Bay Shore downs Hempstead in opener
Be prepared League II, Bryson Lassiter is back.
Lassiter scored 19 points, while adding three rebounds and four steals as the Bay Shore Marauders knocked off Hempstead, 55-39, in non-league play.
Lassiter who missed the entire 2011-12 season due to a torn meniscus scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the first half, most of which sparked the Marauders’ comeback victory.
“It was hard. I had to do a lot of leg workouts to get this knee better. It took a little while longer than I thought,” said the junior guard. “I thought I would be back at the end of last season, but it took longer.”
The wait was well worth it.
With Bay Shore (1-0) trailing 15-6 in the first quarter, Lassiter hustled for a defensive rebound, pushed the tempo up the court then finished on a nice layup through the Tiger defense. He then followed up with a tremendous three-pointer from long distance as the first quarter came to end with Bay Shore trailing 17-11.
The second quarter was where Bay Shore really began to shine.
After Hempstead (0-1) got a bucket by Arnold Coward to extend the lead back to 9, the Marauders would go on a 6-0 run to put them within three points. However, Hempstead would immediate follow with their own 6-0 run, but Bay Shore again followed with an 11-0 run that would close out the first half. Lassiter scored five of the 11, while Jason Wright (17 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) beat the buzzer with a two-pointer to give Bay Shore their first lead since 2-0.
“Truthfully [Bryson] was ready to come back in the first round of the playoffs last year, but I didn’t want to bring him back early and do anything to hurt himself going forth into his junior year because that is really important,” said Head Coach Gary Williams. “He’s been working hard. He’s had a good offseason…He can do whatever he wants on the floor, but now he has help."
The third quarter showed just how much help Bryson has.
After a Gerrell Irvin free throw made it a three-point advantage, Hempstead tied the game up at 29 with a Coward three-pointer. From that point on, Bay Shore closed out the quarter on a 12-4 run that all but iced the ballgame.
Irvin shined in the quarter on the offensive and defensive glass as he tallied most of his game-high 11 rebounds, while also adding 5 points and a block and steal apiece.
“As we say it, that’s what we pay you to do. If this was the pros, that’s what you get paid to do, to rebound, be a defensive presence, and make some layups,” said Coach Williams on the senior. “In the second half he did that, first half he got into foul trouble…He’s harder on himself than I am, he always wants to work, he’s passionate about rebounding and you are going to be seeing a lot of double-digit rebounds from him.”
In the fourth quarter, Bay Shore opened up with a 14-0 run that gave the Marauders a 22-point lead over the Tigers. Wright started the run with a tremendous dunk that pumped up the crowd and his squad as Bay Shore would go on to cruise to the victory.
Tidell Pierre led the Tigers with 13 points and 8 rebounds, while John Blocker contributed 8 points and 5 rebounds and Arnold Coward finished with 9 points and 4 rebounds.
“I will take it, I will take it, I will take it,” said Coach Williams. “That’s what I preach to them. I preach to them that we need the momentum of that first win. This group has never won the first game, so I thought that was very important.”
“It feels a little different,” said Bryson. “It feels a lot better to be back.”
Having Bryson back is another thing that Coach Williams will take as well.
Follow Bill on Twitter @MSGVBillMueller