By Janee Law
The Half Hollow Hills West boys basketball team is Suffolk’s best team this season.
Hills West defeated Harborfields by one point on Sunday, 57-56, in the county’s overall title game.
Senior guard Richard Altenord hit two foul shots with five seconds in regulation to seal the game for the Colts.
“Harborfields is a very good team and it came down to a great situation at the end where Richie got the ball with the length of the court, got fouled and hit both foul shots,” head coach Bill Mitaritonna said Monday. “We knew those foul shots were going to go in.”
The Colts and Tornadoes were neck-and-neck throughout the game. The score was knotted at 18-18 by the time the fourth quarter ended, and the Colts nestled a 45-44 to start the fourth quarter.
Ultimately, Altenord scored 10 points for the Colts. Other top performers for the Colts were Matt Asenjo with 12 points, Kian Dalyrimple with 15 points, Cameron Jordan with 14 points and Deven Williams with five points. Gabe Satterwhite also tacked on a point to the scoreboard.
Jordan, a junior forward, said in an interview Monday “we stayed posed throughout the whole game, kept our composure and we knew that we were going to come out with this win.”
He added, “We played a really good game, came out hard and ran the ball pretty good.”
Jordan said this is typical of Hills West’s style of basketball and that the time is “going to keep continuing to do that” when it faces Nassau champion Baldwin in the Long Island big-school championship game at LIU Post in Brookville on March 6. The game is slated for 3:30 p.m. and there will be a $7 admission fee.
“We’ve never competed at this high of a level yet so it’s going to be exciting for the guys to finally experience that,” Jordan said. “We’re going to stay focused, we’re going to be composed and we’re just going to do everything that we do and come out with the win.”
Hills West’s win over Harborfields came after it defeated Brentwood on Feb. 23 in a rematch of last year’s Suffolk big-school championship game. Last year, Brentwood defeated Hills West, but the Colts redeemed themselves with a 86-69 win this time around.
“Ever since the buzzer rang last year, we’ve been waiting for this exact moment and we finally got here,” a clearly-elated Altenord said after the win. “We knew what to do, we executed it and we got the win.”
Dalyrimple, another senior guard, said that losing to Brentwood in last year’s final caused him the worst pain he has ever felt in his young basketball career. He said that pain, which was felt among all the Colts who returned from last year’s team, was the fire that fueled the team’s’ win.
“I told the guys to take losing out of your head. Play victory. And know that you can go and get it,” Dalyrimple, who scored 18 points, said. “You got to believe and you got to keep working hard.”
Other top performers for Hills West against Brentwood were Williams with a 28-point performance; Jordan with 13 points; and Asenjo with eight points.
Speaking about Hills West’s overall Suffolk championship, Mitaritonna said, “We proved to everyone that we’re officially the best team in Suffolk County as far as boys basketball and there’s always 64 teams so we’re pretty excited about that.”
Mitaritonna added that this is the fourth county championship for the Colts in the last eight years, the last came during the 2010-2011 season.