Pate leads LuHi past East Islip
Where Anthony Pate grew up in suburban Toronto, hockey is the sport of choice for most of the populace, and "slashing" isn't necessarily a good thing.
South of the border, however, where basketball is the more popular winter sport, slashing doesn't get you two minutes. Often it gets you two points.
Pate came off the bench to score 10 of his 13 points in the second half, most of them on slicing drives to the basket, as host Long Island Lutheran exploded for 40 second-half points and cruised past East Islip, 67-38, Monday night in a non-league game.
The Crusaders (11-4) also got 12 points from K.J. Lee and eight points and 10 rebounds from Kentan Facey. Evan Maxwell led East Islip (11-3) with 19 points.
"I strained my back five days ago and I have to work my way back into the rotation," said Pate, who has started several games. "I wanted to show Coach that I could slash to the basket."
Pate, a 6-3 guard, and Facey, a 6-9 forward, led a spirited defensive effort that featured a trapping all-court press. "That's the style of play I have to get used to," said Facey, from the island of Jamaica. "Defensive effort is what wins games."
It certainly turned a reasonably close game -- the Crusaders led 25-15 at halftime -- into a runaway. LuHi went on a 14-3 flurry to open the third quarter, sparked by a pair of three-pointers by Lee, another by Brandon Alford and a conventional three-point play by Facey. The Redmen scored seven straight to cut their deficit to 41-27, but two slashing drives by Pate helped build the margin to 47-30 after three.
Pate scored three more baskets during an 11-2 burst to open the fourth quarter. "Rebounding and defense were the difference," Pate said. "We put pressure on the ball and that was the difference during our big run."
The game was a step up in class for East Islip, one of Suffolk's top Class AA schools and a contender for the county championship behind Maxwell, a fundamentally sound 6-8 center who scored half of his team's points. "We knew we couldn't just set up and let them look inside to Maxwell," Lutheran coach John Buck said. "We had to get out and run. We played extremely hard and Anthony was very aggressive."
So was Facey, especially on the glass. The junior was inspired by watching Saturday's Villanova-St. John's game at Madison Square Garden. Several Crusaders and coaches went to watch their former star, Achraf Yacoubou, a freshman reserve at Villanova. "Kentan is still relatively new to the game," Buck said, "and when he saw how hard they play in the Big East, he came back to practice with more intensity."
He crashed while Pate slashed.