After three quarters of back-and-forth basketball with neither team taking a lead greater than four points, the Wyandanch boys basketball team turned to Darnell Evans to elevate his play with a county title on the line.
Evans scored Wyandanch’s first seven points of the fourth quarter as the No. 4 Warriors opened an eight-point lead en route to a 66-59 victory over No. 2 Kings Park in the Suffolk Class A boys basketball championship Tuesday at Floyd High School.
Evans scored nine of his 17 points and Marcus Haywood had 10 of his 17 in the fourth quarter as the two guards totaled all 19 of Wyandanch’s points in the period.
“They told me to be the leader,” said the 5-9 Evans. “Get the ball and do what I do. They told me get the ball and score; that’s what I did. And we’re county champions now.”
Wyandanch (17-6) won its first county championship since 2010 and its first Suffolk A title since 1979, according to Newsday records.
The Warriors advance to play the Nassau champion in the Long Island Class A championship/ Southeast Regional final March 10 at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum at 6 p.m. Wyandanch will play Center Moriches 7 p.m. Sunday at Farmingdale State College in the Suffolk small schools championship.
“We’ve been thinking about this since the start of the year,” Evans said. “We’ve been thinking about Farmingdale, and now we play at Farmingdale Sunday and it’s going to be great to play in a college stadium.”
Wyandanch held one-point leads (14-13 and 29-28) after the first quarter and halftime before a third quarter featuring four lead changes. Wyandanch took a 47-44 advantage into the fourth quarter before Darnell’s quick start to the period sparked the Warriors.
“He’s kind of like the heart and soul of the team,” coach Barry Baker Jr. said. “He has a great IQ. Because he’s small, a lot of people look at him and overlook him sometimes. But as soon as the whistle is blown and it’s time to play, he’s a whole different kid.”
Kings Park (16-7) pulled to within one point three times in the fourth quarter, but was unable to take a lead. Andrew Bianco led the Kingsmen with 21 points and Jack Garside added 18.
After losing five of their first six games of the season, the Warriors have won 16 of their last 17, with their eyes still set on the chance to play in Binghamton for a state championship.
“Everybody counted us out this season, saying we weren’t going to do it,” said Dionte Jordan, who finished with 14 points. “We wanted to prove them wrong.”
“Our goals still aren’t done yet,” Evans added. “We want to go upstate. One part of the mission’s complete, but it’s not all complete yet.”