“No matter what happens, this is pretty special,” said Buck moments after celebrating with his team. “This is something that the guys told me in the beginning of the year was a goal of theirs. They wanted to win the SNY Invitational, it wasn’t me, it was them.
“They were able to do that today and no one will be able to take that away from them, but we have more work to do,” he continued. “We have to enjoy this for 24 hours and then we get back to work on Monday.”
After defeating Queens club Archbishop Molloy, 77-67, on Friday, they took down Bronx-based Cardinal Hayes, 76-57, in Saturday’s Championship at City College of New York.
In the finale, LuHi trailed Hayes 22-14 after the first quarter, and turned the tide with 10 unanswered points, which led to them building a 39-30 lead by halftime, and quickly extending the advantage to double figures early in the third.
As a result of netting 16 points against Molloy, and another 15 versus Hayes, Tyson Etienne was named Tournament MVP, despite being the third highest scorer on his own team, as Weber State-bound senior Donatas Kupsas had 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Queens native Tykei Greene, who has offers from Robert Morris and Towson, added 21 points.
While receiving the trophy, Etienne was visibly surprised, later saying it because of how well his teammates played, moments after winning the title.
“This really wasn’t one of my best offensive weekends. I didn’t shoot the ball too well, but I think that my team helped me, they stepped up,” said Etienne, a junior guard who has offers from UMass, Fordham, Cincinnati and Minnesota, among other schools. “It was a collective effort, that’s how we win games. We’re talented one through 13, not one through five.”
Etienne specifically applauded Kupsas, who he referred to as “one of the best players in the country, hands down,” and sophomore point guard Andre Curbelo, who had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists off the bench, the lone triple-double of the weekend.
Buck says his team’s unselfish nature is by design. It’s the LuHi way.
“We won’t stand for selfishness,” said Buck. “If you want to come to Long Island Lutheran and it’s really about you, you’ve got to find somewhere else. People come here to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and don’t get me wrong, you can do a bunch of great individual things in the process, but if that’s your focus, it just doesn’t work.”
Molloy finished fourth, the only team to lose both games. After dropping the opening contest to LuHi by 10, the Cole Anthony and UCLA-bound Moses Brown-led Stanners lost to a dynamic Hudson Catholic ball club, 83-64.
Jahvon Quinerly, who, like Brown, is a McDonald’s All-American, scored a 2018 SNY Invitational-high 37 points against Molloy. Hudson Catholic were defeated by Cardinal Hayes, 57-55, on Friday.