It may not be there prettiest win of the season, but Central Islip will take it.
Ishiah Booker hit a pair of clutch three-pointers while Malcolm Pridgeon contributed four points and a key block in the final seconds as Central Islip edged Bay Shore, 50-44, on Tuesday afternoon.
With his Musketeers (14-2, 9-1 in League II) squad trying to complete a comeback which once saw Bay Shore take an 18-point lead at 30-12 early in the third quarter, Booker hit back-to-back three-pointers midway through the fourth quarter to give Central Islip their first lead since early in the first quarter. One of those big threes included a near NBA-range type distance with a 6-foot-6 Bay Shore defender coming at him.
“I didn’t know it was going in,” said Booker. “I hoped it was going in, and it really helped my team.”
Bay Shore (9-6, 5-4 in League II) led at halftime with a 24-12 lead, but would immediately open up the third quarter on a 6-0 run that expanded the lead to a game-high 18 points. However, Central Islip would answer right back with a 10-2 run that would shrink the lead back down to a manageable 10-point advantage.
“Our coach at halftime gave us a little speech about how to play tough,” Pridgeon said. “They were tough opponents, but we came out in the second half and got it done.”
The Musketeers still trailed 33-25 to start the fourth quarter, though that was short lived as Central Islip would dominate the beginning stages of the period by going on a 15-0 run. To cap that run was the pair of three-pointers for junior Booker (12 points, 4 steals).
After the Central Islip offensive was stalled for much of the first three quarters of the game, the Musketeers locked down on defense and caused costly turnovers for the Marauders. A few of the main catalysts were David McKenzie (7 points, 3 steals), Corey Pope (10 points, 4 rebounds), and Booker who each had a pair of steals in the second half. While on the glass, Pridgeon and Tim McKenzie (9 points, 8 rebounds) showed their toughness and determination to transition into fast-break buckets.
“It just means that we can hit shots when we have to,” Booker says. “We use that energy that we have to cause turnovers defensively at the end.”
Bryson Lassiter shined for Bay Shore as he led all scorers with 19 points, but he was impressive in all aspects of the ball contributing nine steals and four rebounds. Gerrell Irvin’s grit was on display as he collected eight points and 10 rebounds before being ejected with his second technical foul with 5:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Following the Irvin ejection, Central Islip really took the bull by its horns.
The Musketeers would close out the game by outscoring Bay Shore 12-9 en route to their six-point victory over their league rival.
“This means that we can get the job done when we need it,” Booker continues, “No team can beat us when we come out as a team.”
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