East Lyme bounces back and rolls past Hand 71-44

East Lyme — You can't miss them all, can you? Sadly, Nate Diaz learned the answer the hard way over the weekend, indeed missing them all in East Lyme High School's home opener against No. 7 Notre Dame of West Haven.

This was not part of the plan. Diaz had earned some preseason kudos from his teammates and coaches for his accurate three-point shooting. And then came this thud nobody saw coming.

He was a different kid Wednesday night, though, happily enough for the Vikings. Diaz made four 3-pointers and helped his team to a 71-44 stroll over Hand, the Vikes' first win of the season.

"It was really tough," Diaz said of the opener. "I missed a lot of shots. But my teammates and coaches kept telling me they'd start falling. All I need to do is see one go in."

He made his first one Wednesday night and finished with 12 points.

"The No. 1 thing we wanted to accomplish was our role players stepping up," East Lyme coach Jeff Bernardi said. "Last year, it was mostly Dev (Ostrowski) and Luke (Leonard) and that only got us so far. The other night, we scored 19 in the first quarter and Dev had 17. Tonight, we got 19 and Dev had none. Nate's shots were huge."

Ostrowski led the Vikings with 25 points. Leonard had 16 and T.J. Horner scored 11. It was a much happier locker room than after Saturday's loss, during which East Lyme blew a 15-point lead.

"We have a good group. Resilient," Bernardi said. "What I told the kids was that Saturday night was our fault. We allowed the game to get into that situation. If we handle the ball better and make shots, we're not tied with three seconds to go. We put ourselves in that situation."

• It was a nonetheless momentous weekend for Ostrowski who set the school scoring record Saturday night and later announced a commitment to play next year at Miami Dade Junior College, where former NFA guard and Yale director of basketball operations Chris Vincent is an assistant coach.

Ostrowski broke Scott Borden's record of 1,582 points. Borden graduated in 1980. He currently has 1,611, making 2,000 a legitimate possibility.

"I had no idea I even did it," Ostrowski said. "Coach called me. I was in church. I saw 'Jeff Bernardi' pop up on my phone and figured I better take it."

Ostrowski's commitment to Miami Dade came after a summer where an injury prevented him from playing much in AAU, where college coaches would have seen him.

"It's a great opportunity, especially because it's free," Ostrowski said. "That (postgraduate year at a prep school) would be a lot of money. They have a lot of connections down there."

m.dimauro@theday.com

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