The decision in the battle of Long Island Class AA heavyweights Brentwood and Baldwin came quickly and decisively on Sunday.
Brentwood led by nine points after 3 1⁄2 minutes, by a dozen a minute later and by 17 at the end of a quarter. In the final three quarters, Baldwin showed it absolutely can play with Brentwood, but it was too late as the Indians won, 71-52, in the sixth annual Richard Brown Nassau-Suffolk Challenge at Uniondale.
“We love games like this, with all the hype,” Brentwood senior guard Amari Isaacs said. “We come dead-set to get to a fast start and that’s what we did today. [Baldwin] never stopped coming at us, but we had that lead to work with.”
Isaacs is a huge reason that was the case. He scored 11 of his 17 points, hitting three of his five-three-pointers, as Brentwood built its big lead.
“It’s like in every big non-league game, we’ve gotten off to a bad start,” Baldwin coach Darius Burton said. “It’s more a mental thing. Our kids don’t realize how good that we are. They’re too concerned about who they’re playing. Brentwood might be the best team on Long Island and you can’t spot them a 17-point lead like that.”
Baldwin (8-4) actually outscored Brentwood in the second and third quarters. It got the margin to nine four times, but each time, Brentwood (13-1) answered with a play by senior point guard Kenny Lazo or junior swingman Jordan Riley.
Lazo answered twice with drives and Riley with a dunk and then a three-point play.
Riley had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Alan Houston scored 14 points and Lazo had 12 points and eight assists for the Indians.
Isiah Walker scored 17 points and Kanami Jones had 13 for Baldwin.
Isaacs stole the show.
“Amari was big tonight and he can really shoot it,” Brentwood coach Anthony Jimenez said. “He’s better than I let him be. He’ll make three in a row and I’ll still sit him to try to get everyone who deserves into the game. I’m glad he had a game like this.”