After a nine-point second quarter - a remarkably low total for Long Island's highest- scoring team - it was only a matter of time before Longwood started to act like, well, Longwood.
"We were mad we were down at the half," Lions guard Darien Davis said last night after his team scored 51 second-half points for a 79-62 Suffolk Class AA boys basketball semifinal victory over Lindenhurst. "We yelled at each other. We didn't want it to be our last game."
Trailing 31-28 at halftime, No. 2 Longwood responded with a 27-point third quarter and a 24-point fourth quarter to beat No. 3 Lindenhurst before a crowd of about 1,500 at Farmingdale State. The Lions advanced to the Class AA title game against top-seeded Hills West on Wednesday night at Farmingdale State.
"Our defense created an all-out offense and gave us momentum from the crowd," said Davis, who scored 20 of his 27 points in the second half.
Davis sank two three-pointers in the third quarter as Longwood showed its quick-strike capabilities with runs of 8-0, 9-0 and 10-0 to build a 55-38 lead. Longwood did it in the second half without starting point guard Tajric Boggs, who suffered a foot injury in the first half and did not return to action.
Coach Dennis Terry said he expects Boggs to be OK for Wednesday's game, adding, "He wanted to go back in."
In Boggs' absence, Davis, Paris Parks (11 of his 17 in the second half) and reserve Gerald Holmes (all eight in the second half) took on bigger backcourt roles.
"We had to step up on defense and go to the basket without him because he's usually the only one who drives," said Davis, who made several twisting layups.
Still, the final margin was a bit deceiving because the Bulldogs scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter to cut their deficit to 55-49.
"This is Longwood-Lindy,'' Terry said. "It's a rivalry game and we've played them so many times over the years. I expected a battle. Anything can happen in a rivalry game."
Impressive sophomore Stew Warren had six points in Lindy's early fourth-quarter burst and scored nine of his 23 points in the final period. Senior Kamil Parzych, in the final game of an outstanding career, scored 10 of his 13 in the fourth.
But the emotion of the rivalry soon faded, and Longwood took control with three conventional three-point plays by Holmes, Parks and Davis.
Davis' free throw started a parade to the foul line for the Lions against the Bulldogs' desperate pressing tactics. The Lions scored their last 14 points from the free-throw line, with Davis getting 10 of them.
After all the difficult points he had scored earlier, he said it was nice to get a few easy ones. "I'll take them," he said with a relieved smile.