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* Watch this game in its entirety on Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m. on MSG Varsity (iO CH 14) *
HARRISON, N.Y. — With spanking new jerseys on their backs and a slew of TV cameras detailing their every move, Greeley coach Dave Fernandes expected a little more juice from his team on Wednesday at Harrison.
But he wasn't about to argue with the bottom line, as Greeley (4-3) overcame a rough first-half shooting performance to secure a 54-49 league win over the Huskies.
“We couldn't make a shot,” said Quakers coach Dave Fernandes, who saw his team go 5-for-23 from the field in the first half. “But don't take anything away from Harrison. I thought their game plan was really good. At the end, we played tough and did what we had to do to win the game.”
Translated: Teddy Graves and Harrison Brown took over.
Greeley's dynamic junior duo combined for 20 second-half points to help the Quakers surmount a narrow 20-18 halftime deficit.
“They are starting to play together a little bit better,” Fernandes said. “They are our one-two punch.”
Graves, a powerful presence down on the blocks, grabbed eight boards and scored eight of his season-high 12 points during the third quarter. The 6-1, 175-pound small forward dazzled the crowd with a handful of acrobatic moves around the rim, giving the previously dormant Quakers a much-needed jolt of adrenaline. Overall, Greeley outscored Harrison 17-11 in the third to grab a 35-31 lead heading into the fourth.
Brown, who picked up a pair of first-quarter fouls, was relegated to the bench for much of the first half. He then picked up another foul at the onset of the third.
“I kept (Brown) on the bench the whole first half,” Fernandes said. “I didn't want to take a chance. And then he picked up the third foul right away and I told him don't play, don't foul and just let (Harrison) have it, but that takes away from what he is.”
Rest-assured, Brown found a perfect balance in the second half. He came out of the locker room with a vengeance, using his spider-like 6-4 frame to terrorize Harrison on both ends of the court. Brown tallied 10 of his 14 points in the second half, showcasing unrivaled burst in transition and supreme body control around the basket. He also pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds.
Of course, it wasn't all about Brown and Graves. Teammates Brett Klein (14 points, 3 rebounds) and Justin Ciero (12 points, 1 rebound) also played big roles. Klein kept the Quakers afloat during the woeful start, scoring seven of Greeley's 18 first-half points. Ciero, a star quarterback on the gridiron, played the role closer, burying nine fourth-quarter points to help stave off upset-minded Harrison.
Sophomore sensation Coby Lefkowitz led the Huskies with a team-high 14 points and added four rebounds. He banked in a long straightaway 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to make it a manageable four-point game heading into the fourth. Lefkowitz scored 12 second-half points to make things interesting down the stretch. Teammate Brian Lauro, an imposing senior center, also made his presence felt, pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds to go with 12 points.
Lefkowitz and Lauro combined for 13 of Harrison's 18 fourth-quarter points, however, it wasn't enough to match a Greeley squad that found its touch over the final two quarters. The Quakers shot 59 percent (16-for-27) from the field in the second half, bypassing low-percentage 3-pointers for transition buckets and hard-fought putbacks. After going 1-for-7 from behind the arc in the first half, Greeley attempted just three 3-pointers after the break.
“Our shot was not working, so you have to go to the rim,” Fernandes said. “You just can't keep shooting from the outside and not look inside. As you saw in the second half, Teddy and Harrison got a lot more touches. Teddy made a couple of big-time reverse layups that got us going and got us that little spacing.”
Looking ahead toward the rest of the season, Fernandes likes what he sees.
“We are only going to get better,” he said. “Every game we get a little bit better. Now, we are into the league. This was our first league game and I'm excited for that.”
GAME NOTES: Greeley will host Section 1 Class AA foe Fox Lane in its next game on Friday at 7 p.m. Harrison has some time off and will hit the court again on Jan. 10 against visiting Port Chester.
Greeley 11 7 17 19 54
Harrison 10 10 11 18 49
GREELEY INDIVIDUAL/TEAM STATS
Harrison Brown: 14 points, 11 rebounds
Brett Klein: 14 points, 3 rebounds
Teddy Graves: 12 points, 8 rebounds
Justin Ciero: 12 points, 1 rebound
Josh Rosen: 3 rebounds
Connor Domershick: 1 point, 2 rebounds
Jeremy Kesselhaut: 1 rebound
Cole Benack: 1, point, 2 rebounds
FG: 21/50 | 3PT FG: 1/10 | FT: 11/19 | REB: 31
HARRISON INDIVIDUAL/TEAM STATS
Coby Lefkowitz: 14 points, 4 rebounds
Brian Lauro: 12 points, 13 rebounds
Michael Goldman: 7 points, 7 rebounds
Cory Calcagni: 5 points, 2 rebounds
Jack McCarthy: 4 points, 7 rebounds
Nick Pipitone: 4 points
Timmy Broderick: 3 points, 1 rebound
Sebastian Pellejero: 1 rebound
FG: 19/65 | 3PT FG: 5/22 | FT: 6/9 | REB: 35
Email Isaac Cass at Icass@cablevision.com | Follow him on Twitter @MSGV_Icass