Fire alarms blared and delayed the second half of Saturday’s Jericho-Floral Park game.
While the actual cause was a popcorn-machine malfunction, Jericho guard Brandon Weiss was the one torching things up, as his 24 points led the Jayhawks to an upset win.
Led by a strong effort by Weiss on both ends of the floor, No. 10 Jericho edged host No. 7 Floral Park, 53-43, in the first round of the Nassau Class A playoffs, earning a second-round game at No. 2 Lynbrook at 1 p.m. Thursday.
“Everyone brought the defensive intensity, we shut their best players down, and everyone was there for each other and helping each other,” Weiss said.
Jericho (13-8) set the tone defensively and held Floral Park to nearly 19 points below its season scoring average.
“Our coaches got us so prepared,” Weiss said. “We knew exactly what they wanted to do and we shut them down.”
“Their preparation was outstanding,” coach Wally Bachman said. “We came ready to play and we came ready to win.”
One thing they did not prepare for was the nearly 20-minute delay of the start of the third quarter, as the fire alarms forced an evacuation of the building.
Said Weiss, “We didn’t lose focus the whole time. It was pretty strange but we never lost our focus.”
This remained true down the stretch. Floral Park (14-5) trailed for most of the game but tied the score at 33 at the end of the third quarter and was only down by 1 with 4:16 left, before Jericho used an 8-2 run to pull away. The spurt was capped by a pair of free throws from Corey Wong, which made the score 48-41 with about 1:20 left.
Wong (10 points) and Aaron Jaffee (eight points) complimented Weiss on offense, and Ben Weinberg chipped in five points and helped lead the Jayhawks’ defense.
Jayson Delgado and Michael Matich led Floral Park with 11 points apiece.
While Saturday’s win was naturally Jericho's biggest victory of the season, it was not its first over the upper-echelon of the county, as the Jayhawks notched regular-season wins over No. 1 Elmont and No. 4 Manhasset.
“After we beat Elmont [64-52, on Feb. 6], I think that was the point we knew we could play with any team,” Weiss said.
Added Bachman: “You play defense like we did today, you can play with anyone.”