Half Hollow Hills West was looking for Matt Asenjo, of all people.
That’s right, Matt Asenjo. In the No. 3 Colts’ impressive 72-47 victory over No. 2 Northport on Sunday in a Suffolk Class AA semifinal at Stony Brook University’s Island FCU Arena, it was unheralded junior Asenjo, not the Big Three of Kian Dalyrimple, Richard Altenord or Cam Jordan, who lit up the Seawolves’ home court.
“That was really special that they looked for me,” said Asenjo, who nailed four of his six three-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with 22 points. “I had never performed on a stage like this. But when I hit the first one or two, I knew I was on.”
So were Dalyrimple (19 points, four three-pointers) and Jordan (15 points, five blocks). Northport star center Lukas Jarrett sat out most of the first half with two fouls, and by the time he returned in the third quarter, the Tigers’ 31-20 halftime deficit was growing.
“Matt is not a secret weapon. We knew he could shoot,” Hills West coach Bill Mitaritonna said. “I had a gut feeling before the game that he’d do well in a big arena, but I had no idea he’d do what he did.”
What Asenjo did was score 14 of his 17 second-half points in the fourth quarter to drive the Colts (19-2) into the Suffolk Class AA final for the second year in a row. They will face No. 1 Brentwood, the defending champion, on Tuesday night at 7:30 at Suffolk Community CC-Brentwood.
Sean O’Shea had 12 points and Jarrett scored only nine for Northport (19-2). “I’m in complete shock,” Mitaritonna said. “Northport is a great team and I expected a close game.”
Dalyrimple had 11 points in the first half as Hills West took advantage of Jarrett’s absence to make numerous layups.
“He’s probably their best player, and when he went out, we capitalized,” Dalyrimple said. “We just tried to get to the basket and kept moving the ball. We got everyone involved.”