Aaren Edmead refers to his Deer Park team as "trigger-happy." And Friday night, it was Edmead who pulled the trigger the most. The Falcons are very happy with the results.
Edmead scored eight consecutive fourth-quarter points to erase a five-point deficit and power No. 2 Deer Park to a 63-56 victory over No. 3 Half Hollow Hills East in a Suffolk Class AA semifinal before more than 1,000 at Farmingdale State. The Falcons (18-3) will face Brentwood for the Class AA title at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Farmingdale State.
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Edmead put the point in point guard by scoring 30. "All year I've been going with 'by any means necessary.' It's my last season. Can't lose," he said. "Whatever my teammates need. I have to be a playmaker."
The plays he had to make against the Thunderbirds (19-2) were of the scoring variety. Edmead sank six shots from downtown, including two in a row during the game-turning flurry.
With Hills East leading 45-40, Edmead came down on the fast break, pulled up and sank a three-pointer. On the next trip, his trey gave Deer Park its first lead since the first quarter.
Hills East defended the arc on Deer Park's next possession, so Edmead sliced through the lane for a lefty layup. He penetrated again on the next trip and dished to Jashawn Thompson for an easy layup. Two minutes later, Edmead slithered between defenders for a layup and a 57-51 lead. In the fourth quarter, he scored 12 points and Karon Blackwell had seven of his 13.
Justin Fackler led Hills East with 15 points and Mike Simon had 13. Jordan McRae thrilled the crowd early with four of his five blocks in the first four minutes, so Deer Park adjusted and scored its first 12 points on treys.
"Hats off to Jordan. He alters every shot," Deer Park coach John McCaffrey said. "We had to change our shooting angles."
It took a while, but the geometry eventually worked out. "Those blocks made us a little nervous," Edmead said. "But I tried to keep us composed."
Deer Park made 10 three-pointers, and when Hills East came out to defend the arc, Edmead sped to the basket. "When I get into the paint,'' he said, "good things happen."
Good things happen whenever and wherever Edmead pulls the trigger.
Brentwood wins. Cheered on by a large crowd wearing lime-green "WOOD NATION'' T- shirts, No. 1 Brentwood scored 30 points in the fourth quarter and beat No. 13 Northport, 76-61, in a Suffolk AA semifinal before a crowd of more than 900 at Farmingdale State.
Mike Almonacy scored 23 points and Femi Olujobi had 13 of his 21 in the fourth quarter for Brentwood (19-2), which will play in the county final for the first time since 2005. Gerard Brady had 18 points and Austin Marchese 17 for the defending county champion Tigers (14-7).