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Kashawn Charles heats up, leads Wyandanch to Class A semifinals

Wyandanch's Kashawn Charles, #1, with the fast break

Wyandanch's Kashawn Charles, #1, with the fast break late in the first half of the Suffolk County boys basketball playoff game between Sayville and Wyandanch on Friday, February 17, 2017, at Sayville High School. Credit: Photo/video by Alan J Schaefer / Alan J Schaefer

Kashawn Charles was struggling. “I was forcing it,” the Wyandanch guard, who leads Long Island in scoring, said after a rough first half in which he scored only six points.

But Charles went from forced shots to an offensive force, scoring 11 straight points in a game-turning third-quarter burst that helped No. 5 Wyandanch to a 77-56 victory over host No. 4 Sayville on Friday night in a Suffolk Class A quarterfinal.

“Coach said slow down,” said Charles, who scored 13 of his 22 points in the third quarter as the Warriors outscored the Golden Flashes 26-11 to take a 53-33 lead. “I had to be more patient. That first three-point shot and the three free throws kicked off our run.”

Charles swished a three from the corner, then drew a foul on a shot from beyond the arc on the next possession. He made all three free throws, nailed a pull-up jumper in transition and converted a three-point play triggered by his own steal. He also whipped a pass to Corey Stewart for a layup during a 13-0 run.

Dionte Jordan, promoted from the junior varsity, continued the Warriors’ third-quarter dominance with two three-pointers sandwiched around a layup. Jordan was even better in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 of his 25 points, including three consecutive three-pointers from the same spot — the right corner, right in front of the Wyandanch bench.

The Warriors (15-6) will visit No. 1 seed Harborfields on Tuesday in a Suffolk Class A semifinal.

Sayville (13-8) got an outstanding performance from Joey Harclerode, who scored 39 points in his final game, including 25 of the Golden Flashes’ 34 second-half points.

Sayville, effectively extending its defense on Charles in the first half and showing patience on offense, trailed only 27-22 at the break. But Wyandanch utilized a high-pressure defense to force numerous turnovers and dominated on the offensive boards in scoring 50 second-half points.

“We love to get out and run,” Charles said. “Sometimes we start slow but then we kick it into high gear. That’s how we are.”

Coach Barry Baker said he urged Charles to “stay under control” in the second half. “We know every team will key on ‘K,’ ” Baker said. “But after he hit that three, he started warming up. And we had great energy in the third quarter.”

Jordan benefited most from the defensive attention paid to Charles, finishing with six three-pointers.

“He was on the JV, but we knew what he could do,” Charles said. “He stepped up. He’s got a nice stroke.

“We shoot together in practice. He picked up some shooting tips from me,” Charles added with a huge grin . . . one he didn’t have to force at all.

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