Rising Hewlett has playoff hopes

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With Nassau County’s leading scorer serving as the ignition switch, Hewlett girls’ basketball appears on the rise under second-year head coach Anthony Scro.

Freshman guard Riley Weiss continued her torrid scoring pace with 30 points and added six rebounds as the Lady Bulldogs cruised to a 54-28 victory over Roosevelt on Jan. 6 for their sixth win in nine games. Juniors Alessandra Borsellino and Akayla Mack added nine and seven points, respectively, as Hewlett improved to 2-1 in Conference A-III.

“We’re happy with how we’ve played so far but we’re not satisfied,” Scro said. “We’re definitely improved from last season and it’s only just begun the way I’m looking at it. There’s still a long way to go and there’s a lot more we can do.”

The Lady Bulldogs went 7-12 overall in Scro’s first season at the helm and he purposely built a challenging non-conference schedule this winter despite a youthful roster featuring only three seniors. “The girls wanted to play strong competition and it’s only going to prep them better for the latter part of the season,” he said.

Hewlett’s non-conference battles in December included defending Nassau and Long Island Class A champion Sewanhaka and Class AA playoff teams East Meadow and Oceanside. Winning two of those three — all road games — served as a major confidence boost, Scro said.

“Beating Sewanhaka [65-53] showed the girls what they can do when they work together for all four quarters,” Scro said. “It was a disciplined game and it came after a bad loss to Floral Park. Looking back, that loss was one of the best things that could’ve happened to us.”

Weiss shot the lights out against Sewanhaka and finished with 34 points, including a 12-for-13 performance from the foul line. Sophomore Molly Williams added 13 points and 13 rebounds and was also close to automatic from the line, going 11 of 14. “It was a great experience playing a top program like Sewanhaka,” Scro said. “What they accomplished last season was addressed but I didn’t hammer it too much. I just wanted us to go out and be competitive and do the little things well.”

The results against East Meadow and Oceanside were mixed, with the common denominator being Weiss. She poured in 40 points in both games and enters this week’s action averaging 28.3 ppg. “Riley’s playing great and is everything a coach would want in a young athlete,” Scro said. “If she sees someone has a better shot, she’s giving the ball up. She puts the team ahead of everything else.”

Both Weiss and junior Mia Perkell are handing point-guard responsibilities. Mack, Williams and senior Eileen Pincus are handling the bulk of minutes at forward, while seniors Tina Zheng and Katie Korin along with sophomore Eden Ohayon are providing strong play off the bench.

“We’ve got a versatile lineup and everyone is contributing in a lot of different ways,” Scro said. “We set goals at the beginning and now we’re just focusing on the next game.”

The Lady Bulldogs visit conference favorite South Side this Saturday at noon.