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Newfield's tough defense frustrates Smithtown West

Newfield's Campbell Mastrogiacomo puts in the layup past

Newfield's Campbell Mastrogiacomo puts in the layup past Smithtown West defenders. (Jan. 7, 2014) Credit: George A. Faella

It's known as the "honor roll,'' a list of three goals established by the Newfield coaching staff before every game. One is always to simply win. The other two are much more precise, and the penalty for not achieving them is rather exhausting.

"If they don't hit those goals, they know they'll have to do 'sweeps' the next day in practice,'' coach Anthony Agostino said. "That means they have to take out towels and wipe down the entire gym floor.''

His Wolverines made it a clean sweep of their goals Tuesday night in a thorough 51-32 victory over visiting Smithtown West in a Suffolk III game.

The other two goals were to force turnovers and hold the Bulls to fewer than five three-pointers. Turnovers were plentiful and threes were not. The Wolverines (4-1) managed only one -- by point guard Stephen Cohen -- and the Bulls (2-3) did not hit a single trey, usually their specialty.

"We knew they were one of the best three-point teams on Long Island,'' said Newfield forward Josh Fetter-Murphy, well aware that Smithtown West had made 64 threes in its first seven games. "So this feels great.''

Fetter-Murphy (seven points, four rebounds) and Cohen (nine points, three assists, three steals) spearheaded the suffocating defense. Fetter-Murphy held Nick Paquette to four points, 15 below his average, and Cohen helped to limit sharpshooting Billy Behrens to six points, 16 below his average.

Jarrell Cowell and Campbell Mastrogiacomo led the Wolverines with 12 points each. No Bull scored in double figures.

"We had to make them uncomfortable,'' Agostino said. "I don't think they were ever comfortable the entire game.''

Newfield forced a handful of turnovers and poor shots in building an 11-0 lead. When Smithtown West rallied to get within 17-13 midway through the second quarter, the hosts responded with another 11-0 burst that put the Wolverines in their own comfort zone for the rest of the night.

"Defense is what we're taught to do,'' Cohen said. "We love to run in practice and we never get out of breath.''

The 6-2 Fetter-Murphy said he knew he'd be guarding the 6-3 Paquette, "because Coach always gives me the other team's best scorer unless it's a point guard. I knew he liked to shoot the three, so I pressed out on him.''

The victory kept Newfield in the thick of the Suffolk III race, a singular season-long goal, especially for seniors Cohen and Fetter-Murphy. "We know that Newfield has never won a league title,'' Cohen said.

Added Fetter-Murphy: "We want to be the first team to hang a banner on the wall.''

It sure beats cleaning the floor.

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