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Kaela Hilaire leaving Floral Park for LuHi

Floral Park's Kaela Hilaire, left, drives past New

Floral Park's Kaela Hilaire, left, drives past New Hyde Park's Jessica Vadala during their Class A first round playoff game. (Feb. 16, 2012) Credit: Barry Sloan

Just two months after declaring she would continue her high school career at Floral Park, freshman point guard Kaela Hilaire is leaving the Knights to join a crusade, as in the Long Island Lutheran Crusaders, her father said Friday.

Daryl Hilaire said his daughter had a change of heart about staying at Floral Park and will enroll at LuHi. The move gives the Crusaders and coach Rich Slater, who confirmed the move, perhaps the best backcourt in the state with sophomore point guard Boogie Brozoski and Hilaire, who are both considered big-time Division I prospects.

Hilaire averaged 14.9 points and a Long Island-best 7.6 assists as an eighth-grader and was a Second Team All-Long Island selection, the youngest member of the All-LI teams, as she led Floral Park to the Nassau Class A semifinals last season. Her departure is a devastating blow to the Knights, who would have been a top contender for county and Long Island championships for years to come with Hilaire running the point.

Floral Park coach Michael Spina wished had assembled a challenging non-league schedule in the past two months since Hilaire announced her intention to stay. He was disappointed to lose his floor general but wished her luck at LuHi.

“I’m going to miss her more as a person than as a basketball player,” Spina said.

Speculation and rumors about where Hilaire was going to play next season swirled throughout last year with Brooklyn-Queens CHSAA schools considered the heavy favorites. Daryl Hilaire, a 1988 graduate of Holy Trinity, previously said his alma mater and Nazareth Regional in Brooklyn were potential destinations for his daughter.

Daryl said the decision to have Kaela attend LuHi was not solely based on basketball and that they are committed to all four years of high school.

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