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T-Birds Continue Winning Ways 

Hills East’s Mike Simon, holding the ball, tries to extend the Thunderbirds’ lead over Walt Whitman.

Things are looking good for the Thunderbirds, the first-place team in League II.

The Half Hollow Hills East varsity boys basketball team has gone 3-1 over the past four games with victories over Bay Shore (92-47), Connetquot (72-48) and Lindenhurst (66-59), and one tough loss to Central Islip (68-64).

Through these games, there was consistent scoring from Mike Simon, Jordan McRae, Grant Rosenberg and Matt Boyd.

The team went into Friday’s game against Walt Whitman High School at home with an 8-1 league record and a first-place standing.

The game got off to a quick start in favor of Walt Whitman, as the Wildcats jumped out to a 5-0 lead. However for the rest of the quarter, Hills East picked up momentum, scoring 17 points in total. The first quarter ended with the T-Birds in the lead, 17-9.

Hills East would continue to extend its lead against Walt Whitman in the second, when the Thunderbirds scored 22 against Whitman’s 14. The first half ended with the home team leading 39-23.

As the teams made their way back onto the court for the third quarter, the crowd was ready for another great half of basketball. The Thunderbirds continued where they left off in the first half by outscoring Walt Whitman 13-9 in the third quarter to make the score 52-32.

For the Wildcats, it would all come down to the fourth quarter, with 20 points separating them from their hosts. Walt Whitman rallied to score 16 points compared to Hills East’s 8, but it wasn’t enough to pull out a win. Hills East took the game by a final scored of 60-48.

Hills East’s scoring was led by Simon, Rosenberg and Justin Fackler, who scored 15, 13 and 10 points, respectively. Boyd had 7 points and 14 assists.

“We played with spirit today,” Hills East coach Peter Basel said. “We started off slow, but our defense pressure picked up. Walt Whitman cut the lead in the second quarter, so we got back to what brought us there. It was an up and down game.”

Hills East’s next game is at Northport on Jan. 31 at 5 p.m.

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