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Pioneers counter in controlled 2nd half

The first time Leonard and Duran fought, "Sugar" was content to go punch-for-punch with his dynamic opponent and lost. The second time around, Leonard - a counter-puncher - boxed his way and Duran, in that famous fight, said "No mas.""I said, 'We have to play our style,'" Torney said. "We're a counter-puncher. I don't think we're really strong enough that we can go out there with our game plan and beat any team that we play....We have to try to force teams away from their strength." Hillcrest never quit (like Duran did) in a 67-56 loss to Newtown, but Torney's message worked. The Pioneers took the lead with five seconds left in the third quarter on an Isiah Lee free throw and didn't relinquesh it from there. A 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter capped by a Lee layup to make it 60-51 was all Newtown would need for the victory.The Hawks were able to get transition baskets in the first half to take a 37-35 lead at the break, but were unable to play the same way in the second, the product of better ball control by the Pioneers."I just don't think they're playing smart," Hillcrest coach Cally Prasinos said of her team. "It's just very frustrating."Athletically, Hillcrest (4-4), a Queens A West team, showed it could play with Queens A East-leading Newtown (9-1). The Hawks just didn't execute the down the stretch. Prasinos' team was led by 16 points and 10 rebounds from Marko Budija, Armell Hogan's 11 points and Shyrone Burnett's 11 rebounds."It seems like they don't believe in themselves sometimes," the first-year coach said. "(But) we're gonna give people a run."Run is a good word for the Hawks' style, one it couldn't continue with after halftime against the Pioneers. Guards David Joseph (11 points, 5 assists), Vere DeLoach (18 points) and Lee (11 points, 6 assists) controlled the ball and when Newtown got it inside, Dimitri Antonopoulos (17 points, 19 rebounds) took over."We just listened to coach," DeLoach said. "We used the same strategy as [Leonard] did."Reach reporter Marc Raimondi by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.

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