Commack Cougars caged by Brentwood

Commack Cougars caged by Brentwood

All photos by Steven Zaitz

Sometimes the third time is not the charm.

The Commack boys basketball team, bidding for its first Suffolk County AA Championship in school history, lost to the Brentwood Indians on Saturday night, 68-46. The game was played in front of about 1,500 fans at Stony Brook University’s Island Federal Arena.

Despite having beaten Brentwood twice in the regular season, Commack could not close the deal and found themselves down by 10 points just five minutes into the game. They never fully recovered.

The Indians clogged up passing lanes and caused myriad turnovers that led to easy baskets, as sophomore guard Jeremiah Webb and junior forward Marquese Dennis led Brentwood with 14 points each. Junior guard Tyrell Davender had 13.

Commack, who came into the final game having beaten top-seeded Smithtown West in the semifinals, cut the lead from 12 to 6 in the final two minutes of the first half. But they could not seize upon that momentum coming out of the tunnel to start the third period.

The Cougars mustered only a single point in the first five minutes of the second half until Cougar guard Mike Gitz hit a three-pointer from the wing. But during this stretch, Brentwood had built a 38-22 lead. And when 5-foot-10 guard Josh Ramos from Brentwood rattled in a long ball from the right corner with four and a half left in the game, the Commack stands began to empty. The score was 51-29 in favor of the Indians.

Gitz led the Cougars with 16 but most of those came when the game was out of reach for Commack. Star guard Nick Waga was held to two field goals and just six points on the evening.

It was the fourth Suffolk AA crown for head coach Anthony Jimenez and Brentwood since 2014. Usually a highly seeded team, the seventh-ranked Indians had to knock off No. 2 Bayshore and No. 3 Bellport to reach the final. They finished with an overall record of 17-7. Commack finishes at 20-4.

Pictured clockwise from above, Cougars’ Nick Waga drives to hole but is called for an offensive foul; Commack’s Mike Gitz; and Cougars’ Chris McHugh (34) goes in for a contested layup as Freddy Diogene defends.