The Upstate/Downstate Challenge continues Sunday as some of the top boys basketball teams from New York State takes on Long Island’s elite at Uniondale HS and MSGVarsity.com will present a special live doubleheader.
The action starts at Noon as Amityville takes on Burke Catholic and at 4 p.m., Long Island Lutheran faces Cardinal Hayes. Both games can be seen live on MSGVarsity.com.
Zach Rufer returns for Burke Catholic, which lost to Collegiate in the New York State Federation Class B semifinals in March. The senior guard, who committed to Lafayette, scored 29 points in that defeat.
He’s the lone returning starter from last year’s squad, but 6-foot-6 forwards Stan Buczek and Billy Garneau, who were reserves a year ago, will provide size in the starting lineup for the Eagles.
While Burke Catholic opens its season Sunday, Amityville already has a win under its belt, beating Jericho, 68-31, in the Nassau-Suffolk Challenge last weekend at South Side.
Guard Richie Hobson scored a game-high 20 points to earn MVP honors for a Warriors team that went 16-3 a year ago and has high expectations this year.
Led by Achraf Yacoubou, Long Island Lutheran captured the New York State Federation Class A title, beating St. Mary’s (Manhasset) in the final, 78-51. Yacoubou, who shared New York Mr. Basketball honors with Mount Vernon’s Jabarie Hinds, is now at Villanova.
While Yacoubou is gone, 6-foot-8 Kenton Facey and Ryan Denicola will pace a talented LuHI squad, which defeated Bedford Academy, 77-61, Saturday to improve to 4-1.
With four Rice transfers mixing in with talented returning players, Cardinal Hayes is expected to make some noise in its first season in the CHSAA Class AA. The Cardinals are off to a good start, improving to 3-0 Friday night after a 74-54 win against Bishop Loughlin.
Fairfield-bound forward Amadou Sidibe had a career-high 33 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, while Tyler Wilson, who is a big reason why the Cardinals have won their first three games, had 13 points, and Jalen Jenkins added 10.