For Amityville, Thursday's game was a 50-50 proposition. Hold Mount Sinai to 50 points or fewer and avoid the penalty: A grueling session in which every player must help wipe down the entire basketball court with a towel, while crouched on all fours.
It took a rock-solid defensive stand in the fourth quarter as the Warriors held the Mustangs scoreless for the final 4:10 on their way to a 60-50 victory that clinched the League VI title.
"I set the goal for this game at 50 points," said Amityville coach Jack Agostino, whose team improved to 10-0 in league and 13-2 overall. "They were happy they didn't have to clean the floor. It's a pretty tough drill."
"Defense was the key to the game," said Travis Dickerson, who scored 12 points and made a couple of key steals as Amityville blanked Mount Sinai down the stretch. "Forcing turnovers is a major part of what we do."
Kavione Green and Sean Walters sparked a 7-0 flurry to start the fourth quarter, turning back-to-back steals into layups as Amityville grabbed a 51-44 lead. But Greg Kopcienski (22 points) and Mike Guzzardi (19) produced the next six points for the Mustangs to make it 51-50. They did not score again.
"We changed things up a little with our defensive pressure," Agostino said.
Green also changed his game. He had a rough first half, scoring only two points and showing some anger when he thought he wasn't getting the ball enough. Agostino benched him briefly and then delivered a halftime pep talk, with Mount Sinai holding a 28-27 lead on Kopcienski's three-pointer at the buzzer.
"I was frustrated and I took it out on my teammates," Green said. "Coach told me to keep my composure. He said that our best players had to step up. I concentrated on my defense and started looking to go to the basket."
That strategy allowed Green to score 15 second-half points. He cleaned up, but Amityville didn't have to.