Harris Baskin is a spot-up shooter, and his buddy, Michael Stanco, was spot-on with his passes.
Baskin’s long-range accuracy hit the spot for Syosset Tuesday night in a 62-58 victory over host Uniondale in the Nassau AA-I opener. Baskin drained six three-pointers and scored 24 points, while Stanco had 11 first-half points and nine assists for the Braves, who, like Uniondale, had won their four non-league contests.
“We trained together all summer and I know where he likes to shoot,” Stanco said. “I’ll come down on the fast break and I’ll hear him yell ‘Hey, hey, hey,’ and I know he’s open. He’s a wing-corner shooter.”
Baskin was a wing man for the defending league champs, nailing four from there, plus one from the right corner and one from the top of the key. He sank three in a row from downtown in the second quarter, when the Braves built a 15-point lead. They led 41-30 at halftime and forced the Knights to play catch-up for most of the game.
“When I get hot, they look for me. I make one and I feel like I can make one from anywhere on the floor,” Baskin said. “I’m glad I got hot. I don’t think too many people thought we’d win on their home court.”
Stanco wasn’t one of the doubters. He penetrated to set up his shooters and handled Uniondale’s defensive pressure. “I was expecting it. They’re hoping to get the ball out of my hands,” Stanco said. “But I handled it, no problem.”
The Knights made a fourth-quarter run, led by returning All-Long Island guard Danny Ashley, who scored 10 of his 23 points in the final period. He took over when Stanco fouled out, not only with his scoring but with his ball-hawking defense as Uniondale pressed to get back in contention with the Braves’ point guard on the bench.
Syosset led 58-42 when Stanco sat down midway through the fourth. Ashley sparked a flurry with two free throws, a pull-up jumper, a steal and assist to John Mosley and a top-of-the key three to make it 61-53 with 1:08 left. Mosley and Craig Brown scored from close range to cut the deficit to 61-55 with 37 seconds left. Robert Kula (14 points) hit a free throw for Syosset’s final point, and the Braves hung on despite another three by Ashley with 20 seconds left.
“Stanco starts it for us,’’ coach Greg Cardona said. “He penetrates and we surround him with four shooters.”
That’s why being forced to watch the final minutes was agonizing for Stanco. “I was extremely frustrated,” he said. “We need me. When I’m out there, everyone takes a deep breath. It got a little helter-skelter at the end.”