Playing its fifth game in 10 days, South Side dug out of an early 18-point hole to give highly touted Deer Park a run for its money as part of the Nassau-Suffolk boys’ basketball challenge held at Uniondale High School last Saturday.
The Cyclones scored 15 straight spanning the first and second quarters but ultimately fell, 57-46. Senior Ryan O’Shea led the offense with 11 points and junior Chris Thomas added 10.
“I’m hoping we’re starting to turn the corner at the right time,” South Side head coach Jerry D’Angelo said. “We’re enforcing the defense because we have to be able to grind out wins more than we have in recent seasons. We’re not built to score 70 points, and that’s OK.”
Deer Park’s 57 points was a season low. The Falcons cracked 80 in four of their previous six games and defeated Comsewogue, 90-54, just four days before matching up with the Cyclones. “Deer Park is an explosive team and I thought we did a really nice job after the first five minutes,” D’Angelo said. “It’s something we can build on.”
D’Angelo was looking forward to fielding a 100 percent healthy lineup for the first time in a conference game this season at Carey on Tuesday, after press time, in hopes of evening the A-I mark at 3-3. Senior James Kesicier (back injury) got on the court for the first time last Friday evening and had 10 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in a 40-37 victory at Great Neck North.
“It’s big we’ll have James for the last seven conference games,” D’Angelo explained. “He’s a bigger guard at 6-foot-1, and he can shoot and distribute. It adds depth to the backcourt and he can defend some forwards if we need him to.”
The Cyclones (4-6 overall) held Great Neck North to just one point over the final 11 minutes. “We rebounded better in the second half and protected the ball in the fourth quarter,” D’Angelo said. “ Great Neck North is always a tough place to win.”
O’Shea scored 16 points, close to his average through 10 games, and senior Matt Trenchney added 12. Trenchney missed the Deer Park game but was likely to return to face Carey. “Ryan’s our offensive leader and workhorse playing about 31 minutes a game,” D’Angelo said of O’Shea, who averages 15.2 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks. “He’s so vital to everything we do.”
Trenchney has been a consistent scorer, D’Angelo said, while senior Will Speechley, juniors Luke Kelleher and Peter Pellegrini, and sophomore Eamon McGowan are logging important minutes.
In a rematch of the past two Nassau Class A championship games, the Cyclones led two-time defending champ Elmont in the third quarter Jan. 8 but couldn’t overcome turnover issues in a 49-40 road defeat.
“Now that we’re healthy we’re finally getting into a rotation that’ll hopefully carry us the rest of the way,” D’Angelo said. “We just need to clean things up a bit.”