Pearl River entered Friday's league game against Nyack searching for its first victory at home this season.
The Pirates found it by beating the Indians pressure, making their free throws and clamped down defensively in the second and third quarters to beat Nyack, 55-45.
"We wanted to come out with some energy," senior forward Tom Davis said. "We hadn't won here yet. It's huge. It's a league game. We needed to have it and we got it."
Davis played a key role, but it wasn't just his game-high 17 points for Pearl River. Head Coach Jerry Houston, Jr. pointed out Davis's effort to help on the defensive end, where the Pirates held the Indians to 14 points combined in the second and third quarters, helping Pearl River to take control of the contest.
"I attribute a lot of that to Tommy Davis getting so many rebounds," Houston said. "When you can get stops, if you don't get the rebound, it huts. He was so good tonight getting rebounds. Sometimes he had three people around him and he gets it."
That helped Pearl River improve its record to 7-5, including 1-3 at home. Resurgent Nyack, which came into the game off a victory over Tappan Zee, fell to 7-6.
Both teams saw their top scorers struggle with foul trouble. Pearl River junior forward Kevin Degnan sat out most of the second quarter and finished with 13 points. Tom Armour scored 11 to give the Pirates a third player in double figures.
Nyack senior Terrence McNair scored only nine points, well off his average of 16.2 points per game, but that led the Indians. The Pirates were able to frustrate the Indians with their 2-3 zone, often leaving Nyack shooting from long range.
"The 2-3 zone was really good for us," Davis said. "They didn't have their best night from the three-point line. We forced them to shoot there. They couldn't drive as much against the 2-3."
"Basketball is such a momentum kind of game," Houston said. "Momentum in a positive way and in a negative way. Sometimes it can really just bog down. I think that's what happened to them in the second quarter."
While Nyack struggled to get good shots, Pearl River was able to get to the foul line and take advantage all night, making 12 of 14 free throws in the first half and 23 of 26 in the game.
"We did a great job of getting there and knocking down free throws," Houston said. "We were aggressive. Usually, being aggressive does pay off in terms of getting to the foul line. That was a real highlight for us."
Nyack went to more full-court pressure in the third quarter, but the Pirates were able to break it and get easy baskets.
"I thought we did a really good job breaking their pressure, especially in the third quarter, and getting really high-percentage shots," Houston said.
Nyack was able to force some turnovers and make a small run late, but could get no close than 10 points down.
"If that's our biggest problem, taking care of a 16-point lead, we'll work on that," Houston said.