It was never brother against brother.
"No, no, no," Jack Agostino emphasized. "It's not the coach. It's the team."
So Jack took no added pleasure yesterday when his Amityville team defeated Harborfields, coached by his brother Chris, 52-42, in the Suffolk Class A championship game. Not even because Chris had eliminated Jack in this very same game each of the past two seasons and was the defending Class A state champion.
"I feel no different than beating anyone else," Jack said. "It's three different teams, three different groups of seniors. It's absolutely not more special that it's Chris. This win would be special against any team. Any time you win a county championship, that's all that matters."
Still, there was a little something extra in the air at Longwood. A third Agostino brother, Anthony who coached Newfield into the Class AA playoffs this season, was easy to spot in his yellow security windbreaker as he worked crowd control for a loud but well-behaved gathering of nearly 2,000 fans. One of those spectators was a fourth Agostino brother, Mike, the youngest, who coached Smithtown West into the AA playoffs. Mike sat with friends and numerous family members on one side of the wooden bleachers.
Tony Agostino, the father, sat with some of his friends and family four rows behind the scorers' table on the opposite side. "Right in the middle," he said with a grin before the game. Afterward, Tony was on the court hugging and kissing Jack and Chris.
Jack, who now has 453 victories and four state titles, was quick to say, "I'm very proud of my brother Chris. For him to build the program from scratch and to compete at the highest level on Long Island for the last four years and for years to come is very impressive to me."
Chris, always genial, demonstrated that while he lost his sibling duel yesterday, he didn't lose his sense of humor.
"At least now I can get invited to the family vacations," he joked. "Jack plans them and I haven't been invited the last two years. I always get voted out."