Some pretty unfamiliar faces appeared on the MacArthur boys basketball court on Thursday night.
But that didn’t faze the Generals for a moment. Not even in their season debut.
MacArthur eliminated the Danish All-Star team, 65-43, in the opening round of the Jeff Shaw Memorial Basketball Tournament.
“It was great,” junior Kyle Acquavella said. “Seeing how they play over there. Interacting with them and seeing the way they play compared to our style was a great experience.”
Acquavella recorded a game-high 17 points. Fellow junior, Benny Orlando, came in right behind him with 15.
“I just kept running the court,” Acquavella said. “My teammates looked out for me and I was able to get a couple of fast break layups.”
MacArthur coach Eric Rubin said getting out in transition was a focal point. “We wanted to play an up-tempo game. Fortunately we were able to do that and make them play our pace. We felt that gave us the best chance to win.”
MacArthur will take on Bellmore JFK in the final at 7 p.m. Friday.
MacArthur entered halftime against the Danish All-Stars with a 31-21 lead and continued to extend its lead. At the end of the third quarter, the Generals had established a 48-30 advantage.
Defeating a European team still required some adjustments, however. “Today was much more of a finesse game,” Rubin said. “We did a good job defensively, but we had to make some adjustments to the finesse game.”
After a 5-14 record last season, Orlando didn’t downplay the significance of this opening victory. “Last year we were young. This year we came back very confident and this win boosted our confidence a lot.”
Rubin believes Acquavella and Orlando can continue to produce at a high clip and lead the team. “I think they can put up big numbers this year,” Rubin said od Acquavella and Orlando. “They’ve gotten bigger and more athletic. Overall they’ve shown real improvement.”
And fearlessness against a mysterious European opponent, too.