Tyson Etienne, Tykei Greene and Long Island Lutheran made the most of a chance to showcase their talent at the Empire Invitational at Adelphi Sunday.
The pair scored 21 points apiece as the Crusaders cruised to an 87-37 boys basketball victory over South Shore (Brooklyn).
Despite playing back-to-back games, LuHi showed no signs of fatigue. The Crusaders led 40-14 at halftime, with Etienne scoring the final 10 points of the half en route to being named the game’s most valuable player.
“We talk about physical and mental toughness a lot,” said Etienne, who scored 26 points in a win over Curtis (Staten Island) on Saturday. “We knew this team was going to try and come out tough, and we wanted to bring more energy and more toughness than they did.”
Did they ever.
A stifling defense by LuHi (13-2) led to 13 steals, six blocks and 24 turnovers. “Defense is our priority,” Etienne said. “There are no shortcuts on defense. If you take any shortcuts, you are going to run in practice.”
Donatas Kupsas added 15 points and seven rebounds to lead the Lutheran offense. Greene, who transferred from Thomas Edison (Queens) to LuHi for his senior season, couldn’t be happier with the decision.
“I like the school a lot,” Greene said. “The environment and the family that they have really comforts you, and makes you want to be a part of it. Coming here really helped me realize how good of a player I am, and how I can help a team with my defense, rebounding and athleticism.”
Entering the game, the Crusaders were ranked first in the state and 16th in the nation, according to the latest MaxPreps boys basketball rankings. LuHi hasn’t lost focus on the task at hand. “We know that it really doesn’t mean anything when the ball is tipped,” coach John Buck said. “You have to fight, you have to scrap, claw, and every single bucket has to be earned out there.”
Said Etienne: “We aren’t going to stop because of where we are ranked. We are going to keep pushing because our ranking is not our goal, our goal is to win the state championship and we have not got that yet. So there is nothing to celebrate.”