Boys Hoops: Lakeland Earns Split on Rt. 9

Eric Pombo and Lakeland earned a win over Peekskill last week. Credits: File photo

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. — Lakeland split its two games along Route 9 last week, highlighted by a 54-47 triumph at Peekskill on Jan. 19.

Leading the way for the Hornets was the combination of Eric Pombo and Nick Fazio, who scored 21 and 18 points, respectively.

Pombo did his damage largely on the strength of five second-half  3-pointers.

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“In the first half my jump shot was off but all the credit to my teammates for finding me for open shots,” Pombo said.

Fazio said Pombo’s sharp-shooting really helped the Hornets a lot against the Red Devils.

“It gave us a big push to finish the game strong,” Fazio said.

Fazio said he was confident in his shooting and it showed, as he displayed clutch foul shooting throughout the game by going 10 of 12 from the charity stripe.

“Nick played extremely well on both sides of the ball using his height to his advantage and it was big for us tonight,” Pombo said.

Simply put the combination of Pombo and Fazio was one that was hard to stop.

“You have to give a lot of credit to Eric Pombo and Nick Fazio,” Lakeland’s Trevor McCarthy said. “They provided the whole team with a spark and as soon as we see the ball go in the basket, we all get rolling as a team.”

Lakeland was able to get the jump on Peekskill, leading the Red Devils 11-3 at the end of the first quarter.

“We were caught a little off guard when Peekskill came out in their 2-3 zone,” McCarthy said. “After we missed a couple shots early we began to settle down and attack every weakness we could find.”

Peekskill though fought back to go up 35-34 at the end of the third quarter but Lakeland took control of the game by outscoring the Red Devils 20-12 in the final stanza.

“The difference was our ball control,” Pombo said. “With a team like Peekskill limiting our turnovers was a must and we executed down the stretch.”

Another difference was the play of unsung hero McCarthy.

“Trevor McCarthy was a huge part of our win,” Fazio said. “He really helps defensively as well as offensively. He had a big part in our ball movement.”

That defensive play helped limit Peekskill to less than 50 points.

“All year we’ve been excelling on the defensive side of the ball,” McCarthy said. “Every day in practice we work each other to get better which helped us keep Peekskill from getting hot.”

Lakeland (7-8) finished the week with a 71-48 loss at Ossining on Jan. 21.

The Pride jumped out to a 30-12 first-quarter lead and didn’t look back.

The Hornets were led against Ossining by Pombo (13 points) and Fazio (9 points).

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