St. John's MLK event gives to Ryan Center
St. John the Baptist will host Wyandanch at 3 p.m. next Sunday in the first Martin Luther King Day event for which all proceeds go to the Gerald Ryan Outreach Center in Wyandanch. "It's a selfless and terrific place," St. John coach Jim Plate said. The center provides food and clothing for needy families, and is one of the few places on Long Island that helps the poor to pay their heating bills.
The idea for the event came last year when, instead of going to Peter Luger Steak House for a celebratory dinner after winning the CHSAA title, players suggested to Plate that they give the money to the outreach center instead. Plate and his players cut and serve fruit at the Ryan center in the summer. "So we donated $1,000 in the kids' names," Plate said. "We hope this game will highlight the good works the center does."
Charity shots: Speaking of charitable gestures, Half Hollow Hills West raised more than $1,000 on Thursday before its Coaches vs. Cancer home game against Deer Park. The Colts have done the fund-raiser before their first home game since February 2004 for coach Bill Mitaritonna, whose mother died of colon cancer that year.
One popular item: autographed photos of Tobias Harris. "He signed them during the JV game and they gave away about 75 in exchange for donations," Mitaritonna said.
Respect:Speaking of Harris, the Tennessee-bound junior has scored 59 points in three victories for Hills West - "They're triple-teaming him," Mitaritonna said - and has 1,589 career points. Harris is on pace to become the 11th player in L.I. history to get 2,000 points.
Settling in: Biggest surprise of the year in Suffolk? It just might be Southold, which is 8-0, 4-0 in League VIII. The First Settlers are led by Jon Cepelak (16.5 ppg) and Kevin Parma (15.9 ppg).
Milestone watch: Amityville coach Jack Agostino won his 398th game Saturday. He is likely to win his next two games, meaning Friday he would become the second coach in Long Island boys basketball history with 400 career victories. No. 1, of course, is Ed Petrie of East Hampton with 751, No. 2 in state history to Jack Curran of Archbishop Molloy.
Never say never: St. John the Baptist's 59-52 victory over St. Anthony's on Friday night was its first at the Friars' gym in 22 years.
Leondis' ankle sprain thorn in Trojans' side
Diana Leondis might be the one suffering from the high ankle sprain, but Garden City is feeling the sting. The once-undefeated Trojans are 2-2 since Leondis, who routinely scores in double digits, went down in late December. Leondis had minutes in Thursday's overtime loss to Division, said coach Anthony Sparacia, but may be back in action by Wednesday. "She's angry with me," he said. "But I'll deal with her being angry with me . . . and her being angry by the end of January."
Reported by Bob Herzog and Laura Albanese