Babylon had a big size advantage against Bridgehampton in Saturday's Suffolk Class BCD boys basketball playoff game.
While Bridgehampton's tallest player was 6-feet-3, Babylon had not one, but two 6-10 players. The height difference was a key factor.
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When Bridgehampton threw its physical defensive play at star guard Fernando Vazquez, Babylon countered with meticulous ball movement that resulted in its big men scoring down low to key a 45-34 win as the Panthers advanced to the Suffolk small schools championship game.
"The guards were great and they got me right where I wanted down low," said the 6-10 Brendan Laing, who had eight points and five rebounds. "It gave us a lot of opportunities for plenty of easy buckets. We knew we had that advantage and we were going to exploit it."
Raymond Wardell, also 6-10, had six points and four rebounds.
Laing scored six consecutive points in the second quarter as Bridgehampton's physical play was not enough to deter Babylon's size advantage.
Bridgehampton started the game on an 8-2 run, but Babylon's defense locked down and allowed only four points in the second quarter.
Bridgehampton's Jason Hopson, who scored 26 points in his team's previous game, was held to 11 Saturday. Babylon's Vazquez, who had 30 in his previous game, scored 10 Saturday as his teammates picked up the slack.
"It's great that if one guy is [off], we can all pick it up," Laing said.
Jake Carlock scored 11 points to lead Babylon, which stifled Bridgehampton by using coach Chris Morra's full-court press.
"We knew they had some great players coming in and we told our guys to keep an eye on them," Morra said. "We just had to be aware."
Babylon will play Amityville in the Suffolk small schools championship Tuesday.
"While this is a great feeling, we're nowhere yet," Laing said. "There are still plenty of games to be won. It's going to be tough, but we have what it takes."