A month ago, this was probably a game North Rockland would have found a way to lose.
But on Thursday, the Red Raiders displayed growth and late-game resolve in their 67-62 win over visiting Clarkstown North in their season finale. Carlens Vilfort recorded 19 points and 12 rebounds for North Rockland (13-7), which saw a 15-point first half lead dwindle to three for most of the fourth quarter.
“This was a big game for us,” Vilfort said. “If we don’t get this, our heads would be down going into the playoffs.”
North Rockland vs. Clarkstown North was broadcast by Verizon Fios. Subscribers can watch the game in its entirety on Sunday, Feb. 11 at 3 p.m.
North Rockland closed out the regular season this week with wins over Clarkstown South and Clarkstown North, positioning themselves to be a Top 7 seed in the Class AA playoffs (and avoid a possible quarterfinal date at Mount Vernon).
Adrian Amaro added 16 points and Chazz Clark provided 10 points and five rebounds off the bench for North Rockland, which staked a 21-11 lead after one quarter.
Clarkstown North (10-9) rallied back after trailing by 13 at the half behind senior star Nick Ovchinnikoff and Michael Louzada. Ovchinnikoff led the Rams with 21 points, 13 rebounds and four assists while Louzada scored all 15 of his points in the second half.
Vilfort and Ovchinnikoff went head to head throughout in a duel of two of Rockland County’s elite players. Vilfort shot 8 of 11 from the field, highlighted by a ferocious one-handed put-back dunk in the first half.
After Ovchinikoff sparked North’s second-half comeback, Vilfort silenced the Rams with a key fourth-quarter 3-pointer.
“We talk a lot of trash to eachother on the court,” Vilfort said. “We know eachother well because we play all the time. I love going up against him. Today we showed we were the better team.”
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