Adrian Szoklar spent Tuesday night at one of the area’s best rivalries and saw the continued emergence of junior big man Victor Clervil. The 6-foot-4 forward poured in a career-best 25 points in the 64-53 win. Luke McLaughlin scored a team-high 29.
Below is Adrian’s story, followed by Peter Carr’s photo gallery of the game.
ORANGEBURG – It was no surprise that Luke McLaughlin came up big on offense for Tappan Zee in a 64-53 home win over Pearl River to extend its record to 8-0.
The strong offensive performance of his teammate, Victor Clervil, a player with a solid reputation as a rebounder and shot blocker, was more unexpected.
The junior center had his way in the paint and battled for 25 points to supplement McLaughlin’s game-high 29.
“My team needed me and I just wanted to play hard for them,” Clervil said. “I’m trying to get better every game and help Luke. He’s a great player, but he can’t do it alone.”
After an evenly-matched first quarter, Tappan Zee’s defense shut down Pearl River’s offense. The Pirates went scoreless in the quarter’s opening 4:29 as the Dutchman built a 24-11 lead.
Pearl River, however, scored 12 points in the 3:30 of the first half to cut Tappan Zee;s lead to seven at the end of the half.
McLaughlin hit a 3-pointer to open the scoring in the third quarter and after that, Clervil went to work. He scored three baskets inside, drawing fouls on two of them, to put Tappan Zee up 41-26.
Pearl River kept creeping back thanks to some crafty offensive rebounding, but Clervil went on another run in the fourth quarter, hitting four straight baskets to put the game out of reach.
Pat Conway had a team-high 14 points, including 11 in the first quarter, and Tom Armour had 12 points for Pearl River.
Tempers began to flare after some physical play from both sides late in the third quarter. Pearl River’s Mike Merced and Tappan Zee’s Ryan Holder were both assessed technical fouls.
Enrico Mastroianni, head coach of Georgian Court, a Division II school in Lakewood, New Jersey, spoke with McLaughlin after the game. If Clervil continues to put up performances like on Tuesday, perhaps he’ll get some attention as well.
“He’s the MVP of this team,” McLaughlin said of Clervil. “He’s worked day in and day out, it’s been a blessing playing with him. He’s the number one reason why we’re where we are today.”