YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Led by Tony Granitto (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Roni Brucaj (15 points, 7 rebounds), Yorktown won their biggest game of the year, knocking off host Lakeland on the Hornets’ senior night, 56-53, on Monday, Feb. 10.
The loss ended the Hornets’ nine-game winning streak and was their first League II-C loss of the season.
“It tells everyone in this section and this state that we are not done yet,” Granitto said. “We are working hard, every day, every practice. People should know Yorktown.”
With 21.5 seconds left in the game, Granitto made the first of two foul shots, putting the Huskers up, 54-53.
“I knew my teammates, I knew my coaches, had confidence in me, so I had confidence in myself to make that shot,” Granitto said.
Rob Miller scored 7 of his 11 points in the final quarter, including two clutch free throws that gave Yorktown a 56-53 advantage with 9.4 seconds left in the game, before the Huskers’ defense held off Lakeland on its last possession.
“Rob is the guy we want on the foul line,” Yorktown coach Mark Pavella said. “He is a senior, he’s been here before, multi-sport athlete. He’s just a tough kid, he’s a leader. I expected him to make those shots.”
Yorktown (10-9) has won nine of their last 12 games after a 1-6 start.
“The kids have learned from prior games, what it takes to play at this level,” Pavella said. “We have a young group, so the first seven games, really showed that. We bought in, in the second half of the season. We are playing good basketball now. We have good leadership in Roni (Brucaj) and Rob Miller, our two captains.”
Eddie Brucaj (9 points, 8 rebounds) and Sam Pincus (4 points), also contributed to the victory.
Leading the Hornets was senior Jeffrey Owusu (20 points).
“It’s senior night, he was ready to play, Jeffrey has played well all year for us,” Lakeland coach Steve Fallo said. “It’s no different from any other night. Tonight, he just put up a few more points.”
Augie Karaqi (11 points), Jack Kruse (8 points), Mike Arcure (5 points), Aidan Welcome (5 points) and Rob Nardelli (4 points), scored for Lakeland as well.
Yorktown 52, Somers 47
Yorktown also won against visiting rival Somers 52-47, on Feb. 7.
“Well, we knew we played a really bad game the first time against them offensively as we shot poorly, scoring only 30 points as a team,” Roni Brucaj said. “So we wanted to play harder and show them that we are better. It felt great.”
Roni Brucaj (19 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds) and Eddie Brucaj (12 points, 8 rebounds), ignited Yorktown to the victory.
“We moved the ball around and ran our sets, which enabled us to get open shots like every game, but this time we capitalized on them,” Roni Brucaj said. “Also, our defense was really good.”
Yorktown started the week with a 47-45 loss at Walter Panas on Feb. 4, with Miller (13 points, 5 rebounds) and Roni Brucaj (13 points, 4 rebounds), doing the honors for the Huskers.
Lakeland 71, Brewster 39
Lakeland (15-4, 8-1), clinched the League II-C title with a 71-39 triumph at Brewster on Feb. 6.
“Clinching the league was a team goal we set from the beginning of the year,” Karaqi said. “Our team knew that we could clinch the league title against Brewster, so we wanted to make sure we got it against them.”
Karaqi (18 points), Owusu (15 points), Arcure (11 points) and Brian Cummins (10 points), did the honors for the Hornets.
“We played terrific defense and really shared the ball offensively,” Karaqi said. “It was a total team effort.”
Lakeland 67, John Jay 47
Two days earlier, Lakeland won at John Jay-Cross River 67-47, led by Karaqi (21 points), Nardelli (17 points), Kruse (10 points), Owusu (9 points) and Arcure (7 points, 6 assists).
Kruse and Karaqi earned All-Section, and Owusu and Nardelli were named All-League, with Fallo earning League II-C , Coach of the Year honors.
“Our coaches got Coach of the Year for our league,” Steve Fallo said. “It’s given to me, but coach Will Fallo and coach (Bill) Casey, have been a huge part of why we have been successful.”
Roni Brucaj earned All-Conference and Eddie Brucaj All-League, for the Huskers.