Farvens Ulysse and the Malverne Mules took it to Carle Place early and often en route to another county championship.
Ulysse had 10 of his 21 points during Malverne’s explosive run to start the game and Chad Wesley added 13 as the Mules captured their second Nassau County B basketball title in three seasons with a dominant 60-36 win over the Frogs on March 1 at Hofstra.
Kevin Estime added 12 points for Malverne (15-7), which will return to Hofstra to face Southampton for the Long Island Championship Wednesday at 6 p.m.
“The seniors all stepped up,” said associate coach Walter Aksionoff, a longtime assistant to head coach Darroll Lopez. “I think, physically, we took their legs from them. They shot some crazy shots, we shot some crazy shots. But Farvens put his mind to it. And there were a couple of games during the year where he did the same thing. That comes from leadership.”
Malverne wasted no time trying to avenge losses to Friends Academy in last year’s county title game and Carle Place on Jan. 11 by jumping out to a 15-0 lead with not even four minutes gone in the game. Estime scored down low to open the floodgates and Wesley drilled a long 3-pointer to make it 5-0 before Ulysse took over on the Mules’ next four possessions.
The 6-foot-5 senior hit a short jumper near the left post and connected from long range to push the score to 10-0 before converting two free throws with just under five minutes left. He capped Malverne’s run with another trey from outside the left arc.
“I got the first-game jitters out after the semifinal game,” Ulysse said. “I can lead this team. The coaches trust me. I shot what I felt, and it went in.”
The start was similar to what Carle Place had during the first meeting, when it outscored Malverne 17-8 in the opening eight minutes of its 63-54 victory. Frogs’ star Ryan Leary had 15 of his 36 points in the first quarter that day but was held to just six total in the rematch.
“That last game, we probably played our worst game of the season,” Ulysse recalled. “They shot the lights out of us. They were playing hard, but we knew we had to stick [to it] and we pushed ahead and did it.”
The Frogs (15-7) scored the last six points of the first quarter and got as close as six points with three minutes left in the first half, but a 3-pointer by eighth grader Malachi Hudson and two more baskets by Estime helped the Mules take a 29-18 lead at the break.
The start of the third quarter closely resembled the first as Malverne went on a 15-2 run to essentially put the game away at 44-20. Estime scored six of those points, Wesley added four, and Hudson had an acrobatic driving basket while being fouled to set up his 3-point play.
“Farvens told us we were letting up too many second-chance points and our coaches told us to keep playing the way we were playing and start how we started the first half,” Estime said. “And that’s what we did.”
Southampton (19-4) won the Suffolk B title game against Babylon on Feb. 15 and the small schools championship over Kings Park on Feb. 28. The Mules will have to be mindful of Mariners’ leading scorer Derek Reed (23.2 ppg), who earlier this season set a school record by reaching 1,000 career points in just 49 varsity games.
“They’re going to have quick guards, but if we have this mindset, I think we’re going to be OK,” Aksionoff said.