It was a golden summer for some of the best high school boys basketball players on Long Island.
Anthony White (Floyd), Emile Blackman (Half Hollow Hills West) and Lucas Woodhouse (Harborfields) led the Long Island Region team to a 60-43 victory over Southern Tier in the gold medal game on Sunday, Aug. 7, to conclude the BCANY Summer Games in Johnson City, N.Y., near Binghamton.
“In the championship round we played the local team in front of a jam-packed gym,” head coach Rob Schwender of East Islip said. “It was close at halftime [with L.I. leading 23-16]. Then we played a great halfcourt trap and went on an 18-0 run to break it open. Everyone contributed.”
The inaugural hoops festival was staged as a replacement for the canceled Empire State Games, and the Basketball Coaches Association of New York plans to make it an annual event that attracts top scholastic players from around the state.
“We put together such a good roster and we wanted to show it off so in future years other kids will make a big deal out of these games and want to participate,” Schwender said.
Long Island won all three of its pool-round games, including a dramatic 94-91 overtime victory over a Hudson Valley team that featured three players from state champion Mount Vernon. White, Long Island’s leading scorer for the tournament with 20 points per game, sank a game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer to force OT.
White scored 19 points in the gold-medal game. Woodhouse, the point guard, led Long Island in assists in all four games. Blackman, who won Saturday night’s dunk competition, was one of Woodhouse’s favorite targets on the fast break. “We had a high-powered offense. We were high flying in transition. Dunks all over the place,” Schwender said.
The other members of the Long Island team, which averaged 80 points a game, were Evan Maxwell (East Islip), Justin Ringen (Harborfields), Stu Warren (Lindenhurst), Ryan Hickey (Smithtown West), David Seymour (Amityville), Brian Johnson (East Islip) and Devin Burney (Floyd).
“We were a balanced team. We shared the ball. We had tremendous chemistry,” said Schwender. “In one game [a 109-73 victory over Mid-Hudson], we had seven players between 10 and 16 points. I was blessed as a coach to have these guys. They really represented Long Island well."