Zy’Aire Pittman said he approaches every basketball game the same way — with confidence.
Riverhead’s second-year starter is known for both his passing and shooting skills, but he’s not picky. “Whatever is needed, I’ll do,” he said.
When Riverhead needed Pittman Thursday he was there. The 6-0 guard had a hot hand in the opening 16 minutes and struck for a season-high 19 points in the first half to help Riverhead to a 43-39 halftime lead over visiting Connetquot. Pittman was held scoreless the rest of the way and Riverhead lost the Suffolk County League II game in overtime, 92-88, but the junior impressed, nonetheless.
“Tonight he was just showing you what he can really do,” said Riverhead senior forward Quashiem Miller.
Pittman, who raised his average to 11.7 points per game, nailed down five three-point shots and also dished out nine assists.
“Zy’Aire came out hot,” Riverhead coach John Rossetti said. “All the kids can go out any night and erupt like that. He had a monster first half.”
The first 12 of Pittman’s points came in the first quarter, helping Riverhead jump out to a 22-12 lead.
Pittman has shown a nice working relationship with senior guard Cristian Pace, who himself had a monster game with 25 points, five three-pointers and 10 assists.
Having a full varsity season under his belt has helped Pittman this season. “I’m a lot more calmer and the experience from last year helped me a lot,” he said, adding, “I’ll do whatever is needed to win.”
The Blue Waves may say they’ll take more of that first half from him.
“Cristian Pace and Quashiem Miller, everyone knows about them,” Rossetti said, “but we have other kids as well.”
Photo caption: Zy’Aire Pittman, who scored 19 first-half points for Riverhead, trying to dribble around Connetquot’s John O’Connell. (Credit: Garret Meade)