Some local basketball history was made last week when Wyandanch’s Kashawn Charles and Elmont’s K.C. Ndefo led the Long Island team to its first championship in the 44th Wheelchair Charities Basketball All-Star Classic.
Charles, Long Island’s leading scorer last season with a 30.3 average, was voted MVP after scoring 25 points in a 104-53 victory over the Manhattan/Bronx team in the title game played at Molloy High School in Queens on May 4. Long Island scored 37 points in the fourth quarter and held Manhattan/Bronx to 24 points for the entire second half.
Charles, a guard, also had five rebounds, four steals, three assists and sank five three-pointers. Ndefo, a rangy center, contributed 17 rebounds, eight blocks and three steals in the title game, and Lester Quinones of Upper Room added 20 points.
Ndefo made six blocks and Charles made six steals in Long Island’s 107-60 victory over Queens in the semifinals on May 3. In that game, Danny Ashley of Uniondale scored 15 points and Muhammed Jannedi of the Knox School grabbed 12 rebounds.
“We told them prior to the event that they had a chance to do something special,” said Baldwin head coach Darius Burton, the assistant for the Long Island team under New York City AAU coach Gary Charles. “This group could really score the ball, but I was impressed with the way Kashawn and K.C. played defense, too. The team played unselfishly and played together.”
Four teams participated in the charity tournament, representing Long Island, Manhattan/Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. It is open to high school juniors and seniors from public, Catholic, private and prep schools. Every player selected had to make a hospital visit and write an essay.
“I remember when I played there wasn’t even a full Long Island team,” Burton said. “They picked three Long Island kids to play on the Queens team. So we’ve come a long way. These guys made history and it was great to see.”