When Deer Park reached the Suffolk Class AA boys basketball semifinals two years ago, Preston Edmead was a grade-school age spectator with two big hopes. One was that his brother Malik Edmead, then a sophomore, would carry the Falcons to a championship. The other was that he would play well enough as an eighth-grader to make the high school varsity for his brother’s senior season.
Deer Park didn’t win the 2018 title, but Preston blossomed into an exceptional guard and joined Malik in the starting lineup for this season. On a very impressive Falcons team, they might together get a shot at that crown.
Fourth-seeded Deer Park took another step in that direction on Thursday night with an 80-69 victory over No. 5 Central Islip in the quarterfinals. The Falcons (13-9), who never trailed, will face top-seeded Brentwood on Tuesday at Longwood High School for a spot in the title game.
The game was hyped as a matchup of star guards Malik Edmead and Musketeers senior Ty-Shon Pannell, and while those two commanded the spotlight, it ended up being more about the constellation around those stars.
Malik Edmead had 26 points, eight assists and six rebounds in the victory. Pannell had 27 points for Central Islip (15-7).
Freshman Anthony Daley had 21 points on 7-for-11 three-point shooting and Preston Edmead also had 21 points and six assists for Deer Park and it made the difference.
“Malik is a special player who does whatever it takes to win, Daley is as dedicated to his skill as anyone I’ve coached in 21 years and Preston is capable of taking over for stretches of a game,” Deer Park coach John McCaffrey said. “When they’re all on the floor together — and because Malik is fine with deferring to them — it’s a lot to guard.”
After the final buzzer, Malik Edmead made a point of offering condolence to Pannell after the handshake line. “Ty-Shon Pannell is a great player and if you’ve seen him play, you know what I mean,” Malik Edmead said. “I told him that I’ve been in the same place he is and that it hurts, but he’s had an incredible season.”
Daley, who shoots at least 500 three-pointers on off-days, and Malik Edmead totaled 22 of the Falcons’ 27 first-quarter points as they rocketed to the lead. Daley made four of his threes and Edmead raced through the Musketeers’ zone to get to the rim.
Malik Edmead showed his versatility in the third quarter by shifting from scoring to passing and had five of his assists as Preston Edmead scored 12 of his points.
Central Islip (15-7) scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to get within 65-59 but got no closer. Isiah Sween had 15 points and Russell Antwi had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Musketeers.
“It’s probably exciting for him to play with me, but I feel like I’m more excited to play with him,” said Malik Edmead, who never got to play with his older brother and 2014 Newsday Player of the Year Aaren. “It’s because he’s my younger brother, and he’s in eighth grade and he’s doing well. It’s just awesome.”
“We aren’t three years apart, so I’m very lucky to be playing with him,” Preston Edmead said. “We’re having a lot of fun with it, too.”