Two trips to Glens Falls for next weekend's state basketball tournament are the grand prizes that await the winners of tomorrow's Long Island boys Class AA and Class A championship games at Hofstra.
Class AA: Uniondale (17-3) vs. Half Hollow Hills West (22-1), 4:30 p.m.
This game likely will draw the biggest basketball crowd on Long Island this season, and one of the largest in recent memory. Given the capacity of the Mack Center (5,045), it is expected to attract more than the estimated 4,000 fans at Farmingdale State for the Hills West-Longwood Suffolk AA title game March 3.
"They put 1,000 tickets on sale here two days ago, and they're just about gone," Hills West coach Bill Mitaritonna said Thursday.
Star power is a good reason for the interest. Hills West is led by Tennessee-bound forward Tobias Harris, his brother Tyler and point guard Tavon Sledge. Nassau champ Uniondale is led by forward Bolade Akingboye, point guard Shaq Mosley and shooting guard Goey Charles.
Most intriguing is the duel between the 5-8 Sledge and 5-7 Mosley, two of the quickest guards on Long Island who, despite their size, are not afraid to mix it up in traffic. Can Little Shaq's quickness and savvy offset Sledge's advantage in strength and leaping ability?
"You have to be intrigued by it, because that's the matchup," Mitaritonna said. "But as a coach, you can't get caught up in it.''
Class A: Westbury (17-4) vs. Harborfields (20-3), 1 p.m.
Harborfields isn't likely to run with Westbury, so the Suffolk Class A champion will try to exploit its advantage inside with forwards Matt Curry and Nick Fessenden. Guard Matt McLeod is a one-man stat sheet.
Nassau champion Westbury has three dynamic players, all of whom are 6-2. Sheldon Hagigal and Lamard Herron are swingmen who can score inside and outside. Paris Abrams is one of the best three-point shooters on the Island. If he's hot, look out.
"They're very versatile and I am concerned about their speed," Harborfields coach Chris Agostino said. "But a lot of people underestimate our guards. And maybe our size will prevail."