Playing with a sense of urgency that had been missing a few days earlier, the Fox Lane boys’ basketball team sure took care of business on Saturday afternoon.
The Foxes jumped all over host Brewster, opening up a 15-point lead by the end of the first quarter en route to coasting to a 60-51 victory over the Bears in a Westchester-Putnam Coaches vs. Cancer showcase game played at Mahopac High School.
“We played really well today and the kids came out hungry,” said Fox Lane coach Chris Violante shortly after watching his players take apart the overwhelmed Bears. “They were inspired, they were ready to win.”
Carlito Carvalho scored 15 points, nine of them coming in the dominant first quarter, to earn the game’s most valuable player award. James Morales followed with 12 points, while Nick Bonura and Will Quaranta each added eight. Center Tommy Palmerton chipped in with six points, all in the second half.
“When Morales and Carlito and Nicky Bonura, our three starting guards, are making shots,” said Violante, “we’re tough to beat. And then we’ve got some real physical post players inside, so I really like this team and I like the direction we’re going right now. We just need to play consistent basketball.”
After being surprised by the Kennedy Gaels earlier in the week, Fox Lane, now 9-4, took the court at Mahopac and wasted little time assuming complete command against Brewster. The Bears scored the game’s first basket, but the Foxes quickly answered with a 17-3 run that all but ended the day’s drama. Once Carvalho worked his way inside for a bucket that gave the Foxes a 4-2 lead a minute and a half in, they never trailed again.
The Bears’ Brian McNeill made a 3-pointer that moved Brewster to within 6-5, but Fox Lane proceeded to score the next 11 points. Carvalho and Bonura each connected on 3-pointers during the streak, which concluded with back-to-back fastbreak baskets by Carvalho and Morales. By the time the first quarter ended with Morales hitting a 3-pointer just before the buzzer, the Foxes’ lead was up to 24-9.
The Foxes extended their margin to 21 points late in the second quarter following another trey from Carvalho and then a fastbreak layup from Jordan Pasetsky. Leading 35-17 at halftime, Fox Lane began the third quarter with a right-side 3-pointer from Bonura and was still leading by 21 points later in the period after a give-and-go bucket by Morales from Carvalho.
But Brewster started making the score more respectable, going on a 13-5 run, sparked by seven points from Donnell Patterson, that narrowed its deficit to 47-34. The Foxes responded with five straight points to close the quarter, extending their lead back to 18 points.
Owen Azrak began the fourth quarter by hanging in the air long enough to convert on a double-pump layup. Quaranta’s put-back bucket with 3:33 remaining gave the Foxes a 60-44 advantage before Brewster ended the game against the Fox reserves on a 7-0 run that made the outcome seem closer than it really was.
“No doubt about it, we needed it,” said Violante about the Foxes’ win at the charity event. “We needed to play well collectively and we did. Everybody shined today. I wish our second team had a little more spark to it offensively. But defensively, they were awesome. There was no letdown whatsover.”
Andy is a sports editor at Examiner Media, covering seven high schools in the mid-Westchester region with a notebook and camera. He began there in the fall of 2007 following 15 years as a candid photographer for the largest school picture company in the tri-state area.