Devonte Green and Mustapha Heron went back and forth, trading baskets and displaying the impressive skills they will take to major-college programs next year.
Green, with his quick crossover, high-arcing shot and nifty floater, scored 39 points. Heron, a 6-5 guard and Auburn commit, used his strength and smooth stroke to score 41 points.
In the end, Green’s Long Island Lutheran squad defeated Heron and Sacred Heart (Waterbury, Connecticut), 73-72, on Charles Manning’s layup with 11 seconds left in the Big Apple Basketball H.S. Invitational on Monday night at Baruch College.
“It’s hard not to get caught up in the moment and stuff,” said Green, who committed to Indiana on Jan. 9, “but you’ve got to keep your mind on the objective, and that’s to win.”
Green and Heron have known each other for several years and played AAU basketball together last summer. They spent portions of last night’s game defending each other.
In the third quarter, each scored 15 points. In the fourth, Green blocked one of Heron’s three-point attempts and Heron answered a few possessions later with a trey over Green’s outstretched hand.
Heron’s two free throws with 56.8 seconds left gave Sacred Heart a 69-68 lead, its first since early in the first quarter. Green responded with a challenging jumper and, after Sacred Heart regained the lead on Raheem Solomon’s two free throws, the 6-2 guard helped set up Manning’s layup.
“He’s a great player right now, and in three years, I think he’s a pro,” said Heron, a consensus five-star recruit. “I hope to play against him in the NBA in three years.”
For the Crusaders (13-2), the winning play was emblematic of the team’s unselfish approach. After Green passed to Brandon Jacobs in the left corner, every player touched the ball and each turned down a progressively better shot until Manning (13 points) caught Donatas Kupsas’ pass cutting right to left across the baseline.
“That was just a beautiful thing to watch,” coach John Buck said.
But this game likely will be remembered more for the beauty of the duel between Green and Heron.
“It’s a great thing to be a part of,” Manning said. “Being in the flow with them is basically a blessing.”