basketball Edit

Vikings Win NYSAIS vs PSAL Championship

BROOKVILLE, NY -- On Saturday evening at Long Island Lutheran HS, New York State achieved the dubious distinction of being the only State to not have a true championship this season. This, according to LuHi Crusaders head coach John Buck who informed before their game against the South Shore Vikings.

Last season, most states were unable have championships due to COVID. This season, however, because the New York State leagues (CHSAA, PHSAA, PSAL and NYSAIS) could not come to terms for whatever reason, the Federation Tournament of Champions was cancelled. In its place, the NYSAIS champion L.I. Lutheran Crusaders and PSAL champions South Shore Vikings agreed to play each other and salvage what was left of the season with a NYSAIS vs PSAL Championship game.

Although the game comes with a built-in asterisk, it was nonetheless an enjoyable, evenly matched, and hard-fought game, featuring some of New York’s elite talent. A fast-paced game with aggressive offense, jaw dropping defense, and vicious rebounding was on full display. When the dust settled, the Vikings from Brooklyn, NY prevailed with a last-minute bucket by Kyrone Alexander ‘23 for the 67 – 66 win.

Kyrone Alexander & Davin Francis
Kyrone Alexander & Davin Francis

South Shore coach Shawn Mark believed his team could compete against the Crusaders, a team which he said he’s studied. He said the strategy was simple. “Play hard, play smart. I thought we matched up with them. I watched them play a couple of times and believed we could beat them.”

The game resembled a track meet as both teams pursued an up-tempo game. Early on, the advantage went to the Vikings who attacked the glass with reckless abandonment. Spearheaded by the shifty point guard play of Max Ragusa ’22 and the firepower of Davin Francis ’22, LuHi were down 6 – zip with 6:50 left in the warm-up quarter. The prompted Coach Buck to call a quick time out to administer a stern attitude adjustment.

Jaydon Reid heeded the call and sparked a 6 – 0 LuHi run, quickly knotting the game in 60 seconds. Lutheran was playing catch-up for most of the quarter but a buzzer beater by Jayden Pierre gave them a 1-point advantage going in the second quarter.

South Shore and L.I. Lutheran played as good as they got throughout the first half and remained tied at 35 at the half but clutch perimeter buckets by Francis gave the Vikings a 6-point lead two minutes left in the third quarter. LuHi finished strong with baskets from Pierre and 6’2” Matthew Mahoney ‘22, but the Vikings surged ahead by 9 points as the final quarter got underway.

The Crusaders methodically cut into South Shores lead capitalizing off Viking turnovers and with put backs by Finley Sheridan ‘23 and Pierre, LuHi snatched the lead but only by a shoestring. The Brookville high school held on but with under a minute left in regulation, Alexander nailed a deuce that gave South Shore a one-point lead and the win.

Francis led South Shore with 21 points with Alexander and Ragusa adding 18 points and 15 points, respectively. Reid paced L.I. Lutheran with 24 points with Pierre contributing 19 points.