Arlyn Brown of Elmont gets mobbed by teammates after hitting a...

Arlyn Brown of Elmont gets mobbed by teammates after hitting a tie-breaking shot at the buzzer to lift the Spartans to a 53-51 win over Half Hollow Hills East in the Long Island Class AA boys basketball championship at Farmingdale State College on Saturday. Credit: James Escher

This wasn’t supposed to be Arlyn Brown’s moment. But the Elmont junior guard knew if the ball ended up in his hands, he was going to make this his moment.

Elmont called a timeout with less than three seconds left and the score tied at 51 in the fourth quarter. Plan A for the inbound play in front of midcourt was to find Cassius Moore. Plan B was finding a big man at the basket. Plan C … that one wasn’t drawn up.

Gemere Frias-Walsh, the inbounder, had to create plan C. Brown ended up being that Plan C.

“I knew there was little time on the clock so I had to make a play and get us to the next round,” Brown said. “The play we drew up didn’t work exactly how we wanted it to, so I had to make a play.”

Boy, did he make a play that won’t be forgotten anytime soon in the Long Island basketball community. Brown flashed open in front of Gemere Frias-Walsh to beat a five-second violation, took two dribbles, pulled up behind the right elbow and banked in the winning basket as time expired to give Elmont a 53-51 victory over Half Hollow Hills East in the boys basketball Long Island Class AA championship/Southeast Regional Final at Farmingdale State College on Saturday afternoon.

“I didn’t know if it was going to go in or not, but I shot it and I had a lot of hope behind it,” Brown said. “And when it went in, it just felt awesome. It was unreal. The way the crowd stormed and how everyone screamed my name, it was an actual dream.”

A handful of Elmont students and fans rushed the court after the winning shot before security quickly escorted them off without incident.

Elmont (21-4) advances to play the winner of Victor/Jamestown in the state Class AA semifinals at 2:15 p.m. on Friday at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls.

Coach Ryan Straub credited Brown for wanting the ball despite not being the first option.

“None of it was open, so our kids did what they do best and Arlyn made a [heck] of a play and [heck] of a shot,” Straub said. “He wasn’t scared of the moment. That wasn’t coaching, that was kids making plays.”

Elmont won its first Long Island championship, and advances to its first state semifinal, since 2016, the only other year it did so.

“It’s unreal,” Straub said. “I’m just so happy for our kids and the work they put in. There’s no words for this moment, it’s just incredible.”

Straub and the players couldn’t help but think back to finishing 5-14 two years ago in a rare poor season for the program. The Spartans followed that with a semifinal loss last season.

“We put in so much work ever since that season and even last year after we lost, we just kept putting in more work and more work because we knew we had the potential,” Brown said. “We had all the guys we needed here. Everyone bought in and we deserved this.”

Nassir Edwards had 14 points and Osagie Ekhator added 11, including two foul shots over the final 1:06, for Elmont. Moore added eight points, including knocking down two foul shots with 1:49 left to break a tie at 47.

“We knew this was going to happen,” Edwards said. “We knew we were going to work really hard and we did it.”

Elmont opened a 16-11 lead after the first quarter before Hills East took a 28-23 lead at halftime. The Spartans regained a 40-38 advantage after the third quarter and never trailed in the final period.

Ryan Zeh, who had 11 points for Hills East, made two foul shots with 20.1 seconds left to tie the score at 51. Jordan Cador had 14 points and Brandon Varlack added 13 for Hills East (19-5).

“We knew it was going to be close, we knew it was going to be a tough, physical, grind-it-out type of game,” Straub said. “And we knew we had the guys for that moment. We knew we had tough kids and hey, they made plays. They weren’t scared of the moment and I’m just so proud of them.”


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