Panthers Survive Spirited Effort from Blind Brook, 51-43
By Mitch Silver
On a day that threatened a blustery winter storm but turned out to be just a lot of rain, visiting Blind Brook kept threatening to make a game of their contest against Rye Neck’s Boys’ Basketball team. But the 6-8 Trojans never quite pulled it off.
The Panthers, who defeated their archrivals two weeks ago by 18 points, didn’t let Blind Brook tie things up after taking a 9-4 first-quarter lead. Senior Ethan Lithgow hit a three-point shot and classmate RJ Hutt canned four of his game-high 25 points. Hutt also made a highlight-reel play, grabbing a rebound as he was falling out of bounds and passing over his head to a teammate.
The home side doubled their lead in the second period as Hutt nailed four more baskets and scored off a rebound with one second left in the half to go up 23-13.
Blind Brook tried a press but abandoned it early one when the Panthers dribbled their way out of trouble. Rye Neck stayed in a man-to-man defense most of the way, except for five minutes of a 1-3-1 zone.
The two teams played pretty much to a draw in the third quarter, with senior Ronan West scoring on a three-pointer of his own. Sophomore guard Noah Brookman hit a three in the period for the Trojans, one of four he’d produce on a 20-point night.
The fourth quarter started out 36-27 but threatened to become a nail-biter. However, Blind Brook could neither shoot well enough nor rebound their misses to make a real contest of it. Rye Neck tried to give the game away at the foul line, missing six of eight foul shots in the final period. But Luke West, Ronan’s twin brother, came to their rescue with a big rebound and put-back with three-and-a-half minutes left.
After the game, Head Coach Mike Denman took a moment to praise sophomore point guard Kyle Harris, who only scored a single basket but was a steady influence while he was in. “Kyle is my most-improved player. I can count on him when things get tough.”
The now 10-4 Panthers travel to take on 1-12 Lincoln High of Yonkers January 27 at 4:30 p.m.