Early in last night's Suffolk Small Schools championship game, Harborfields had trouble seeing its way through the traffic created by Wyandanch's pressure defense. Often, the path to the basket was clogged. But eventually, the Tornadoes had 20/20 vision and the view was fine.
Matt Curry and Matt McLeod scored 20 points each to lead Harborfields (20-2) to a 55-39 victory over the Warriors (14-8) and a spot in Saturday's championship game against the AA champion, Half Hollow Hills West.
"There wasn't very much flow early. We tried to get it into the post but we couldn't," McLeod said. "We came into the game thinking we could cruise because it doesn't really count, but they came out rowdy, so we had to respond."
McLeod was referring to the fact that both teams were guaranteed to move on in the state tournament. Wyandanch will face Malverne on Tuesday at Bay Shore in the Long Island B championship game, which also serves as a state regional semifinal. Harborfields will play the Nassau A champion March 13 at Hofstra, with the winner going to Glens Falls.
"The states has been our main goal all year," said Curry, who scored eight points in the third quarter, when the Tornadoes went on an 11-0 run to take a 41-28 lead that was never seriously threatened. "The game was a little sloppy. But we hung in and got higher-percentage shots in the third quarter."
In the fourth, when Qualice Jones (11 points) scored two quick baskets to cut Wyandanch's deficit to 45-37, McLeod took over. Though he admitted his outside shot "wasn't falling," he put the game out of reach with his customary slashes, scoring 10 points in the quarter.
"Getting to the basket is where I can succeed," said McLeod, who made five steals despite having to hold back a little on defense because of early foul trouble. "Those quick fouls hurt because I like to gamble."
Harborfields coach Chris Agostino thought he had a sure thing with the ball in McLeod's hands late. "He took over the game," Agostino said.
It was plain to see.