By Rob Potter
LAKE HUNTINGTON December 19, 2006 An outstanding second-half scoring performance by senior guard Kevin Cappiello Thursday night helped the Sullivan West Bulldogs record a victory in their first division hoops game of the young season.
Cappiello scored all 24 of his points in the third and fourth quarters as SW defeated the visiting James I. O’Neill Raiders, 78-60, in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV game.
Nine of Cappiello’s points were the result of a trio of successful shots from beyond the 19-foot, 9-inch arc.
Fellow senior Derek Hahn also had a big night for SW (3-1, 1-0 Division IV). Hahn, a 6-foot-5 center, recorded a double-double by scoring a game-high 25 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Several of Hahn’s baskets were scored when he pulled down an offensive rebound and successfully put the ball back up and in.
SW held a 32-31 advantage at halftime, but in the third quarter, O’Neill (2-1, 0-1 Division IV) took a two-point lead on four occasions.
However, Cappiello scored a basket with 18 seconds remaining in the period to give the Bulldogs a 50-49 lead heading into the final frame.
He and Hahn then helped the Bulldogs pull away from the Raiders in the pivotal fourth quarter. To the delight of the large hometown crowd, the Bulldogs outscored O’Neill 28 to 11 in those eight minutes to record the victory.
Hahn scored six points as SW began the period with an 8-0 run. He then put back his own miss with 5:09 remaining to give SW a double-digit lead at 61-50.
Junior forward Chris Story recorded eight points for the Bulldogs and sophomore guard James Spruill added six points.
Three Raiders finished in double figures. J.R. Downey paced the team with 17 points, Marc Anthony Johnson added 14 points and Connor Bressler had 10 points.
Jack Stevens added eight points for O’Neill.
“Offensively we played well enough,” O’Neill Coach Deb Crowe said. “But we got into some foul trouble.”
The Raiders’ foul trouble allowed the Bulldogs to add to their advantage in the final quarter, when they went 10-for-18 at the free-throw line.
Of course, Crowe noted that Cappiello’s performance was also a key to the Bulldogs’ victory.
“Cappiello’s a great player and he really shot the ball well tonight,” she said.
SW Coach Cliff Kelly was happy to start the Div. IV schedule with a ‘W.’
“I’m really pleased, that was the kind of win we need,” he said. “O’Neill is a good team. They are a very athletic team.”
The Bulldogs’ leader noted the outstanding play of Cappiello and Hahn.
“Kevin had a big game on offense and Derek had a double-double,” Kelly said. “They had a great game and it was a good win for us.”