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Nine Straight Wins For Hills East!

By: Jack Nevins

The Hills East Thunderbirds Boys Basketball team is on a roll. Nine straight wins marks their longest win streak in two years. With their new record of 11-1 in league play, they surpassed the 10-1 Smithtown West Bulls taking the first place seed in league 3.

After a shaky start to the season, losing in back-to-back games to Baldwin and Smithtown West, both rivals of the Thunderbirds, they found a way to bounce back. Hills East won their next three games, two of them by a margin of 20 or more points. They snuck by Brentwood on the road, winning 54-53. Alan Brown and Ryan Zeh led the way for the T-Birds, as Jordan Heyman hit the game-winning free throw with less than a minute to play. Hills East was then faced with their toughest task of the season, Bay Shore. Bay Shore was a perfect 6-0 coming into the contest with Hills East, where they held their own. Although only losing by 7, 75-68, Bay Shore erupted. Carter Wilson, Christian Smiley, and Tashawn Bumpers combined for 56 points, while Smiley recorded a double-double. Following the loss to Bay Shore, Coach Mike Marcelin decided a change was needed.

The T-Birds found a way to prevail. The win-streak started on the road with Smithtown East, winning 68-55, with Zeh putting up 18 points on 4 three-pointers. It was then a trip back home, where a win was needed over Deer Park. Not a pretty one, but a low scoring, 39-28 dub for Hills East signified the start to their winning streak. Back on the road, and the winning just seemed easier, taking down West Islip 62-42. In a back-to-back home game stretch, Huntington and Centereach were both met with disappointment, after leaving with two losses. Centereach was no match for the Hills East press, losing by 60 points, 96-36. Along with Bay Shore, Smithtown West is an obstacle in the way of Hills East reaching the Long Island Championship. With a packed crowd at home, Smithtown West was in town and the Kindelmann arena. After trailing at halftime by two, Hills East took off, winning the next two quarters. This was Jordan Heyman’s breakout game. As captain of this team for the past two seasons, Heyman, hesitant to shoot the ball throughout the season, decided to say, “why not let it fly.” Heyman recorded a double-double on 15 points, 10 assists, and added on 5 steals. Jordan Cador was one point short of a double-double, as he put up 9 points with 13 rebounds. After celebrating this massive win, it was all smooth sailing for the Thunderbirds. After an 82-39 win on the road over West Babylon, they were then met with another challenge, Bellport. Although this is not as tough of an opponent as Smithtown West or Bay Shore, they still gave Hills East a run for their money. Hills East held off the Clippers, winning 75-66, where once again, Ryan Zeh led Hills East in scoring with 17 points. Skylar Ellis added 16 points off of 4 three-pointers. Most recently on January 30th, Hills East took a trip to Centereach, blowing them out of the water, winning 84-32.

Mike Marcelin and his Thunderbirds are the hottest team in Suffolk County right now with their nine-game win streak. Do not be surprised if this Thunderbird squad makes a run in the playoffs and makes their presence known in the Long Island Championship.