By Jerry Del Priore
In an effort to continue the late Bill Lynch – a longtime recreational director with the New York City Parks Department – basketball legacy and provide New York City high school girls hoops preparation, commissioner Ed Auguste started the first annual Alfred E. Smith pre-season girls high school basketball league tournament.
“The reasons behind this is to carry on the legacy Bill started,” Auguste said after the conclusion of the slate of games. “I was pretty much his protégé. After he passed away, his one last wish was to carry on his legacy and be the new commissioner.”
As for the present and future, Auguste is happy with the progress its making, and would like to expand upon it next year.
“Being this is week three, this is my first annual high school tournament, and it’s coming along great,” he said. “Maybe next year I can have more than six teams, and get a few sponsors.”
In its third week, four of the six teams took to the courts of the Al E. Smith (a pioneer in the community) Recreation Center on Manhattan’s Lower Eastside.
In the first tilt, seniors Sheinkah Bovell and Ramatoulay Diallo led the Prospect Heights Cardinals with 14 and 13 points, respectively. That’s was more than enough for the 35-23 Prospect Heights victory over the Pace Setters of Manhattan.
Junior Madison Ortiz dropped in six points for Pace in the losing effort.
In the second game, two squads from Brooklyn faced off, with Adams Street upending Millennium by the score of 38-24.
Senior center Ayanna Brown drained a game-high 19 points for Adams Street.
While Millennium went down in defeat, head coach Brian McCarthy said the team does have a number of players to watch during the 2018-19 season, including senior point guard Laila Ward, sophomore guard Isabella Park and sophomore forward Liliana Hetherman, who paced her club with 15 points.
Plus, he said he wasn’t playing with a full squad, as many of the student-athletes are involved in other sports. But he liked what he saw Friday night.
“We don’t have a whole team yet, as some of our girls play fall sports,” McCarthy said. “But the effort was great. You can’t complain about that.”
The Alfred E. Smith tournament returns to action on Friday, October 26.
Watch the Pace Setters get two of its 23 points in video below.