Needing to win their last three games of the season to secure a spot in the playoffs, The Generals of MacArthur High School in Levittown put in a valient effort against Valley Stream Central, but fell from contention with a 43-38 defeat.
“I thought the boys played extremely hard… that has been a constant all season,” said MacArthur High School’s Head Coach Eric Rubin. “Our defense was outstanding. We had several good looks, but just couldn’t hit the shots.”
From the start, MacArthur held tough to put up an early 11-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. Jerome Cunningham hit a three-point shot to begin the game and another to start the second quarter to put the Generals up 14-10. But, the early lead was short-lived.
The second quarter did not feature much offense, as the Generals squad started to struggle, scoring only nine points and relinquisihing the lead to Valley Stream.
In the third quarter, Eriq Williams began to take over for the Eagles. While scoreless in the first half, Williams was a leader for the Valley Stream squad. The Eagles held a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter. It would have been larger, but MacArthur’s Phil
Carucci was able to connect from long-range to shrink the lead to one.
The fourth quarter was very physical. The Generals knew their season was hanging in the balance, and their playmakers did not want to give in.
Tom McAndrew hit a three-point shot to briefly put the Generals up 31-29, but the Eagles tied it up with a fast break layup. For a couple of possessions, both teams hit a lull, missing a number of open shots. The frustration level was rising, and each coach called a timeout to re-group.
Garroway and Williams both hit jump shots to push the lead to 37-33.
“MacArthur does a great job,” said Valley Stream Head Coach Alfred Hayward. “They always play us tough including at home when we played them. The game could’ve went either way but we played tough defense when we had to.”
Valley Stream Central featured three players that totaled double-digit points; Winston Jones, Andre Garroway and Eriq Williams. According to Coach Rubin, while MacArthur did not qualify for the playoffs, these close games and past experiences will help set the squad up for success next season.
“We are battling very strong teams to the wire,” Rubin said. “Unfortunately, more times than not, we’ve just missed coming out on top.”
The Generals still have two more games in the regular season.
— With additional reporting by Daniel Offner