Manhasset boys basketball wins county title, advances to Long Island Championship

Teri West
The Manhasset boys' basketball team poses after earning its county title Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Maria Mastando)

The Manhasset boys’ basketball team won its first county title since 2011 Sunday in a 55-42 victory against Lynbrook High School.

“That’s what these kids dream about, and that’s what coaches dream about,” said the Manhasset team’s coach, George Bruns. “You want to win the county, and it’s not an easy task.”

The team (20-3) was down by two at the half and didn’t take the lead until the 4th quarter.

Senior Tom Santella attributed the comeback to switching from man-to-man defense to zone defense, in which each player guards a specific area.

“Once we switched over to our zone, which we all have a lot of confidence in, we just felt very comfortable,” he said.

The team’s starters are all seniors and have been playing together since about second grade, Santella said. Hard work in the offseason had them confident that the team would be good this year, he said.

Bruns, who has coached at Manhasset for about 17 years, said this group has some of the most togetherness and heart of all the teams he has trained.

“We worked really hard to get as good as we are at basketball, so to see it pay off and to get a county championship means the world to us,” Santella said.

Manhasset now advances to the Long Island Championship for the Nassau Class A division, where it will play Wyandanch High School at 6 p.m. Sunday. The game will be at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum. Entry is $10.

The crowd at Sunday’s game was the biggest senior starter John Mastandosaid he had ever played for. Though it was nerve-wracking at first to play for so many people, the team is looking forward to getting even more people to attend its upcoming game, he said.

“It’s really insane, the fact that we’re playing at the Nassau Coliseum,” Mastando said. “I’d never imagined that we’d be playing there.”

The team is evaluating Wyandanch’s strengths and weaknesses as it prepares for the game this week, Bruns said. Throughout the season, attention to detail has been a strong point for Manhasset, he said.

“I think we have a great shot,” Mastando said. “We’re playing a very athletic team similar to some teams we’ve beaten before. I think the toughest thing in the game is going to be the rebounding…Hopefully we’ll get the win. I think we can do it.”

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