When Danny Ashley takes the court on game day for the Uniondale boys basketball team, there’s a good chance fans in attendance will see passes rarely completed on a high school court.
But for those who see Ashley practice and perform every day, that unexpected has become the ordinary.
“We’ve known him for so long that nothing he does surprises me,” said coach Tom Diana, who added that he coached Ashley’s uncles and has seen Danny on a court since age 2. “But I’m very proud of him.”
“No [surprise], not a little,” forward Craig Brown said. “We’re always working on those passes. We practice together and in the game, it transfers over.”
Ashley was an artist Saturday night in Uniondale’s 84-57 victory over Copiague at The Richard Brown Nassau-Suffolk Challenge at Uniondale High School, totaling 12 assists to go with his 22 points and six steals.
“In the moment, I just pass,” Ashley said. “And when I see the ball go through the rim and my big man finishing, it’s a great feeling.”
“My bigs, they made it easy,” he added.
Ashley orchestrated a 16-0 run midway through the second quarter after the two teams were tied at 16 after the opening period, to give the Knights a 36-19 lead. Uniondale (9-1) outscored Copiague, 28-10, in the second quarter to take a 44-26 lead at halftime. Ashley had nine points and eight assists in the first half.
“He’s a true throwback point guard and they’re rare,” Diana said. “He’s special because he’s a real basketball player. He’s not just looking for stats.”
Brown, a 6-6 forward, was Ashley’s favorite target inside the paint, finishing with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Zion Styles added 13 points and RJ Meyers-Turner had 10 points for the defending Nassau AA runner-ups.
“We didn’t want to take an ‘L’ on our court so we were all on the same page,” Ashley said. “We knew we had to come out and play because everyone’s going to step to us this year.”
Copiague (3-7) was led by Michael Snowden’s 19 points with Keenon White adding 11 points and 10 points from Micah Moore.
The Knights also had extra motivated by being the host school in the final contest of the five-game, one-day tournament.
“I think everybody on the team had a lot of energy coming into the game,” Brown said. “And it showed at the end of the game.”