By Mitch Silver

Behind the sharpshooting of junior swingman Billy O’Meara, who scored 22 points in just one half of the matchup against Berkeley Carroll of Brooklyn, Rye Country Day improved its December record with an easy 71-41 victory.

Brett Robinson added 12, Allan Houston chipped in eight (also in just half a game), while Cullen Coleman and Sam Berger combined for nine points, ten boards, and six blocks down low. The win continued an upswing for third-year Head Coach Steve Gage’s men after dropping an early 63-52 decision to “bigger, faster, stronger” Fieldston on the road and a 69-63 defeat at the hands of FAA rival Hamden Hall.

Wins over Friends Seminary, the King School, and JFK High School — the latter by a lopsided 72-37 score — suggest that the youngish Wildcats are beginning to come into their own. They’ve cut down their turnovers (25 against Fieldston were reduced to just nine against Friends) and picked up their finishing — Allan Houston canned 17 points against King, all of them in the first half, and Jason Schnall had 11 in the fourth quarter alone in the loss to Hamden Hall.

Speaking of Hamden Hall, Assistant Coach Jordan Griffith summed up the game this way: “Hamden is the best team we’ve seen so far. They were bigger, better, and more athletic then the other teams we played...and we can hang with them for sure. Most games will come down to our ability to do what we do. Hamden took us out of that at times. But we will be ready for them next time.”

That rematch won’t be for another six weeks. In the meantime, the Wildcats are on their holiday break sitting on the good side of .500. They resume play January 4 against St. Luke’s.

Co-captain Allan Houston finds himself between two Hamden Hall redwoods.