Woodhouse leads H'fields over Hills West
It may not mean much on December 28, but Harborfields proved Wednesday that for now, they are the top team in Suffolk.
Lucas Woodhouse scored 20 points and added a bevy of assists and Justin Ringen had a game-high 23 as the Tornadoes (4-2) defeated host Half Hollow Hills West, 78-66, in a non-league game between of two of Long Island's best teams.
The Tornadoes held in check Hills West star Emile Blackman, who had just six points through the first three quarters before scoring 13 in the fourth to finish with a team-high 19.
Woodhouse's superior playmaking, Ringen's accurate shooting, Harborfields' vexing zone defense and a surprisingly large contribution from big man Chris Brady frustrated the two-time defending Long Island Class AA champion Colts, who at one point trailed by 21 in the fourth quarter.
Blackman showed flashes of his All-Long Island talent, cutting the Tornadoes' lead to seven with just over a minute to go in the fourth, but Hills West (3-2) never got any closer.
Harborfields was in control, opening up an early 14-4 lead and frustrating the Colts with a zone that kept Blackman and fellow slashers Mical Boyd and Terry Harris out of the paint.
Offensively, Woodhouse was the orchestrator, setting up teammates with nifty no-look passes and nailing clutch free throws late to put the game out of reach. Ringen benefitted from the Tornadoes' fast-paced ball movement, which led to repeated open looks for the senior sharpshooter.
Harborfields also got a boost from 6-9 junior Chris Brady, who had 10 points and dominated the paint on both ends of the court. Brady grabbed five offensive rebounds in the second quarter alone as the Tornadoes took a 40-30 halftime lead. Brady also had three consecutive blocks in a 42-second sequence in the third quarter.
"[Rebounding] is something that coach [Chris Agostino] and I work on in practice," Brady said. "We just go through drills, trying to get offensive and defensive rebounds."
Brady no doubt benefitted from the absence of Hills West big man Neneyo Mate-Kole, a 6-6 junior who is out with a knee injury until February.
But it was Woodhouse's precision ball movement, Ringen's ability to stretch the defense and Hills West's inability to penetrate the zone that made the biggest difference.
There are still two months to go before the playoffs begin in Suffolk; there's still time for Mate-Kole to recover and still time for Hills West to reclaim the title of the dominant team in Suffolk. But on Wednesday, those bragging rights went to Harborfields.