The dunk was a buzzer-beater that left the crowd buzzing, a crowd that included Darien Jenkins’ teammates, who raced onto the court to mob the 6-3 senior guard.
Jenkins’ steal and coast-to-coast journey that ended in a jam caused the gym at Deer Park to erupt, drowning out the buzzer that ended . . . the first quarter!
The slam punctuated a 27-point outburst that propelled the Falcons to a resounding 84-56 Suffolk IV victory over Kings Park on Friday night. But it did much more than that. It gave Jenkins a hint that he is almost fully recovered from major bone surgery in his leg last April that caused him to miss the entire summer AAU season.
“I didn’t think I had it in me. It’s my first dunk in a high school game,” Jenkins said. “I couldn’t stop smiling. My teammates all ran out to me. They know how hard it’s been.”
Jenkins said he had to have his knee cut open for the operation, slowing his recovery. “I couldn’t have done that a couple of weeks ago,’’ he said. “My leg is getting better and I’m getting back to being in shape.”
Though the dunk was spectacular and noteworthy, it actually was secondary to the most important role Jenkins played. He dished out six of his nine assists in the first quarter, when Deer Park outscored the Kingsmen 27-9 in improving to 3-0.
“I had been looking for my shot too early the past couple of games,” said Jenkins, who totaled seven points. “For this game, I wanted to get my teammates involved right away. I have great passing skills and I know I should set up my teammates as much as I shoot.”
The early beneficiary was Jordan Rios, who nailed two three-pointers from the right corner on feeds from Jenkins to open the game. Jenkins found Rios for two more treys from the same spot in the second quarter.
Rios (12 points) was one of four double-digit scorers for the Falcons. Brett Talbert netted 16 of his 26 points during the fourth quarter and Josh Pismeny and Rayshion Bien Aise had 14 points each. Andrew Bianco led Kings Park (2-2) with 25 points.
“Jordan is probably our best shooter, which came as a surprise,” Jenkins said. “He was on the JV last year.”
Deer Park coach John McCaffrey called the play of Pismeny and Talbert “fantastic. Josh was all over the floor and did a little bit of everything. Brett is starting to come on for us. It’s his third straight game with at least 20 points. He’s a pure scorer.”
But it was Jenkins who got the whole show started. “I’m happy I was able to electrify the crowd,” he said.
The smile was still on his face.