The telltale sign that this was a special team for Lawrence Woodmere Academy came in the Big Apple Basketball Invitational in mid-January, a two-day event at Xavier High School designed to showcase elite teams from the metropolitan area as well as nationwide.
The Tigers defeated longtime New York City power St. Raymond’s, 85-78, with 6-10 junior center Aidan Igiehon, a national recruit, scoring 26 points. “After that game, I thought that maybe in my little NYSAIS independent world, we could do something,” LWA coach Jeff Weiss said.
He was right, and that game included the key elements in LWA’s journey to a NYSAIS Class B championship. Igiehon received help against St. Raymond’s from long-range specialist Andrew Buskey (six three-pointers, 20 points) and explosive point guard Tyler St. Furcy, who added 17.
For the season, Igiehon averaged 18 points and 15 rebounds, St. Furcy averaged 16.5 points, and Buskey averaged 14 points and was among Long Island’s leading three-point shooters with 59. The trio led the Tigers to a 20-6 record and three low-scoring victories in the playoffs. The season ended in Glens Falls with a state Federation semifinal loss that didn’t ruin the team’s first trip to the Feds since 2006.
“The trip was exciting. We hadn’t been up here in a while,” Weiss said. “It was a bonding experience.”
The bond was tightest during the championship run. In a 58-40 win over Trinity School in the quarterfinals, Igiehon scored 13 while seniors Buskey and Kendell Oglivie added 12 apiece. In a 56-48 win over Dwight School in the semifinals, Ogilvie and St. Furcy, like Igiehon a highly recruited junior Division I prospect, scored 13 points each.
In the championship game Feb. 26 at Fieldston School in the Bronx, St. Furcy scored 25 points and Buskey 13 in a 51-44 win over Collegiate.
“St. Furcy had a great year,” Weiss said. “He made himself into a D-I player. He was an off guard and took over at point guard [after the leading scorer from last season, Jordan Dingle, transferred]. He handled the ball against pressure and solidified our backcourt. Buskey went from a sub to a key starter. Aidan is more versatile now. He goes inside and outside and shoots the ball better. He had more opportunities to score this year when Dingle left.
“Before the season, I thought we had the returnees to be contenders,” Weiss said. “But those guys put us on the map.”
TIGERS road to the championship
NYSAIS Class B playoffs
Trinity School, 58-40
Dwight School, 56-48
NYSAIS Class B championship