With a jab step here, a crossover dribble there and, always, the long-range three, Tavon Ginyard's offensive skills have taken him all over Long Island during the first three years of his high school basketball career while playing for St. John the Baptist. Now, he is taking those skills right around the corner.
Ginyard, a Brentwood resident, decided after his AAU summer season ended to transfer to his hometown high school.
"I want to win a championship. Brentwood has some great players and it's a familiar place to come back to," Ginyard said Sunday night after scoring 16 points, including four three-pointers, to earn MVP honors and spark Suffolk to an 89-80 victory over Nassau in the fifth Alzheimer's All-Star Basketball Classic played at Long Island Lutheran.
Long Island hoops fans got a taste of just how good Brentwood can be this season as Ginyard teamed with returning stars Mike Almonacy (eight points) and Jamel Allen (11 points) to offset Nassau's Lutheran link that featured returning Crusaders Marvin Prochet (21 points), Devonte Green (11 points) and point guard Chris Atkinson.
The game was tied at 35 at the half, and Suffolk built a lead as large as 12 points with four minutes to play. The Brentwood trio combined to score 13 of Suffolk's final 15 points.
Suffolk had 10 threes, compared with six for Nassau. In typical all-star game style, the bigs tried to show they can score from downtown while the smalls tried to show they could score inside with daring drives. Allen, a 6-7 forward with exceptional leaping ability, sank a pair of threes but could not manage a single dunk.
"It's an all-star game. Everybody wants to score," Ginyard said.
That included the 5-9 guard who for much of the game was not paired with Almonacy nor on the court with Allen as both teams rotated all of their players in and out of the lineups.
But in the final four minutes, all three Brentwood players were on the court, matched against Lutheran's big-time threesome. That's a lot of future college talent on display, though only three of the six are seniors currently being recruited -- Prochet, Atkinson and Ginyard. Green, Almonacy and Allen are juniors.
"Everybody will want to see Brentwood play," Ginyard said of the Indians, who won the Suffolk and Long Island Class AA titles last year before losing in a state semifinal at Glens Falls. "We want to get back to states."
Whether they get there with Ginyard at the point and Almonacy at two guard or vice-versa remains to be seen.
"We'll alternate," Ginyard predicted. "But it doesn't matter. We'll have great chemistry. We've played together [in summer ball] for six years. We know when the other guy gets hot to get him the ball."
It was Ginyard who nailed back-to-back pullup threes late in Sunday's game to seal the deal for Suffolk. "When I came back in, I was looking for my shot," Ginyard said.
Allen was matched against Prochet for portions of the contest, producing an intriguing duel of athletic forwards who can sky to the rim or let it fly from outside. "It was intense, but it was fun," Allen said.
He is looking for the fun to continue this winter.
"I can't wait for the season to start," Allen said.
No wonder. He was a Newsday second-team All-Long Island selection last season as a sophomore and now has a pair of first-team All-Long Island guards to get him the ball and share the scoring load.
"Playing with those guys will really help my game," Allen said. "It's going to be great."
Notes & quotes:Though a nearly packed house at LuHi was clearly hoping for some "showtime" dunks, there were none, partially because guys such as Allen and Prochet served as rim protectors . . . The loudest reactions from the pro-Lutheran crowd came on a couple of Allen blocks on Prochet, a no-look pass by Atkinson that resulted in a foul and a three-pointer by Green that tied it at 59 midway through the second half . . . Suffolk's other double-digit scorers were Lukas Jarret of Northport (11, all in the second half), and Devante Dixon of Floyd (10). Jerrell Cowell of Newfield and Isaiah Johnson of Southampton added nine each . . . Prochet and Green were Nassau's only double-digit scorers. Shane Gatling of Baldwin netted eight . . . In the earlier girls game, Boogie Brozoski of Lutheran scored 23 points and earned MVP honors to help Nassau defeat Suffolk, 75-62. Brianna Jones of North Babylon also scored 23 to lead Suffolk.