Boys Basketball: Raiders Fall to Hillside 52-42

Matthew Levine, Editor in Chief

Any team that shoots 52 percent from the free throw line is going to have a difficult time winning the basketball game.


That was the case for the boys varsity basketball team who shot 12/23 from the line and fell to Hillside 52-42 at home Thursday night, Jan. 13 bringing their record to 2-2. 


“We didn’t convert layups and we didn’t shoot well from the field, especially the free throw line,” head coach Steve Siracusa said. “We let guys get past us too much — our guards we’re letting some blow-bys and on top of that, we’re giving too many second-chance looks without boxing out.” 


The game was decided when the Raiders — who cut the deficit to nine with under three minutes remaining — were handed their second technical foul of the game. 

It was a heat-of-the-moment situation where the referee called an indirect technical on the SPF bench for dissent. This technical gave Hillside two free throws, possession of the ball and a chance to extend their nine-point lead to beyond 10, which they did. 


The Raiders started the game slowly, as Hillside jumped out to a 16-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. Hillside opened the game with energy and a high press on defense. The Raiders looked flustered and stumbled into turnovers before settling into the game in the second quarter, going on a 10-3 run to cut the deficit to four midway through the second quarter.   


“We gave up a little too many second-chance points and we put ourselves in a hole early and it caught up to us,” Siracusa said. “Tough to beat a good, talented team when you’re down 12-15 points early on.” 


The silver lining is that these Raiders are fun. They’re feisty and competitive, capable of keeping games close despite not shooting well from the field. When the Raiders travel to Hillside on Feb. 8, they have a good chance to win as long as they hit a few more shots than they did Thursday night. 

I do like the fight in our kids and the ‘not quitting’ mentality.

— Head Coach Steve Siracusa

“We battled and we came back at times,” Siracusa said. “It was just a little too late. I do like the fight in our kids and the ‘not quitting’ mentality.” 


Sophomore forward Jaden McDonald saw his first regular season minutes injecting juice into the team and leading the Raiders with 13 points while senior guard Jaden Carter scored 12. 


“He [McDonald] played very hard tonight, and he showed some potential,” Siracusa said. “I still think he has a long way to go but he has a big upside and we’re hoping he can continue to be more consistent with that.” 


The Raiders return to the court Saturday afternoon, Jan. 15 home to Union (3-4) at 3pm.