an eight-point run to take a momentary lead before Hewlett’s offense found another gear.
The Bulldogs scored 27 points in the second quarter, their second-highest output in any quarter this season according to Dubin, and took a 36-24 lead at halftime. Karkus drained four treys and had 14 points in the quarter, while junior Jesse Korkos had one three-pointer and a backdoor layup off a nifty feed from Spencer.
Spencer had his best offensive game since a 15-point performance against Glen Cove in the conference opener Dec. 18. The lefty big man kept North Shore’s defense honest with points in the paint as well as from the top of the key. Hewlett also got energy off the bench in the third quarter from senior Laurent Dovilier.
Weiss scored eight of his points in the fourth to help keep the Vikings at an arm’s length. “He definitely didn’t show any freshman jitters,” Dubin said of Weiss, who averages 17 points per game.
North Shore sophomores Dan Quigley and David Berlin had nine and seven points, respectively. “They’ve got a young, scrappy team,” Dubin said.