Lindenhurst upsets Hills West
When Lindenhurst point guard Aaron Coughlin picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter, the Bulldogs appeared to be in trouble against two-time defending Class AA champion Half Hollow Hills West.
But senior shooting guard Stew Warren shifted to the point and carried the team as he had all season, causing a little Lind-sanity to ensue.
Warren scored 19 of his game-high 31 points in the second half and sparked a late 7-0 run as No. 8 Lindenhurst upset heavily favored No. 1 Hills West, 67-64, Tuesday in a Suffolk AA quarterfinal game.
"[Warren] did everything for us today," Lindenhurst coach Bret Kearney said. "He guarded tough, he played the point for us, he did it all."
Trailing 62-60 with 1:20 left in the game, Warren forced a turnover and went in alone for a layup that tied the score. On Hills West's next possession, Warren stole the ball again and passed to Kevin Czopeck, who put Lindenhurst ahead 64-62 with 47 seconds to go.
After another defensive stop, Warren took the ball the length of the court and converted a three-point play on a layup and free throw to seal the game, making it 67-62 with 22 seconds left.
Warren also finished with 20 rebounds, four steals and two blocks.
"It's a huge win for us," Kearney said. "Warren is one of the best players in the county, so with him on our team, we always have a good chance."
Dan Brzozka scored all 10 of his points in the second half, including two three-pointers that swung the momentum in Lindenhurst's favor. Brzozka's first three-pointer tied the score at 50 heading into the fourth quarter, and his second gave Lindenhurst a 56-55 lead with 3:40 left.
"Every time they got the lead, we answered back," Kearney said. "We really needed [Brzozka's] 10 points and it seemed like every time he scored, it came in a big spot."
Lindenhurst (16-4) earned its first trip to the Suffolk Class AA semifinals since the 2009-10 season, when it lost to Longwood. Hills West (16-4) was vying for its third straight Suffolk Class AA title and fourth in five years.
Lindenhurst will play No. 5 Central Islip (19-1) in its semifinal game at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Farmingdale State.