Brentwood's Kenny Lazo, right, lays the ball in while defended...

Brentwood's Kenny Lazo, right, lays the ball in while defended by Kingston's Jimmy Moot, left, and Daivel Jackson during a Class AA semifinal at the NYSPHSAA Boys Basketball Championships in Binghamton, N.Y., Friday, March 15, 2019.  Credit: Adrian Kraus

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Kenny Lazo considers himself a giver.

The Brentwood junior point guard has spent his season getting his teammates the ball, orchestrating the Indians' offense and, now, he’s got his sights set on a state championship. Brentwood was scheduled to take on West Genesee in the state Class AA boys basketball championship at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Maines Arena.

It’s the first title appearance for Brentwood since 2015.

“I feel like my role is to keep my teammates believing that we’re going to win,” Lazo said. “I get my teammates the ball where they most want it and I keep their heads up and make sure everyone is on the same page.”

Lazo isn’t worried about how many points he scores in a game. He finished with 10 in the 74-63 semifinal victory over Kingston on Friday but also dished out four assists. Brentwood coach Anthony Jimenez said Lazo has quietly assumed a leadership role this season that has made the championship run possible.

“He’s the definition of leadership, really,” Jimenez said. “Every point guard has an incredible responsibility on their hand. They’re the orchestrator and the extension of the coaching staff, and training a young man do that isn’t always easy, but Kenny has been with me since he was a freshman. That responsibility has never been taken lightly.”

Brentwood’s offense averaged 77 points this year, sparked by a strong transition game that Lazo has assumed control of. He’s quick to the ball and an even quicker study of what’s happening on the court.

It’s a knowledge that Jimenez said began in the offseason when the Indians (25-2) worked together, preparing for every on-court situation they could come up with.  Lazo learned where players like Bryce Harris, who finished with 26 points in the seminal victory, Alan Houston and Romello Wright wanted the ball and has made sure to put it exactly where they say, particularly in the postseason. 

“He understands to play point he has to get people the ball in certain spots, to understand who has the hot hand and what the tempo of the game is,” Jimenez said. “He’s done that exceptionally well. We are successful because of him.”

Lazo’s role for Brentwood hasn’t always stolen the spotlight, but he said he wouldn’t change a thing. He’s thrived on the chance to set up the Indians’ success and takes pride in his teammates’ stat lines as if they are his own.

He’s hoping to come home with something else to proud of as well: the first state championship in program history.

“It would mean everything,” Lazo said. “We’ve been dreaming about this since forever and we want to make our community proud, our parents proud. We want to make history tonight and we believe we can do it."


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