Northport’s philosophy is simple but oh so effective. Share the ball, share the wealth.
“They play as near-perfect high school basketball as you’ll see,” Copiague coach Steve Rebholz said Thursday night after his team saw first-hand why the Tigers are the only undefeated boys team on Long Island.
Lukas Jarrett scored 19 points with 13 rebounds, four assists and four blocks as host Northport improved to 14-0 overall, 11-0 with a 67-47 Suffolk II victory.
Sean O’Shea scored 16 points with four threes and three steals, and Brennan Whelan scored 11 points with eight assists and three steals.
“That’s the system. Look for the extra pass,” Whelan said. “On a given night, anybody on our team can make plays. That’s why we trust each other.”
In fact, five different Tigers have scored at least 15 points in a game this season. “We always try to find the open man,” O’Shea said. “We’re an unselfish team and we have a lot of confidence in each other.”
While Jarrett, a 6-7 center, had his usual diversified game that not only featured a double-double but also varied shots from dunks to threes to reverse pivots to fadeaways, it was the guards who set the pace.
“Brennan and Sean feed off each other and make each other better,” Northport coach Andrew D’Eloia said. “We spend a lot of time in practice on passing and shooting because that’s what we need to do to compete against teams that are more athletic.”
Copiague (10-5, 7-4) fits that description, and stayed with the Tigers during the first quarter, which ended tied at 11. But Jarrett and O’Shea took over in the second period. Jarrett went back-door for a slam on a lob from O’Shea; Jarrett fed Rory Schynder for a layup with a sly no-look pass; and O’Shea nailed three consecutive shots from downtown in a decisive 13-2 run. The Tigers led 32-20 at halftime and built a lead as large as 22 points in the third quarter.
Andre Morgan led Copiague with 18 points and Michael Snowden scored 17, but the Eagles couldn’t prevent the Tigers from getting plenty of open looks.
“I told our guys before the game that if you’re down two points to them at halftime, it’s like being down 14 points to another team because of how savvy they are,” Rebholz said. “And we were down 12.”
That gave the Eagles very little chance against Northport, which, with each victory, is earning a greater share of respect around Long Island.