Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
**Note: The game will be rebroadcast Wednesday on sportswebnet.com beginning at noon.
JERSEY CITY – Achraf Yocoubou scored a game-high 23 points and Long Island Lutheran went into New Jersey and handed St. Anthony its first home loss in six years.
With a large contingent of Long Island fans in the CERC gym, LuHi downed the Friars 60-58 after junior forward Tobias Harris blocked a shot attempt by Derrick Williams in the final seconds.
“I knew he was going up strong,” Harris said. “I just had to get my hand on the ball without the ref calling a foul.”
St. Anthony (18-4), the defending New Jersey Tournament of Champions winners and mythical national champs, hadn’t lost in their home gym since January 2003, according to legendary coach Bob Hurley.
“Let’s not lie about it,” said LuHi coach Brian Carey, whose team lost by 17 points to the Friars last year on Long Island. “This is a really important game. You come to the gym over here and you win here, this is really important. I don’t care if you’re Long Island Lutheran or St. Pat’s or anybody. Anybody that comes in here and gets a win, it’s important for you.”
Yocoubou, a 6-4 sophomore wing who played last year alongside Tyreke Evans at American (Pa.) Christian, looked like the best player in the game. He hit two 3-pointers and scored four of LuHi’s final six points, including a knifing reverse layup that put his team up 58-54.
“I knew if we played hard, we were going to win,” Yocoubou said. “Everybody stepped up.”
Harris, a 6-8 junior with a slew of major D-1 offers, tallied 11 points and eight rebounds while sitting out much of the second half with four fouls. Kevin Johnson added 13 points for Lutheran.
Elijah Carter paced the Friars with 13 points, Devon Collier added 12 and Villanova-bound wing Dominic Cheek scored 11 points.
“We had no consistent wing play, and one of our wing players was 1-for-10 from 3-point range,” Hurley said of Cheek.
Hurley, whose team must turn around and play Linden Thursday, promised major changesin the lineup, pointing out that the JV squad is undefeated.
“One of the things that needs to be done here is we’re about time for a shakeup,” Hurley said. “There’s an undefeated JV team. That’s part of the changing here because if you look today, I think we played 10 players. We gave 10 a chance to prove…I think of the entire group today I think Elijah Carter was really the only one that really earned minutes. And I think [Ashton] Pankey will start against Linden.”
Hurley added that he might even be looking forward to next year.
“If this year is now in a freefall, we’re not used to this,” Hurley said. “It is for us, it’s a freefall. Anybody observing this sees a total lack of poise. I’m playing seniors and we’re not playing very well…This is getting a little bit mysterious. I think we’d like to start maybe working on next year.”
LuHi trailed 32-26 when Harris picked up his fourth foul with 5:46 remaining.
The Long Island school still managed to go on a 19-9 spurt to take a 45-41 lead with Harris on the sideline.
Johnson hit two big shots down the stretch, a floater in the lane and a jumper to push LuHi’s lead to 54-48.
The Friars cut it to 58-57 on a 3-pointer by Carter with 1:07 remaining.
Harris hit two clutch free throws with 46.5 seconds left to extend the lead to 60-57.
Collier made 1-of-2 free throws with 16.7 seconds left to cut it to 60-58.
Tyler and Tobias Harris missed four straight free throws in the final 24 seconds, but Tobias redeemed himself with a block of Williams in the final seconds.
“Today wasn’t my best day and Ach picked us up,” Harris said. “That’s how we got the win.”
BOX SCORELong Island Lutheran (13-8)
Tobias Harris 3-4-11, Kevin Johnson 5-2-13, Derek Klein 3-1-8, Achraf Yocoubou 9-3-23, Shamar Stephen 0-0-0, EJ Parry 1-0-2, Tyler Harris 1-0-3. Totals: 22-10-60.
St. Anthony (18-4)
Dominic Cheek 5-0-11, Jamee Jackson 0-5-5, Ashton Pankey 4-0-8, Derrick Williams 1-1-3, Elijah Carter 4-3-13, Devon Collier 5-1-12, Devone McLeod 1-0-3, D’marcus Owens 1-0-2. Totals: 21-10-58.
***Among the coaches on hand were Keith Booth of Maryland, Jared Grasso of Fordham and a coach from Georgia Tech.
***Yocoubou says UConn is his favorite school.
“Georgia Tech and Maryland are recruiting me. I like UConn the most,” Yocoubou said.“I went with [Tobias Harris] one time to Midnight Madness.”
***The Harris brothers went back to UConn Saturday for the Michigan game and Tobias said they enjoyed it.
“I like UConn a lot,” he said. “I like the way they play and I like the game.”
He said UConn is the only school that has offered both brothers.
“UConn is the only school that’s offered me and him,” Tobias said.
Tobias has a long list of schools including UConn, Tennessee, Louisville, Syracuse, Rutgers, Georgetown, Virginia, Maryland, Marquette, West Virginia, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, St. John’s, Boston College, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Indiana and USC.
***Collier’s list includes UConn, Villanova, St. John’s, Wake Forest,Virginia, West Virginia, Marquette, Rutgers, Seton Hall and Fordham.
(Photos courtesy Robert White, NYHoops.com, Richard Orr)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.