Amityville flashed its Green-light offense and red-light defense to cruise into the winner's circle Saturday.
Kavione Green scored 18 points and No. 1 Amityville's high-pressure man-to-man defense forced 19 turnovers in a 52-42 victory over No. 2 Harborfields in the Suffolk Class A championship game played before nearly 2,000 fans at Longwood.
"It's a relief," said Green, who scored 13 points in the first half as the Warriors built a 26-16 edge that forced the Tornadoes to play a little too fast trying to catch up. "The last two years we lost close games and it was heartbreaking. To finally win is a big relief. I'll sleep very well tonight."
It was the third straight year these two teams, coached by brothers Jack (Amityville) and Chris (Harborfields) Agostino have played for the county title. Amityville (18-2) lost, 68-64, last year and 67-62 in 2011, but this was a different style game. "Defensive pressure was the key," said Green, who added seven rebounds and some solid interior defense. "We got to our goal of 50 points [allowed]. We stopped them at 42."
The Warriors will face Babylon for the Suffolk Small School championship on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Longwood, but more importantly, said Jack Agostino, they will meet the Nassau B champion on March 5 for the right to go to the state tournament at Glens Falls. "Going upstate is something these kids have not experienced and I really would like that," said Agostino, who has guided Amityville to four state titles.
Harborfields, which won its first state crown last season, finished 16-4. Jon Patron was a one-man band with 28 points and 12 rebounds, including one second-half stretch when he scored 17 straight points for his team, which got no closer than a four-point deficit before Mike Smith beat the third-quarter buzzer with a crushing trey.
"Jon is a beast. He knows how to play in big games," Chris Agostino said. "I feel so bad for this kid that he had to lose this game today. He put us on his back and he made it spectacular. He made today his masterpiece. He just didn't win."
That's because Amityville had eight different players score and contribute in myriad ways. Mike Alston had five assists and Andy Laurent made three steals. Travis Dickerson scored eight of his nine points in the second half.
"They were good, real good," Tornadoes coach Chris Agostino said. "They did a tremendously job defensively. They came to play."
That became evident late in the first quarter when Sean Walters came off the bench to drain a three-pointer to spark a 10-0 scoring run that gave Amityville a 14-9 lead it never relinquished. Walters and Smith each sank a pair of treys. "We have a little motto. 'Let it fly!' " Jack Agostino said. "They all can shoot."
They all can play tenacious defense, too. "If we've done one thing consistently all year, it's that we defend," Jack Agostino said.
Green called it "rewarding to see what happens when you work hard for 35 seconds of defense every possession."
They were rewarded with a victory that Green cherished. His slithering drive down the lane for a layup with 1:58 left put Amityville ahead 47-39, and when Patron fouled out 10 seconds later -- one of four Tornadoes who did so -- the Warriors could exhale.
"The last two years it was heartbreaking to go home and know the season was over," Green said. "I'll go to sleep and wake up knowing there's practice the next day. I'll be happy to run. I'm a senior. I didn't want this to end."