LuHi Topple Brooklyn & Bronx Squads
SOUTH RICHMOND HILL, NY- It was Long Island Lutheran day at the More than a Game Back 2 School Preseason Invitational on Saturday as the fully loaded Crusaders took to the court twice to play a pair of PSAL favorites this season in Brooklyn Collegiate and Eagle Academy.
Both proved to be competitive matchups with the PSAL foes having their moments throughout, but LuHi showed why they are going to be so tough this season by going 2-0 and showing dominance and depth at nearly every spot on the floor.
We at NYCHoops.net made our way to the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens to take in the action and now present to you a recap of the two games featuring the Crusaders of Long Island Lutheran.
Long Island Lutheran Tops Brooklyn Collegiate, 53 - 44
Early on in this one as the Lions did a strong job of containing the LuHi guards, it was Yoro Sidibe '19 who proved to be a major difference maker as the 6'6" wing was able to show the ability to score from the outside, while also being a dynamic finished in the open floor rising above and finishing with authority on alley oop passes from Andre Curbelo '20.
Majesty Johnson '20 was a tough matchup though as the Brooklyn Collegiate guard was solid from behind the arc, while Amahrie Simpkins '20 was able to slash down the baseline and finish against contact down low.
It was a tie game at 12 with just under 5 minutes to play in the opening half when Long Island Lutheran began to instill their will on the game. Curbelo and Hugo Bergstrom '20 each hit three balls from the wings, and with Zed Key '20getting in great positions to finish around the rim, the Crusaders ended the half on a 9-2 run to take a 21-14 lead into the break.
The combination of size and speed for LuHi looked to break the game open as Key and Essam Mostafa '19 were each using their strength down low to score, while Curbelo continued to shine running the floor and turning great defense into easy offensive opportunities as the lead grew to 32-18 for the Crusaders.
Applying more pressure and denying Curbelo the ball more, Brooklyn Collegiate started to chip away at the LuHi lead as Johnson and Glen Anderson '19 would hit back to back three's, and with Simpkins being a versatile weapon on the wing with his length, the Lions fought all the way back to make it just a 34-31 game with 6:22 to play.
That was as close as Brooklyn Collegiate got though as the Lions run was broken up by a Jalen Celestine '20 floater in the paint and then a pair of Key finishes inside where he demonstrated excellent footwork to score made it a double digit lead once again for Long Island Lutheran.
LuHi never pulled away and took command of the game, but they never saw the lead dip under 8 from that point on as the inside/outside depth of the Crusaders proved to be too much for the upstart PSAL Brooklyn AA school as Long Island Lutheran would take the 53-44 win.
Key would lead the Crusaders with 15 points, Curbelo added 11 points, while the newcomer in Sidibe chipped in with 10.
For Brooklyn Collegiate it was a game high 18 points from the quick and elusive Johnson as he knocked home 5 of 8 three-point attempts, while Anderson also had 12 points in the tough and hard-fought defeat.
Long Island Lutheran Beats Eagle Academy, 51 - 37
In much the same way that the first game went, the defending PSAL Bronx Borough Champions made things tough on LuHi at the start, but once the second half came around the Crusaders will, and strength wore down Eagle to take the 14-point victory.
LuHi got off to a quick 5-0 lead as Sidibe and Key were each able to get on the scoreboard fast, but DaMarco Watson '20 was able to get into driving lanes and finish on an and one off a right-side drive to tie the game up.
With 6:50 left in the opening half a Noel Echevarria '22 runner gave Eagle their first lead of the game, and with he and Watson able to use great moves off the dribble to find room to finish in the paint, Eagle Academy looked comfortable and confident against the talented Long Island power.
It was a back and forth affair for much of the first half, though 5 straight in the final minute from Celestine, including a corner three ball, allowed Long Island Lutheran to take a 17-15 lead into halftime.
A physical game that wasn't for the faint of heart, Eagle Academy was able to match everything that LuHi threw at them until about the midway point of the second half when things started to go downhill for the Bronx school.
Down just 24-22 with 9:44 to go in the game, Sidibe drained a pull up jumper, and then a Curbelo steal and finish in the open floor made it quickly a 28-22 game. Watson tried to keep Eagle close as he time and time again got to the FT line but going 1 of 2 each time he stepped to the charity stripe didn't get them close enough as Key was becoming more and more of a force as the game went on with Eagle not having the big body inside to match up.
As Key and Mostafa got going it seemed like Eagle Academy as a team ran out of gas. They played incredibly strong and matched up well for nearly the entire game but the depth of LuHi proved again for the second game of the day to be too much as the Crusaders ultimately pulled away again, this time for the 51-37 victory.
For the second straight game Key had 15 points to pace Long Island Lutheran, with Sidibe and Celestine going for 12 points and 11 points as well in the Crusaders win.
In the defeat it was 11 points for Watson, with the freshman sensation in Echevarria adding 9.