The pieces are different, but the puzzle is starting to take on a familiar shape for Brentwood.
The Indians’ starting five Friday night included three freshmen and not a single player who started last season, when Brentwood lost in the Suffolk Class AA boys basketball championship game after winning the Long Island championship the previous two seasons.
“New parts,” Brentwood coach Anthony Jimenez said.
Old story, the standings say.
Brentwood routed host Floyd, 81-61, led by a spirited game by 5-10 freshman Ken Lazo that included 13 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.
Despite their youth, the Indians (14-3, 10-1 in Suffolk I) are battling Ward Melville for first place. Friday night’s loss to Commack left the Patriots at 10-2.
“It’s a unique ride, an evolution as far as maturity and understanding roles,” Jimenez said. “But we are starting to demonstrate youthful togetherness.”
That was evident in the balanced boxscore. Senior Rahmel Allen came off the bench to score 16 points, hitting four three-pointers in the fourth quarter. Freshman Zed Key, a 6-6 center who already has received two Division I scholarship offers, according to his coaches, scored 12 of his 15 points in the third quarter.
Senior Karis Watson, who teams with Lazo in an unusual two-point guard lineup, scored all seven of his points in the first quarter, when the Indians took a 23-11 lead, helped by Lazo’s buzzer-beating three-pointer.
“We like to push the ball up the floor and run the other team out of the gym,” said Lazo, who had three of Brentwood’s 12 three-pointers. “I try to set up my teammates first, but if I have the open shot, I’ll take it.”
Lazo and Watson (six assists) had some good looks early because Floyd (8-9, 6-6) — which got 27 points from A.J. Ray and 18 from Mike Thomas — triple-teamed Key in the low post. “Once they came out on us, Zed was more open and we took advantage,” Lazo said.
After Ray’s jumper to start the third quarter cut the Colonials’ deficit to 37-25, the game turned with Key in the ignition. He scored the Indians’ next nine points, including a breakaway dunk, and fueled a game-clinching 10-0 run with a fadeaway and layup off a feed from Lazo. That made it 52-30 with 2:09 left in the third.
“I’ve tried to be a leader and tell everybody what to do on the court,” Watson said. “It’s taken a while, but the chemistry is there and I think we’ll make a great playoff run.”