10th Annual Alzheimer's All-Star Basketball Classic
MINEOLA, NY- It was basketball for a great cause on Sunday afternoon at Chaminade H.S as the NSCHSAA power hosted the 10th annual Alzheimer's All-Star Basketball Classic featuring a who's who of Long Island's best in the Nassau vs. Suffolk event.
Once again this season it proved to be a barn burner of a contest as Nassau got off to a very quick start, and while Suffolk chipped away in the second half it was the group from Nassau that held on to win for a second straight year as they defeated Suffolk, 102-98.
From the outset it looked as if the Nassau team was going to steamroll Suffolk as Michael O'Connell (Blair Academy, NJ '20) was able to get 10 quick points and help Nassau take a 21-2 lead. The former Chaminade star who came back to his old stomping grounds to play in the Alzheimer's All-Star Classic for a second straight year was on fire early on and looked to have Suffolk on the ropes in a major way.
Slowly but surely Suffolk did start to work their way back into the game and were within 15 at the half, but it was the three point shooting of Thomas Cirrito (Miller Place '20) that really enabled them to get back in the game as he and Jordan Riley (Brentwood '21) began forming a tough duo in the backcourt to with under 8 minutes to play in regulation finally get them back within single digits.
Zaire Baines (Portledge '22) was able to stem the tide for a bit as he was able to slither his way in for a couple of important buckets late, but Suffolk was the quickness in the backcourt of Ty-Shon Pannell (Central Islip '20) was ultimately able to make it a one possession game with under a minute to play.
Suffolk did have a couple good looks to tie but two three point attempts wouldn't fall, with O'Connell putting the game away for good with a FT with 5 seconds to play to make it a two possession game as Nassau may have gotten a scare down the stretch but they would eventually pull out a hard fought 102-98 victory over Suffolk.
For the second straight season it was O'Connell being named Game MVP as he helped carry Nassau early and was a calming force late as well as the now Blair Academy star did all he could to help his team pull out the Alzheimer's All-Star Classic victory in a game not just played for Long Island bragging rights, but more importantly for a great cause as well