The Lynbrook Owls found themselves grounded on Friday, their wings clipped by the relentless defense of the South Side Cyclones in a 73-53 loss at South Side High School.
From the start of the game, South Side, 10-0 in Conference A-II, seemed to be playing two levels above Lynbrook (2-7) in terms of speed and defense. The Cyclones jumped out to a quick 15-2 first-quarter lead in the game's first four minutes, and Lynbrook head coach Chris Rube said South Side's intensity made his team offensively timid.
"Their pressure defense is excellent," Rube said. "It's tough when you can't practice against that level of intensity. We needed to play harder, but we played scared and tentative. We didn't attack."
South Side held Lynbrook's best players — Johnny Emmerich and Kendall Bruton — to 10 and two points, respectively. The Cyclones grabbed a season-high 14 steals and out-rebounded the Owls, 36-14. Junior Ryan Spadaford led the Cyclones with 18 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Guard DJ Nickelson filled the stat sheet again with 11 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals.
"We played with intensity, energy and had great communication on defense," said Cyclones head coach Gerry D'Angelo said. "First play of the game, you got Ryan diving into the scorer's table for a loose ball."
By the end of the first, South Side held a 21-6 lead, forced six Lynbrook turnovers and every starter had scored. South Side opened the second quarter on a 15-5 run and led by 20 at the half. By the time Lynbrook gained an offensive rhythm in the third quarter, the game was already out of reach.
Lynbrook hosts Bethpage on Tuesday at 7 p.m. South Side also plays Tuesday, a home game against Lawrence at 7:30 p.m.