It wouldn’t be fair to say that Andre Curbelo and Long Island Lutheran mopped the floor with St. Raymond’s in the finale of Saturday’s Shooting Stars Basketball Showcase. But Curbelo definitely mopped the floor.
The senior point guard added a moment of levity to the Crusaders’ 91-64 non-conference win over the city Catholic power from the Bronx in the second quarter after several players crashed to the floor at the end of a play that resulted in a Lutheran foul. He raced across the court of LuHi’s Visscher Gymnasium, retrieved a silver-handled mop and polished the perspiration off the court before play resumed.
“I don’t do windows,” Curbelo said with a smile. “I only do floors and only here.”
Lutheran (10-2) plays a national schedule against many top teams across the United States, however a game with St. Raymond’s still has gravitas for the Crusaders. Their goal at the end of each season is to with the state Federation Class AA Tournament — which they did last season — and the Ravens are a contender.
“I circled this one on our calendar and told our guys that we have to be ready to go,” LuHi coach John Buck said. “[St. Raymond’s] is one of the best teams in the state. We want to make a statement with how we play against them...The score was what it was, but they could play a much better game next time.”
Ohio State-bound senior forward Zed Key had 25 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots and was named the game’s MVP. Drissa Traore, a 6-8 junior had 16 points and 15 rebounds, guiard Hugo Bergstrom had 14 points and the Illinois-bound Curbelo finished with 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Lutheran.
Jalen Celestine, who signed with Cal, is still recovering from a leg injury and is yet to make his season debut.
Curbelo’s play and the Crusader’s defense shaped the contest early. Curbelo had six of his points and three of his assists as LuHi raced out to a 22-7 lead one minute into the second quarter.
“He didn’t play a perfect game, but he got us going,” Buck said.
“Our defense wasn’t giving them anything good,” Key said when asked about the Ravens scoring just seven first-quarter points. “We had them locked down.”
Curbelo wasn’t the only one who kept the sizeable crowd entertained. Key threw down a big alley-oop from junior guard Rafael Pinzon just before halftime as LuHi led 43-23 at the break. And junior Paul Jordan put the punctuation mark on the game with a dunk that nearly brought down the house for the game’s final points.
“St. Raymond’s is a really good team. We have nothing but respect for them and I’m sure there is a chance we could see them again in the Federation,” Curbelo said. “But tonight was about taking care of business and that’s what we did. That’s what this team is about.”