HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - Hasbrouck Heights outscored Becton 13-4 over the final five minutes of the fourth quarter as the Aviators edged the Wildcats, 64-56, in New Jersey Interscholastic Conference boys basketball action Thursday night in Hasbrouck Heights.  The win allowed the Aviators to improve to 5-0 in NJIC action, and remain tied for first in the Meadowlands Division.

The spurt saved the Aviators from a tough loss, which included blowing a 13-point first quarter lead to fall behind, 36-35 with 4:06 remaining in the third quarter.  They trailed 49-45, with 6:58 remaining in the game, after Becton’s Nick Monahan hit one of three free throws.  But following two made foul shots from James Klenk cut the lead to two, an Anthony Moretto steal and layup tied the game at 49-49.

Monahan struck right back, nailing a three-pointer to take back the lead for the Wildcats, 52-49. Anthony Palmer scored to cut the lead to one before Brian Peralta scored with 5:14 remaining, giving Becton a 54-51 lead.

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A Matt Moretto bucket cut the lead to one, and when Christian Alberto picked up a loose ball, and drove to basket, made the layup,getting fouled on the play. He converted on a traditional three-point play, giving the Aviators a two point lead, 56-54, with 3;28 remaining.

Nick Mitarotonda hit the second of two foul shots, cutting the lead to one, with a 1;46 remaining.  

The Aviators were able to take advantage of the lead, and the clock, and extended their lead to 58-55, when Alberto was able to hit Jasiah Purdie all by himself for a layup. The Aviators were running off the clock when Purdie just stopped in the middle of the lane, and when no Wildcat defender rotated over to him, Alberto hit him for the easy layup.

The Aviators defense was able to come up with a key turnover, as a loose ball at midcourt was grabbed by Palmer, diving on the floor. The Aviators were able to call timeout before the Wildcats tied up Palmer for a jump ball, and with 32.4 seconds left, the Aviators had the ball, and were intent on running out the clock.

Purdie made both ends of a one-and-one to extend the lead to five with 29.3 second remaining.  But the Aviators comfort level changed quickly, as Naseem Rice hit a corner three with 23.6 seconds left, cutting the lead to 60-56.  But the Wildcats strategy of fouling did not work out, and Klenk and Moretto each hit a pair of foul shots down the stretch for the Aviator victory.  

Notes:  Becton falls to 2-3 in league play with the loss.  Becton’s Mitarotonda led all scorers with 18 while Monahan had 13 for the Wildcats.  Palmer led the Aviators with 15 points, and had all five starters score in double figures.  


Becton                             10    18    17    13     58

Hasbrouck Heights          23      7    14    20     64



Mitarotonda  5-1-5-18,  Tiburcio 1-1-0-5, Benameur 3-0-0-6, Roberts 0-0-0-0, Monahan 3-2-1-13, Peralta 4-0-2-10, Rice 0-2-0-6. Totals  16-6-8-58

Hasbrouck Heights (64)

Klenk 2-1-4-11, Purdie 4-1-3-14, Palmer 6-1-0-15, Ketsche, 0-0-0-0, Moretto 2-2-2-12, Tsering 0-0-0-0, Capozzi 0-0-0-0, Alberto 3-0