Northport ready to face miracle team in state semifinal
GLENS FALLS, N.Y. -- Northport's boys basketball team, in the state semifinals for the first time since 1995, watched the movie "Miracle" on its trip from Long Island. The Tigers' opponent, New Rochelle, lived one.
The Huguenots' Khalil Edney sank a desperation 60-footer to stun top-seeded Mount Vernon, 61-60, in the Section I playoffs on March 3. It was the Shot Heard 'Round the Basketball World as Edney appeared on SportsCenter, Good Morning America, Good Day New York and CNN.
"That shot, it changed a lot of our lives," Edney told Newsday at practice in New Rochelle on Wednesday. "We're in the state semifinals, the Final Four. Now we just want to continue on."
That's where Northport (22-2) comes in, also a determined participant in Saturday's 12:30 p.m. matchup at Glens Falls Civic Center.
"We're excited to compete against New Rochelle," first-year Northport coach Andrew D'Eloia said. "But to tell you the truth, we'd be excited to compete against anyone in the Final Four. It's much more about us than about them."
D'Eloia had a coach's take on Edney's heroics. "The thing that was most impressive is that he kept himself in the play," he said of Edney, whose long inbounds pass was intercepted by Mount Vernon and tossed into the backcourt, where Edney outhustled an opponent for it and launched his now-famous shot. "He didn't sulk, he didn't put his head down. Sure it was a lucky shot, but he made an athletic play. We all respect that. That's what we teach our kids. Never give up and be in every play. Sometimes it takes all 32 minutes to win a game."
Northport is led by 6-9 Luke Petrasek (18 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks per game). New Rochelle is led by ruggedly built, 6-3 Joe Clarke, who is averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds. "No last-minute shots will be needed,'' Edney said. "We'll be ready to play hard for all 32 minutes.''
But if Edney finds himself in a similarly desperate situation Saturday, he is welcome to play the miracle card again. Said Northport point guard Matt Smith with a grin: "We'll give him that shot all day long."