The Great Neck North Varsity Blazers traveled to play against the 2015 State Champs, Elmont, on Monday, Dec. 18.
Early on, the Blazers had trouble against the Spartan press. Noticing this, Sharif took control, bringing it up and controlling the tempo. Rockin’ Roger controlled the paint and, at the end of the first quarter, GNN led 24-19.
The high-flying Spartans came out running and gunning and went up eight at the half. Slick Shirian did all he could to put points on the board for the Blazers, gathering five assists in the first half.
Juju Hak came out shooting in the third Q, and the Blazers seemed to have their mojo back. But the experienced Spartan coach changed his D and GNN went down 17 going into the fourth.
The game ended with a loss for the GNN team.
The JV game was a different story. Coach Graham has this team playing hard-nosed basketball.
Flying Ryan took two consecutive charges, and Ethan Yousefi exhibited his typical double-double monster big-man game.
Despite several turnovers, the Blazers held the game close to the end, but Elmont prevailed 46-43.
Action Jackson hit four three-pointers, and Luke “Slayer” Hak was a defensive force.
The following day, the JVA team played the LuHi Crusaders and battled hard. Because of administrative scheduling mishaps and negligence, the Blazers were shorthanded and fell to the mighty private school powerhouse.
The holidays came a little early at the GNNHS that week.
The JVB kicked it off Wednesday night with “Jonny Boy” Javahiri knocking down shot after shot, and defensive showman, Russell Harounian, tallied five steals, leading the team to a 25-point victory.
Thursday’s results were just as scintillating as Jericho came to town.
The JVA program set the tone, led by the freshman dynamic duo of Action Jackson (15 points) and Slayer Luke (seven assists, seven rebounds). Once again, the pressing defense of Coach Graham overcame a bigger Jay Hawk squad.
The Varsity team continued to bring in good cheer to the fans at Polo Road. The Fab Five continued their high-flying ways.
This senior crew, consisting of Slick Shirian, Tre’Hak, Sharif, E-Rock and Roger the Horse, played more than 28 minutes each during the contest.
As one could see in the crowd, several coaches were present to scout both teams, as well as individual players for next season.
Sharif was a force during the game, tallying 24 points.
AAU National Champion coach and Jericho native Warren Wagner said, “This kid can do it all. Deep threes, offensive rebounding and he can’t be stopped when he slashes to the basket. This five is as strong a starting group as I’ve seen in years.”
The sharp-shooting sophomore guard Brandon Weiss, with 24 points, was relentless. Give him an inch and he will knock down a three in your face. Wally Bachman, the Hall of Fame high school coach, has this young, talented group playing at a incredible level. Fernandez, Won and Schwartzberg are super-conditioned scoring threats who are also underclassmen. Rounding out this young star-studded team is the well-rounded Aaron Jaffe, who is a defensive stopper and the team’s offensive facilitator.
At halftime, the Blazers led by four as Sharif and Weiss led the scoring charge for both teams.
The lead went back and forth in the second half and, with three minutes left, the score was tied.
Jake Ellis, Great Neck Basketball Academy head coach, commented “These kids are playing hard on both ends, what a great game.”
Wagner then added, “It’s a barn burner, baby.”
After a steal by Slick, a deep three by Tre’Julien, an offensive rebound by The Horse, a block by E-Rock and a follow up by Sharif, the Blazers were up four with less than a minute left.
After a Jericho miss and the rebound being secured, all five Blazers touched the ball, which resulted in a layup without the ball hitting the floor. This selfless passing and ball movement truly exemplified this veteran-united crew.
Good win for the Blazers, but as Tufts Alumni legend Phil Weiss said, “We’ll be back.”
I can’t wait for the rematch later this month in Jericho.
As for the last games of 2017, GNN Blazers Varsity squeaked by an anemic Lawrence team on Thursday, Dec. 28, by a score of 62-53. The game was marred by turnovers and poor defensive play by both teams. Fortunately, Tre’Hak led the Blazers with 27, while Sharif chipped in 19 with an array of floaters and mid-range shots. Roger the Horse tallied his usual double for the victorious Blazers.
“Great win, but now that’s behind us,” said Tre’Hak. “Tomorrow is a big game against Syosset, and we need to continue taking care of business.”
Silky smooth Nat Hyman steered the JV team, True North, scoring 17 while adding 11 rebounds and multiple assists.
GNN hosted the Syosset Braves on Friday, Dec. 29.
JV got out of the gates early, led by sophomores Mike Jacobs and Silk Hyman, with a score of 22-16 at the break.
The second half proved the same, as the Blazers won again.
The Varsity team looked to continue its winning way and came out running. GNN led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter, with Big Roger scoring six points in the paint off of offensive rebounds.
Slick Shirian started the second quarter slicing and dicing his way to the basket to open up a lead.
The three Joes dominated the second half. A Gohari offensive rebound followed up by a big assist to a slashing Jacobs and a huge three by Harooni resulted in a 60-56 GNN victory over the formerly undefeated Braves.
Happy New Year to all! I can’t wait for 2018!