Following back-to-back blowout victories against Roslyn and Bethpage, the Hewlett Bulldog’s championship dreams were by South Side in the final four of the Nassau County Class A Playoffs.
Bulldogs head coach Bill Dubin watched his team drop 10 points in the first quarter, only to lose their final game of the season by 11 points.
“We went four for 15 from the free throw line, and you can’t win playoff games when you shoot like that,” Dubin said.
Not only has he taken his team to the playoffs for the seventh year in a row, but making it to the final four is becoming a Bulldogs tradition, a position it has been in three times in the past four years.
“We had a great group of kids, great coaches and we never any behavior problems,” Dubin said. “It was the most fun I’ve had in a season yet, and I’ve been coaching for 25 years.”
The team was led by two all-county players, Weldon Irvine, a junior power forward roughly averaging a double-double almost every game, and Harrison Brenner, starting point guard and only starting senior on the team.
“We pulled it together,” Irvine said. “We had one of the hardest working seasons and it really payed off in the end.”
Help also came from the Bulldog’s all conference players, junior center Kevin Dehaney, sophomore shooting forward Avery Feldman and sophomore Bryan Eckerle.
Andy DeBernardo, Dubin’s assistant coach for the last seven years, attributes much of the team's success to the surprisingly dominant effort of the underclassman.
“They stepped up huge,” DeBernardo said. “You didn't realize they were sophomores until you see on paper that they were sophomores.”
During the offseason, players are expected to be busy in summer workouts, a four-day tournament at Hofstra University and fall league basketball.
“Our core is coming back,” DeBarnardo explained while looking to next year. “We're out a starting point guard and one of our reserves, but we have some good junior varsity guys and the rest of our team coming back next season.”