NEW ROCHELLE – Just three days earlier, New Rochelle’s home gym was practically bursting at its doors. The crowd and the atmosphere were much milder Monday for a holiday matinee against North Rockland, leaving the Huguenots to generate their own energy.
Simply put, they didn’t, at least not until senior Justin Watson took that upon himself. Watson scored 25 points and had 10 rebounds and three blocked shots off the bench to lead New Rochelle over the Red Raiders 64-54.
The Huguenots (7-6) trailed by 11 in the second quarter before Watson led a late flurry. That continued into a third quarter that saw New Rochelle outscore North Rockland 21-6.
“Coach always says, ‘When I call your number, be ready to play.’ It doesn’t matter if you start, you get two minutes, just be ready when you get in,” Watson said. “I didn’t start this game, but when he called my number I was ready to play.”
Watson attacked the glass late in the first half to trim a 21-10 deficit to four points by halftime. He, Isiah Washington (15 points) and Antoine Lewis (eight points, eight rebounds, six assists) fueled the strong third quarter, which ended on a 3-pointer at the buzzer by teammate Jamel Wallace.
The strong quarter coincided with a prolonged cold spell for the Red Raiders (7-4). Wallace’s shot put New Rochelle in front comfortably, 47-36.
North Rockland’s Evly Davis (14) and New Rochelle’s Justin Micken (11) go for a rebound during the game at New Rochelle on Jan. 19, 2015. New Rochelle won 64-54.
“We played very well here in sections, but we have to make those jumpshots,” said North Rockland coach Chris Roff, whose team was hot throughout an 84-55 win over Ramapo last week. “That’s the game. If we make a handful of those jumpshots, they don’t take the run on us they did.”
Evly Davis (15 points, eight rebounds) and Jesse DeGraft (eight points, 11 rebounds) tried to trim the deficit in the fourth, but the Red Raiders never got closer than seven.
New Rochelle’s strong finish was seen as further progress after Thursday’s near miss against rival Mount Vernon, the team widely considered Class AA’s best.
“We played well against Mount Vernon, but we didn’t win. We can’t look back,” Watson said. “We played a great game against them, but we have to keep building until playoff time.”
Best of the rest:Ty Jerome hit a pullup jumper with 0.9 seconds left for the winning basket in Iona Prep’s 56-54 victory over visiting Archbishop Molloy. Jerome finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists. … Matt Maloney hit a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime, and Somers eventually beat Ossining 64-60 in the Yorktown tournament consolation. Maloney finished with 22 points. Jay Criss had 20 to lead Ossining. … Skyler Sinon had 25 points and five assists and Andrew Groll added nine points and 18 rebounds as Byram Hills topped White Plains 57-44. … Christian Conklin and Eddie Hall each scored 14 points for Albertus Magnus in a 73-44 victory over visiting Nanuet. The Falcons hit 13 3-pointers. … Mason Dyslin had 14 points and nine rebounds to earn tournament MVP in Yorktown’s 61-37 win over visiting Clarkstown North in the Budries tournament championship. … Dominick Cristiano scored 25 points as Kennedy won 68-59 over Xavier to improve to 15-0.