The Long Island Lutheran boys and girls are the last Long Island basketball teams standing, both are No. 1 in the state in their classifications, and both begin play in the state Federation Tournament of Champions semifinal round today at the Times Union Center in Albany.
The LuHi boys (24-2), NYSAIS champs and the No. 1 Class AA team, face New York City power No. 3 Lincoln (26-5), the PSAL champions, at 8:30 p.m. This is a rematch of a Feb. 10 duel when the host Crusaders defeated the Railsplitters, 58-49.
In that game, Lutheran center Kentan Facey scored 12 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Facey, a 6-9 senior who signed with Connecticut, was a double-double machine all season, averaging 14.5 points and 12.2 rebounds. He also blocked nearly four shots a game. Facey on Thursday was named New York State's Gatorade Player of the Year. Previous L.I. winners were Lutheran's Achraf Yacoubou (2011) Tobias Harris of Half Hollow Hills West (2010) and Jason Fraser of Amityville (2002).
The Crusaders also feature sophomore point guard Chris Atkinson (5.5 assists) and shooting guard Mical-Ryan Boyd, who led the team in scoring at 15 points per game. If they beat Lincoln, led by nationally rated junior shooting guard Isiah Whitehead, they will face the Bishop Kearney-Christ the King winner for the Class AA title Saturday night at 8:30. LuHi won the Federation tournament the last two years as a Class A team but moved up in classification for the 2012-13 season. Overall, the Lutheran boys have won seven Federation championships.
The Lady Crusaders, who moved up from Class B to Class A for this season, are 19-4 and ranked No. 1 in the state in Class A. They play No. 5 Nazareth (17-10), the CHSAA champion, Friday at 10 a.m. If the LuHi girls win, they would face the winner of the Troy-Graphic Communication Arts game Saturday at 3:15 p.m.
The Lutheran girls are led by Lauren "Boogie" Brozoski, who averages 18.8 points and has made 43 three-pointers, and center Staci Barrett, who has recorded a handful of double-doubles. The Lady Crusaders lost last year's Class B title game to Irvington but were Federation champions in 2011.