WATERLOO — The area’s best competed Tuesday night in the Wayne-Finger Lakes Exceptional Senior Boys Basketball Game at Waterloo High School.
The Red team coached by Tim Jackson (Clyde-Savannah) and Paul Liotti (HAC), and the Blue team coached by Pat Nolan (Palmyra-Macedon) and Jeff Thomson (Gananda) battled to a high-scoring 106-83 conclusion, with the players on team Red out in front.
It was a 44-38 advantage for the Red team at the half.
The Red team All-Stars controlled the tempo and pace of the game with solid shooting from Dru Carnevale (Clyde-Savannah) and Hunter Haust (Mynderse). For the All-Stars on the Blue team they were led by strong beyond the arc shooting from Dylan Stape (Penn Yan), Desmond Battin (Penn Yan), and solid inside play from Jordan Harris of Lyons.
The game opened up with a 25-12 advantage for the Red team until Stape was able to convert on back-to-back 3-point field goals for the Blue team and later a third three to make it three 3-pointers in the first half.
The Blue team went on to tie the game up at 36-36 with persistent play inside from Newark’s Taylor Clements.
In the second half Haust knocked down several opening shots from medium range to help the Red team pull away early in the half. Dylan Stape and Macrecio Mercedes-Rivera gave the Blue team some big contributions on offense with each converting on three point field goals.
A dunk by Clements wouldn’t be enough to help get the team a scoring advantage as Maliq Burton (Sodus) and Tommy Bolt both gave the Red team a strong last few minutes of play.
For the players who competed in the game it was a final moment to compete in their high school basketball careers. For each player, including Carnevale of Clyde-Savannah and Harris of Lyons, it was great final moment that completes a season of lasting memories.
“We started off the season with 12 guys and then people started quitting,” said Carnevale. “Then it got down to seven guys, so we worked hard in practice and it paid off.”
For Carnevale, the team was always in its best form because of their head coach. “Coach Jackson prepared us well for all the games,” he added. “Definitely the Lyons games and then winning sectionals,” said Carnevale are two memories especially that will remain with him for years to come.
On his teammates, “Derrick [Chance] has been playing varsity for four years, had a great year this year, Marcus Chance had a big year for us, and overall the whole team played very well.”
On what sets the All-Star game apart from every other game?
“This was high scoring tonight, not typical of Clyde,” said Carnevale. “Coach Jackson probably wouldn’t be happy giving up 83 points, but it was fun.” Moving forward he aims to play basketball in college.
For Harris of Lyons, “being a senior, they promised me that at the end of the season they were going to give me a banner so it was great to finish like that. I have a firm belief that they will make it there next year,” said Harris. “We’ll have a great team with Justice [Smith] leading them.”
He recognized what a great coach his team has had in Zac Young. “Mr. Young is a great coach, he has three sectional championships now,” said Harris. “I’ve been with him since I’ve been in 10th grade.”
As far as what moments will stay with him in his time at Lyons, “running a couple of practices with such a young team and being a captain was great. It was good group of guys.”
“When I was on JV they went to Glenn Falls so being around that team and seeing all the senior leaders back then” was inspirational for Harris. “I’ve been waiting for this season for a while so its great to be in that position and see people look up to you as a role model.” He plans to play football at SUNY Brockport.
On what he is leaving behind he has confidence in his team. “Justice [Smith] is a great player, he’s as good as he wants to be and that spells trouble for the rest of the league,” said Harris. “I’ve personally tried to guard him in practice and it’s a tough task. I’ve been with him my whole life, he’s my cousin and he’s a great player.”