As their shots continuously misfired for nearly a four-minute stretch of the first quarter, Jordan Riley and his Brentwood teammates remained poised. Their composure was rewarded by a scoring wave that couldn’t be stopped.
“We were chilling,” said Riley, the junior who tallied 24 points, eight blocks and seven steals in an 82-50 victory over No. 9 Ward Melville in a Suffolk Class AA boys basketball quarterfinal on Thursday night. “We said, ‘We’re going to get through this. It happens but it’s going to come for us.’ We weren’t worried.”
Brentwood (21-1), last season’s state Class AA runner-up, will face No. 4 Deer Park in the semifinals on Feb. 25 at Longwood High School at 6:30 p.m.
A 19-3 run sparked by a swarming full-court press and numerous opportunities in transition over the final 3:42 of the first quarter gave Brentwood a 21-7 lead entering the second and provided a significant momentum shift that the Indians utilized the rest of the way.
“That brought us a lot of energy,” said senior guard Kenny Lazo, who added 21 points. “We were all hyped and ready to come out in the second quarter.”
Brentwood closed out the first half with a 9-0 run over the final two minutes, and led Ward Melville (14-8) at the break, 41-23. Riley, one of the premier talents on Long Island, converted four free throws and highlighted the stretch with two emphatic blocks.
On his second rejection with five seconds remaining, Riley snatched the ball out of midair moments before it could hit the backboard on a layup attempt, and sent the crowd into one of many frenzies. He also threw down a number of rim-rocking dunks throughout the night.
“Jordan has God-given abilities that other kids dream of having,” Brentwood coach Anthony Jimenez said. “And he shows it. Not only is he gifted, he plays hard all the time. He’s always reading and looking to change shots, block shots, come up with a steal.”
Brentwood outscored Ward Melville, 15-7, in the third to take a 56-30 advantage before earning another trip to the semifinals.
“We just move in silence,” Riley said. “We come to win.”