Poly bigs power Blue Devils past Hackley

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Poly Prep’s pair of big men continue set their team apart from the pack.

The Blue Devils duo of junior bigs Najee Taylor and David Dixon took full advantage of an undersized Hackley team in a 53–42 win in Ivy League boys’ basketball last Saturday afternoon in Bay Ridge.

Dixon led all scorers with 20 points and Taylor chipped in 17 of his own. Hackley had no answer for either of the big men as they did practically anything they wanted down low.

“We have two great bigs in Najee and David,” said junior guard J.D. Levine. “If we get the rock down low they can work. It really helps when we are able to feed them and they are finishing. They’re bigger than most guys in the league.”

Poly led just 24–21 at the half. The Blue Devils found Hackley’s weakness — lack of size — and exploited it after the break, with both 6-foot-7 Dixon and 6-foot-6 Taylor each scoring 10 points in the second half. The Blue Devils began to pull away with relentless strikes down low.

“We feel our bigs are some of the best players on our team,” said first-year head coach Ben Kettering. “They’re good at making plays, and its good to get them the ball because they’re unselfish, they can get the defense to converge, and then find our guards.”

The victory avenges one of Poly’s two league losses. Hackley beat the Blue Devils (16–3, 9–2) handily 61–47 in Tarrytown back in late January. This time, Poly did a better job containing the Hackley offense, and shared the ball when it was trying to score.

“I liked the intensity we brought on defense,” Kittering said. “We did a better job of taking away their scorers this time. Offensively, we did a great job of finding players in the post. The thing I really like about this team is they tend to be unselfish, and when we play that way we’re a difficult team to beat.”

He was happy with the win, but recognized that there were things his team could improve upon. He thought his players could’ve taken better care of the ball, maintained their intensity on both sides, and stayed out of foul trouble. The win kept Poly right behind first-place rival Collegiate going into the home stretch. The Dutchmen beat Poly earlier this season by two-points.

“I’m recognizing quickly that it’s important to our school and our community for our guys to win,” Kittering said. “But they beat us the first time and we don’t want to get beat.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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