In the final quarter of the final home game of their stellar varsity careers, Kellenberg guards Steve Torre and Kyle DeVerna applied a brilliant finishing touch.
Torre scored 13 of his 28 points and DeVerna added eight of his 30 to lead the Firebirds to an 85-71 victory over Chaminade on Friday night in a key Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA game before a roaring, overflow crowd in Uniondale. The teams are tied for first at 8-2 with two games left before the playoffs.
“These are the two best guards to ever play for Kellenberg,” coach Jack McCutcheon said, “and it’s very special for me to have coached them for three years.”
The fiery pair of Firebirds are good friends who know each other’s moves and tendencies. Both can drive and shoot the three-pointer, but Torre is the more physical player, as he battled relentlessly for 15 rebounds. “That’s an underrated part of his game,” McCutcheon said.
Torre pulled down an offensive rebound in traffic and converted it into a three-point play to break a 64-all tie and spark a 14-0 run. Torre scored seven points in the flurry and DeVerna netted five, including a three-point play on a reverse layup after a no-look pass from Torre.
Cleevans Lan scored the last basket of that spurt on a backdoor cut. He had nine points and 17 rebounds. Ryan Dean scored 24 for Chaminade and Owen Prendergast had 15.
“We started to play our game in the fourth quarter,” said De Verna, who sank four three-pointers. “We got into the flow. That’s when we’re at our best. Keep moving the ball. It’s beautiful.”
Torre is always moving with or without the ball, which is why he grabs so many rebounds and draws so many fouls while attacking the rim. “Our whole team hustles. We scored a lot of hustle points,” he said. “I love going to the basket and drawing contact. I work on that and my teammates love to help by whacking me around in practice.”
It paid off late when the Firebirds pulled away from the Flyers, who had won the earlier meeting and led 41-35 at the half. “I reminded the seniors that it was their last time on this court,” McCutcheon said of his halftime pep talk. “They had to step up if they wanted to leave with a good taste in their mouths.”
For Torre and DeVerna, it was a delicious finale.