The boys’ basketball scene has been quiet for a long time, but something interesting might be happening in the Great Neck North.
A year into the season when they were excited just to get into the postseason games, the Blazers may have had an evolutionary moment on Sunday. He trailed Garden City by 7 points in the 4th quarter. I went down.
The Blazers have two signature players: 6-7 George Washington, Luke Cronin and talented sophomore guard Jackson Southerland. But it was 5-4½ Eitan Zagari and his quietly confident Doron Sedaghat who ultimately pushed them to the top.
The play call was ‘Fist Down’ and Zagari tried to drive down the lane. He found Sedagat flushing to the wing and with 2:24 remaining he fired his 3-pointer for a 56–54 advantage, which was his change for the final lead of the game. The Blazers (9-3, 3-2) then banded together to hold Garden City to his fifth straight empty possession, allowing no points in his 3:40 of the final.
“I knew it was going in – it was a big throw in my pocket,” Sedaghat said. “I know my teammates can trust me to shoot.”
Asked about going to Sedagat rather than Cronin or Southerland for the big moment, Zagali responded: . . and that was his best shot.
The comeback was a true ensemble achievement, closing out the match 14-4. Cronin scored 6 points to start the burst and Southerland made a 4-point play with 4:23 remaining for a 53-52 GNN lead. However, Zagari stood out for his ball handling, aggressive rebounding and excellent passing in the stretch. He finished with 9 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals.
“He has the most heart,” Cronin said of Zagali. “He’s the hardest working person I’ve ever seen.”
Sophomore Southerland, returning to the district from Queens powerhouse Christo the King High, finished with 21 points, including four 3-pointers, while Cronin had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the GNN. Leo Vlogianitis scored his 28 points and Quinn Long added his 17 points to Garden City (6-5, 2-2).
The Trojans usually play basically wholesome basketball, but missed 13 free throws, and coach Jim Hegman said, “We didn’t make any shots or free throws, so winning like that is unthinkable.” I can’t,’ he said.
Great Neck North isn’t a big name brand in hoops, but Cronin, who’s in his fourth year with the national team, thinks there might be something special going on. . . This team is like brothers. ”
Southerland said the key to a comeback was “a group that sticks together in any situation.”
Blazers coach Kevin Graham said he feels the season will be rewarding.