Michael Jurzynski tried to line up his steps towards the rim a few times in the second half. He had dunking on his mind.
The first attempt for the Masters sophomore failed before the big man could leave his feet.
“One of the times I was off balance and then I got fouled, so I couldn’t get it” Jurzynski said. “But I got the next one.”
Jurzynski’s next one was a thunderous two-handed slam, all but sealing Masters’ 56-40 win at home on Thursday against Rye Country Day. Jurzynski, a 6-foot-4 forward from Pearl River, had 13 of his 20 points in the second half and pulled down 14 rebounds in the win.
Masters, coming off its first loss of the season to Brunswick, used a 15-2 run early in the second half to turn a one-point deficit into a convincing win. Most of it centered around Jurzynski, who dominated the paint on both ends.
“In the second half, we started communicating on (defense), started pushing the ball and we started feeding our big man,” said Masters guard Leroy Isiah Hayden. “In the first half we couldn’t get it to him, and that’s what gets us going.”
Hayden had nine points and Joshua Bunch, a point guard from Hempstead, added 11 points and three assists for Masters.
Rye Country Day came out firing, building an early lead behind the hot shooting of junior guard Tyler Fernandez. The Mount Vernon native, who came in averaging 25 points per game, had 15 in the first half.
But Masters concentrated its defense on Fernandez after the break and limited him to 22 points with eight rebounds and five steals.
Masters’ offense was its best defense. It outscored RCDS 33-16 after halftime, primarily because it outrebounded the Wildcats 40-24 in the game. Brandon Grant had 11 rebounds in the win.
“We have two and a half weeks and we didn’t want to end this part of the season with a loss,” Jurzynski said. “It would have killed us for two and a half weeks to have to wait.”
Despite its youth, Masters feels it’s primed for a big season.
“In our league, we feel like we should go out and win every single game,” Jurzynski said. “With hard work and focus on the defensive end.”
Said Bunch: “It was a little shaky at first. We knew we had a lot of talent but we didn’t know how we’d play together. It’s been pretty good so far.”
Reach Kevin Devaney Jr. at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MSGVarsityKDJ