By Rob Potter
LAKE HUNTINGTON After holding the lead for most of Thursday night’s Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV game, the host Sullivan West Bulldogs needed some key baskets late in the fourth quarter to record a win against the James I. O’Neill Raiders.
With 1:31 remaining, Dan Figueroa swished a 3-point shot from the corner to give SW a 52-49 lead.
Justin Armstrong made two free throws in the final 40 seconds to seal a 54-49 victory for the Bulldogs.
Faced with a 36-33 deficit entering the fourth period, O’Neill quickly took the lead. With 6:01 remaining, Connor Broesler scored to make it a 38-38 game. Thirty seconds, later John Molin knocked down a 3-point shot from the wing to give the Raiders a 41-38 advantage.
With 3:41 left, Jimmy Doonan scored to give O’Neill (4-4, 1-2 Division IV) its largest lead of the evening at 47-42.
However, SW (6-1, 2-0 Division. IV) responded quickly. R.J. Rosa made a 3-pointer and Brad Reimer scored inside to even the game at 47-47.
Broesler made a pair of free throws with 2:45 remaining on the scoreboard clock to give the Raiders a 49-47 advantage.
At 2:12, Reimer scored to tie it up at 49-49.
Reimer netted a game-high 21 points to lead the Bulldogs’ offense. Figueroa finished with 11 points, while Rosa had 10 points and Armstrong added eight points.
“This was a big win,” SW Coach Cliff Kelly said. “I think Justin Armstrong played a good game on defense and R.J. Rosa had some good rebounds.”
“And Danny Figueroa had that key 3-pointer for us,” Kelly added.
Broesler was O’Neill’s top scorer with 16 points.
Molin and Cedric Cochran each added eight points for the Raiders.
O’Neill Coach Deb Crowe noted that foul shooting made a big difference in the game’s outcome.
“They shot 19 free throws and we only shot three,” she said.
“But I commend Sullivan West,” Crowe added. “[Brad] Reimer played a very good game and [Dan] Figueroa had that 3-pointer late in the game.”