The Rams varsity girls basketball team defeated Westbury, 40-34, Friday night, while the boys fell to Hewlett, 61-60, in a close match later on, but the double-header was a win-win for local kids whose families are struggling during the holiday season.
The back-to-back games at West Hempstead High School brought out fans who made donations to the U.S. Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program. The drive was organized by the school's Student Council, who collected toys throughout the Lady Rams game and toward the start of the second match-up.
However, that second game would prove to be a heart-breaker for the West Hempstead boys, who played the Bulldogs tight in an out-of-league game, taking a 34-33 lead into halftime and a 55-47 lead at the end of the third quarter.
But in the fourth quarter, Hewlett scored 14 points and held the Rams to only 5 points. The most crucial basket came with just five seconds remaining in the game as Hewlett's junior forward, Weldon Irvine, drove underneath for a layup, giving the Bulldogs a 61-60 lead.
The Rams speedy point guard, Tyree Glascoe, proceeded to take the ball up the floor and instead of driving to the basket ended up throwing the ball out of bounds on an errant pass to Danny Sheeler. That's how the game would end.
"It was one of the few mistakes Tyree made tonight," said Rams head coach Ed Cosgrove. "He was our leading scorer with 22 points and was the main reason we were able to get back in this game."
Glascoe was in fact instrumental in getting the Rams back in the game when they were down in the second and third quarters. He was able to use his quick hands to steal the ball from the Hewlett's guards and his quick feet to get to the basket for layups.
Senior guard Raymond Alexander also had a good night, scoring 18 points for the Rams.
"It was a high-intensity, exciting game," said Cosgrove. "But the difference was their point totals compared to ours in the fourth quarter and their ability to execute better down the stretch."
The Bulldogs also shot 12-of-14 from the free throw line, which helped their cause.
The Rams are now 1-1 and will play again on Dec. 20 at Great Neck North at 6:30 p.m.