On his first shot of the 2011-12 season, Emile Blackman had the answer: The 6-4 forward from Half Hollow Hills West hit a three-point shot from the left wing. His second shot was from the right wing -- another three, another answer. His third shot? Yep, a straightaway trey.
What was the question? Can Blackman, who has been a dynamic scorer on the baseline for back-to-back Suffolk Class AA championship teams, move his game to the perimeter? As Marv Albert, who used to broadcast games when Blackman's uncle, Mark Jackson, played in New York, would say, "Yesssss!"
Blackman nailed five threes and scored 25 points in less than three quarters as the Colts were dominant in a 78-54 victory over Longwood Wednesday in East Islip's Holiday Tournament. It was the season opener for both teams.
"I don't think I had five threes all last year," Blackman said. Knowing that his future in college is as a perimeter player, Blackman dedicated himself to long-range shooting in the offseason. "I'd take 500 to 1,000 shots a day," Blackman said. "It's all muscle memory. At first, my arms and shoulders hurt. When they stopped hurting, I started taking 2,000 shots a day."
Now, it's opponents who will feel pain. Blackman seemed comfortable on every trey Wednesday, moving without the ball in the rhythm of the fast-paced Colts' offense. The new point guard, after the graduation of two-year star Tavon Sledge, is Mical Boyd, a transfer from Hempstead, who scored 12 points and kept the ball moving -- often in Blackman's direction.
Neneyo Mate-Kole came off the bench to contribute 12 points and sophomore Terry Harris, brother of Tobias and Tyler, scored nine points in his first varsity start.
Hills West established control early, with a 25-10 first-quarter advantage that grew to 70-33 early in the fourth quarter when the Colts' bench scored 10 straight points to cap a 28-2 run fueled by pressure defense and numerous fast-break points.
By that time, Blackman liked what he'd seen of a team on which he is the only returning starter. It's his team, but Blackman said he doesn't look at it that way. "I see five guys who can put up big numbers at any time," he said. "Tonight it happened to be me."