With Winter in full swing I decided to head up Island and explore the Long Island Basketball scene at the New York Holiday Invitational at St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington. The 2nd Year edition of the Invitational featured Public & Private High Schools with over 40 state championships between them. On day one I watched the legendary and storied Public school Mt. Vernon High School from Mt. Vernon NY play Bishop Hendricken of Rhode Island. Both teams have claimed 11 state championships each during their illustrious histories. Hendricken took it to Mt. Vernon with Junior Sebastian Thomas scoring 30 points for Hendricken. They won by 11 68-57. The second game I watched featured Long Island public High School Power Brentwood ranked No.2 in Class AA on Long Island in the last NYS Sportwriters poll of 2019 against No.3 Class A Chaminade of the Long Island Catholic League. Brentwood’s strong guard play and athletic dunks by Junior Jordan Riley helped get them a 9 point win over Chaminade 71-62.
On day two of the Holiday Invitational I watched Mt. Vernon against Long Island Class A No.1 Holy Trinity of Hicksville. Holy Trinity, a Senior laden team with Chaminade transfer TJ Long, was led by Mike Sixsmith who poured in 32 points. Mt. Vernon was led by Troy Hupstead with 24 points and 10 rebounds and impressive Sophomore Demarley Taylor who had 18 points and 8 rebounds. Holy Trinity handed Mt. Vernon their second loss in two days 82-72. Long Island basketball was represented well at the Invitational. Host St. Anthony’s beat PSAL AA NYC Public School Thurgood Marshall High School 78-60 on day 1. Marshall came into the game at 7-1 and a No.11 Class AA NYC ranking. On day two of the Invitational St Anthony’s took on Trinity Catholic from Stamford, CT. Trinity Catholic plays in the Fairfield County League. It was a close game at halftime but St. Anthony’s shutdown Trinity Catholic in the second half and won by 16 points 51-35. St Anthony’s was ranked No.4 Class A on Long Island in the last NYS Sportswriters poll of 2019.
After two days of high level High School Basketball I finished 2019 all the way up Island at St John’s Carnesecca Arena to watch the Red Storm play the Butler Bulldogs. Butler came into the game 12-1 with a No.11 ranking in the Associated Press Poll. The game was a tale of two halves with Butler winning the 1st half by 21 points 37-16 and St. John’s winning the 2nd half by 19 points 42-23. St John’s had a 5 point lead 54-49 with just over 4 minutes to play. Butler out scored them 11-4 in crunch time and left Carnesecca Arena with a 2 point win 60-58. I enjoyed watching Butlers’ Jordan Tucker, who had 12 points and 5 rebounds in 22 minutes of playing time. In 2014 when he was a Freshman for White Plains High School I watched him play against Mt Vernon. On the drive back to Montauk in the last hours of 2019 I reflected on my 3 day basketball journey. It affirmed my love of High School and College basketball. I’d come full circle watching Jordan Tucker as a freshman at White Plains High School to watching him now as a 6 foot 7 inch NCAA Division 1 Big East Forward. Can’t wait for my next hoop journey.