It’s as if a post-holiday blowout sale on boys basketball milestone achievements was held this past week. One-day- only specials on Tuesday and Wednesday; buy one, get one free on Thursday.
The run to the record books began on Tuesday night when Kellenberg senior guard Steve Torre scored on a reverse layup in the third quarter to become the first player in the 28-year history of the school to score 1,000 points, according to Firebirds coach Jack McCutcheon.
“If it wasn’t for my teammates, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish what I did,” Torre said after scoring 19 points in a 78-45 victory over St. Mary’s in Manhasset. “I have a connection with my teammates who motivate me and push me every day.”
Torre, a versatile 6-2 guard who is a three-year starter, scored a chunk of his points while playing alongside his brother Mike, who graduated last year. This season, he has assumed a greater scoring role, improving his average from 18 to 22 points per game.
“Steven has been an excellent student-athlete and role model at Kellenberg for the past four years,” McCutcheon said.
The same can be said of Danny Fusco of East Rockaway, a 5-9 senior who reached 1,000 points with two free throws in the final second of Wednesday’s 58-51 victory at Carle Place.
The methodology was fitting because, according to statistics reported to Newsday, Fusco leads all Long Island boys basketball players with 88 free throws made.
“Danny has done a terrific job getting to the line. He can get his shot when he wants to and has a hard pull-up jumper,” said Rocks coach Joe Lores, who said Fusco has made 86 percent of his free throws.
At his current scoring pace of 30.1 points per game, Fusco should break Mike West’s school scoring record of 1,039 points in the next week. “The kids enjoyed sharing the moment with Danny,” Lores said of the midcourt scene after Wednesday’s game. “But while everyone was congratulating him, I told them it was a couple of minutes in the sun for Danny, but it’s because of all the hours of work he put in when no one was watching.”
On Thursday, it was a two-for-one deal for Long Island hoop fans, with two milestones being reached at approximately the same time.
Early in the first quarter at Brentwood, senior guard Mike Almonacy became the school’s career scoring leader with a three-pointer from the right wing. It gave him 1,381 points and surpassed the record set in 1972 by current Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, who called Almonacy after the game to offer congratulations.
While Almonacy was scoring 18 points to lead the Indians to a 104-48 victory over Floyd, the Stony Brook School was in the process of defeating host Port Jefferson, 54-45. That gave Stony Brook coach Mike Hickey his 300th victory at the school where one son, Danny, is the athletic director and another, David, is the team’s statistician. Both sons teach at the school where their father has coached for 28 years.
“It’s only in the past couple of days that I started thinking about it. Dan is kind of the rah-rah Stony Brook guy and he’s all about stats. Honestly, I had no idea I was close to 300,” Mike Hickey said.
The victory improved his record to 6-0 this season and 300-184 in a career that has included two Long Island Class C championships, five county titles and eight league crowns.
“More than the wins, I’ve been blessed with great players who are also great kids,” Hickey said. “As John Wooden once said, you can’t be a great coach without great players. It’s been a lot of fun.”