Troia, Merola guide Manhasset past Glen Cove
Even after a week of Regents exams and midterms, the Manhasset boys basketball team was left with one final test.
There was only one question on it: What will happen when they take on a first-place team that has not lost in league play? The multiple choice answers were:
A) Alessandro Troia will have a huge first-half, B) Danny Merola will have a huge second half, C) Manhasset will emerge with a crucial, upset victory, or D) All of the above.
Those who answered D were correct.
Troia scored 16 of his 19 points in the first half, Merola had all 17 points in the second half and Manhasset aced its last exam of the week with a 65-55 win over host Glen Cove Friday night in Conference A-III.
"Midterm week is always a tough week," Merola said. "We're taking tests, we're drained mentally. But we didn't let it effect what we did on the court. This was obviously the biggest win of the season."
Manhasset (5-3) essentially led throughout, but began to pull away early in the fourth quarter. With Glen Cove pressing, Mikey Graham (14 points) was able to get behind the defense for easy layups in transition. He scored six points in a 10-2 run to open a 49-36 lead with just under six minutes left.
Merola, who scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, sealed the win by stealing the ball and going coast to coast for the layup and the foul for a three-point-play that put Manhasset ahead 56-42 with 3:17 to go.
Kewan Beebe led Glen Cove (7-1) with 23 points, including three three-pointers, and Yadiyah Letellier scored all 12 of his points in the second half.
The win was pivotal for the Indians, who have lost by a combined five points in their losses, as they fight with West Hempstead and Floral Park for the final two playoff spots in the conference. Which is why this game was a test they needed to pass.
"This was a really important win," Troia said. "We knew we could beat them; it was just a matter of executing. We know we are capable of beating anyone in the county."