Valley Stream South High School opened its doors in 1955 and just shy of 60 years later, the boys’ basketball team has won its first-ever Nassau County Class A championship. It was a longtime coming for the program, and after making the semifinals for the first time last season, a championship this year makes it all the more sweeter for the South community.
“I knew we’d have a good team,” said High School District Athletic Director Scott Stueber. “There were a lot of good teams that got knocked out. You hope, you prepare, but I don’t think you ever expect to get to this point.”
From start to finish, South (18-3) had its best season in program history, on its way to a 66-56 victory against Hewlett in the county championship game last weekend. The Falcons had their toughest playoff test against the Bulldogs, but solid guard play and an inside post presence sealed the win in the fourth quarter.
“It’s a great victory,” said senior Dimitri Badette, who had 10 points in the win. “We’re really happy. We deserved it.”
The Falcons had comfortable victories earlier in the playoffs, including a 15-point win over Carey in the semifinals, but against Hewlett, South was down early and had to make a comeback. Badette said he and his teammates were able to win after being down due to their great team chemistry.
South’s cheering section was loud and enthused all game and many people even stayed to watch from outside after the gymnasium at Adelphi University reached its maximum capacity of 1,800 people.
“I’m beyond excited,” South Principal Maureen Henry said after the game. “I’m so proud. The boys and the coaches worked so hard to attain this. It’s just unbelievably great history for South.”
Henry said the halls of South were abuzz the week leading up to the game. Social studies teacher Pete Mastrota, who has worked at South for 12 years, said the game was all anyone would talk about during their free time.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” Mastrota said. “There’s been a jolt of excitement in the air at South. You could feel it.”