A historic season for Valley Stream South’s boys basketball team reached epic proportions last Saturday afternoon when it rallied from an early 11-point deficit to secure its first-ever county championship with a 66-56 victory over Hewlett in the Nassau Class A final played before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 1,800 at Adelphi University.
The fourth-seeded Falcons, who rewrote their record book in February with the program’s first-ever 1,000-point scorer, first-ever conference title, and first-ever home playoff game, added the biggest chapter of all on the first day of March by outscoring the sixth-seeded Bulldogs, 24-14, in the final quarter to provide the difference.
“Today is a great day because there’s no doubt we made history,” said VSS senior William Knight, who scored 11 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter including a baseline trey with 7:04 remaining to put the Falcons ahead to stay at 45-42. “It feels really good,” he added. “We’ve worked so hard since losing in last year’s semifinals.”
Sophomore Dana King, who scored his 1,000th career point exactly a month earlier, poured in a game-high 18 points and led the defensive effort against Hewlett standout Avery Feldman, who was held to 10 points. Sophomore Hall Elisias had 15 points and 15 rebounds, and seniors Dimitri Badette and Andrew Labeck added 10 and nine points, respectively, for South (18-3), which faces Suffolk representative John Glenn in the Long Island Class A title game on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Hofstra University.
“It’s awesome,” VSS head coach Matt Johnsen said. “It was a wide-open tournament and so many teams were capable of winning it. We’ve done such a good job of taking things one game at a time all season. Hewlett is the best team we faced, but we didn’t think they could maintain the pace they had early.”
The Bulldogs (14-7), who also made history by reaching the finals for the first-time ever, raced to a 22-11 lead after the opening quarter as junior Messiah Clark scored nine of his team-high 16 points. “We weren’t able to finish the way we started,” Hewlett head coach Bill Dubin said. “The shots that fell for us in the first three playoff games didn’t fall this time.”