Jeff Park, KeAndre Augustine deliver one-two punch as Glenn defeats Valley Stream South
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The ball -- and maybe the season -- was heading out of bounds. But Glenn's precocious 5-7, sophomore whippet KeAndre Augustine, moving at warp speed, leaped to save the ball, rifled a no-look pass to teammate Paul Wesnofske, who quickly bounced a pass to Jeff Park under the basket for an astonishing layup.
"That got me hyped up," Augustine said. At the time, early in the second quarter, the Knights were trailing by eight. By halftime, the deficit was three. Midway through the third quarter, Glenn led by nine. "I think that swung the momentum our way."
Glenn continued its unlikely second-chance magical journey, scoring 45 second-half points and pulling away from Valley Stream South, 68-58, Saturday to win the Long Island Class A championship at Hofstra and make its first trip to the state final four at Glens Falls since 1987. Glenn will face Scotia-Glenville Saturday at 10:45 a.m.
It was the 1-2, lefty-righty combination of sophomore Augustine (14 of his 25 points in the first half) and senior southpaw Park (24 of his 30 in the second half) that carried the Knights, who thought their season was over after a 74-73 overtime loss to Amityville in the Suffolk Class A final. But Amityville was forced to forfeit the game three days later on Feb. 25 for using an ineligible player and the Knights have seized the moment.
"When we lost to Amityville, it was heartbreaking," Park said. "We know the second chance was a blessing."
Augustine's hustle play typified Glenn's grit. The Knights offset a height disadvantage up front with an opportunistic zone defense that created numerous turnovers. And then there was that dynamic backcourt duo. "Jeff is an intelligent player. I just try to match him," Augustine said.
Park had his own signature moment, a clean pick of Valley Stream South's Dana King near midcourt that he turned into a layup. That was part of Glenn's 27-point fourth quarter that cemented the victory.
Darryl Daniels scored six of his 10 points in that fourth quarter, including a big three-pointer that made it 55-47. A conventional three-point play by Hall Elisias (13 points) and three free throws by King reduced the Falcons' deficit to 56-53 with 2:33 left. But Park answered. He converted yet another steal into a basket and sliced through the taller Falcons for another layup and some breathing room.
Augustine and King were matched up on occasion, as a pair of jersey No. 11s staged an interesting duel of sophomore point guards. They both scored 25 points, but Augustine got the win and also earned additional style points for several spectacularly acrobatic drives. "I like to play against the best," he said.
The competition seems to be bringing out the best for Park and Augustine, who have flourished during this playoff run.
"It might seem like they're trying to outdo each other, but really, they're just a good tandem," Glenn coach Charly Rogener said. "We have one lefty and one righty and it really works out well when they attack the basket from opposite sides."
Of his team's restart, Rogener said, "It's a tough situation but we just stay focused and try to keep the train going."
It helps to have two guards like Park and Augustine carrying the freight.