NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- New Rochelle opened up a double-digit lead in the first half of its boys basketball game against White Plains Thursday only to have the Tigers come roaring back.
The Huguenots went into halftime with a four-point lead, but were not pleased with their performance.
We let them come back into the game so our coach told us we had to go out in the second half and play New Rochelle basketball, junior forward Joe Clarke said.
New Rochelle carried out coach Bill Murphys words, playing staunch defense and going on to a 51-39 victory in a Class AA game. Clarke led New Rochelle (9-4) with a game-high 22 points and eight rebounds and Kirkland Ottey added 11 points.
The Huguenots limited the Tigers to 16 points in the second half. White Plains went the first 5:30 of the fourth quarter without a point before two free throws by Devon Thomas. The Tigers first field goal of the fourth quarter was an Akeem Williams lay-up with 2:09 remaining in the game.
Leading 27-23 at halftime, New Rochelle opened the third quarter with an 11-4 spurt spanning the first 3:40. Clarke scored New Rochelles first five points of the third quarter. Unlike the first half, though, New Rochelle was determined to keep the lead in double figures.
When coach told us we had to play New Rochelle basketball, we had to hustle, play with heart and play good defense and we pride ourselves on our defense, Clarke said. We did not want White Plains coming back again. White Plains is a good team and if we let them back in maybe they could have won the game. When we came out in the third quarter, we got up in their faces on defense. That led to turnovers and a lot of easy fast-break baskets.
Williams had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Tigers (8-5).
White Plains 12 11 9 7 -- 39 New Rochelle 19 8 17 7 -- 51
White Plains (39) -- Aaron Daughtrey 1-4-6, Akeem Williams 6-5-21, Kyle Adams 1-2-5, Anthony Williams 0-0-0, Robby Lorden 0-0-0, Darrell Everett 1-0-2, Chris Jordan 0-1-1, Nate Hudson 0-0-0, Devon Thomas 0-2-2, Phil Tortorella 1-0-2. Totals: 10-14-39. New Rochelle (51) -- Malik Burt 1-0-2, Chris Elefonte 1-2-4, Terrance Holden 3-0-6, Kirland Ottey 5-1-11, Joe Clarke 7-7-22, Don Powell 0-0-0, Derek Dorn 1-0-3, Sean Fener 0-1-1, Benny Bracey 1-0-2, Omye Onwukanjo 0-0-0, Benjamin Vasquez 0-0-0, Justin Alleyne 0-0-0, Akeem Clarke 0-0-0. Totals: 19-11-51. 3-point goals -- WP: A. Williams 3, Adams; NR: Clarke, Dorn.
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