Josh Serrano fought his way through some early-game shooting woes, but he showed up when it counted most.
Serrano scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter Sunday as Amityville earned a 77-69 win over Half Hollow Hills East and captured its first Suffolk boys basketball overall title since 2013 before a capacity crowd at Farmingdale State.
“Joshua is a true leader,” Amityville coach Gordon Thomas said. “He had a sprained thumb and his shots were off, and he still found a way to lead us. He’s a special player.”
“The team definitely feeds off my energy,” Serrano said. “I’m never down. I can’t be. It was a little frustrating early on, but I finally got my shot down.”
Amityville (24-1) will meet Garden City (22-0) for the Long Island Class A championship at 3 p.m. Saturday at Farmingdale State. Hills East (22-3) will face Uniondale (21-1) for the L.I. Class AA title at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Farmingdale State. The winner of each game will advance to the state final four.
Serrano hit a long three-pointer and a layup off a steal to erase a 60-56 fourth-quarter deficit and give the Warriors the lead for good at 61-60. Jayson Robinson (20 points, eight steals) extended the lead with a steal and layup.
“Jayson played a phenomenal game,” Thomas said. “He’s the best defender on Long Island. He was asked to guard Savion Lewis, arguably the best player on Long Island, and I thought it was game-changing. He did a very good job not allowing Lewis to create scoring opportunities or get any easy looks.”
Robinson had the herculean task of slowing down Lewis, the top scorer on Long Island at 33 points per game. Lewis had 29 points, shooting 9-for-27 and turning the ball over seven times. “You can’t really stop a guy like Lewis,” Robinson said. “I tried to pressure him and keep him off his game.”
“Amityville came out hot and we were flat,” Hills East coach Pete Basel said. “And that’s the first time we’ve really seen Savion have an off night. You give the defense credit.”
Amityville opened a 27-15 first-quarter lead, hitting 11 of 16 shots from the field. “Our defense made a statement,” senior Julius Goddard said. “We also forced the ball inside and showed we could play an inside game and not rely on threes.”
Amityville led 40-32 at halftime, but Hills East used a 26-14 third quarter to take a four-point lead. Lewis’ buzzer-beating three-pointer gave him 11 points in the final 3:55.
Then Amityville outscored Hills East 23-11 in the final quarter. “We kept our heads,” Robinson said. “And we kept working. We had a little motivation because we knew everyone out there didn’t think we could compete with Hills.”
“This is a great win over a great opponent,” Serrano said. “What a night for Amityville.”