Washington's 21 pace 'Cinderella' Longwood
Raise your hand if you had Longwood and Huntington playing in the quarterfinals on your bracket.
Odds are that few, if any, hands went up. But both upset their first-round opponents, setting the stage for a matchup between two bracket busters. With Cinderella rights on the line, No. 12 Longwood defeated No. 20 Huntington, 54-39, Tuesday night in a Suffolk Class AA Tournament quarterfinal.
But Longwood wants no part of that Cinderella stuff.
"We don't want to be called that," said Emmanuel Ferreira, who had 12 points. "In the beginning of the year, we had high expectations. We always thought we were going to be here."
Now they're here thanks in part to Latrell Washington. The senior guard scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half, including a corner three midway through the third quarter to give Longwood a 33-24 lead.
Washington drained a baseline jumper to make it 41-34 with 4:07 remaining in the fourth. He then found Stephon Odle (nine points, eight rebounds) under the basket for a three-point play that increased the lead to 10.
"My team expects me to be a playmaker," Washington said. "I have to make big plays when they need me to."
Huntington's Patrick Reilly had 13 points, including a baby hook with 5:15 remaining to cut the deficit to five. Devon Nelson added 12 points for Huntington (10-11), Suffolk's lowest-seeded team, which was coming off a stunning win over No. 4 Central Islip.
"We really started clicking at the end of the season," Reilly said. "We got as far as we could. Overall we had a good effort, it just wasn't good enough today."
Longwood (13-6) advances to play No. 1 Northport in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The game originally was scheduled to be played at the neutral site of Longwood High School.
But that location is no longer neutral and likely will be changed because of a Cinderella team that refuses to be called one.
"We weren't one of the teams that were picked to get this far," Washington said. "Everybody doubted us. So, it feels great to be here."