By David Cordova
The high school season has come to an end for many players, which means its time for either two things: the AAU season or graduation. One tournament that showcases that is no other than the Nick Ciccone/Pete Sinis Tournament, which is played in one of the most historical gyms in all of the New York Metropolitan area, Our Lady of Lourdes Gym, also known as the CYP Gym, on 32 Washington Street in Port Chester, NY.
The event, which is in its second year of existence, is named in honor two local residents who passed away, but their name carries on. But also it has replaced the old CYP Tournament, which shut down after 69 years, in 2014, due to financial reasons. But this new event is still bringing crowds just like its predecessor and holds a lot of excitement inside the old gym, which is very small in size and can hold at least 100 people. But when the games are exciting, the little gym gets to rocking.
This year’s tournament held as many as eight teams for three days, and only two teams remained. Those teams were the famed New York Gauchos AAU program and High Major, a program from Westchester County, who was the defending champions, winning the tournament’s first title last year.
The matchup from this year’s game would be very exciting early on, as there was plenty of highlight reel plays, but when it was all said and done, there would only be one victor.
High Major 112, New York Gauchos 81
Early on in the game, both teams remained competitive, but Christ the King (NY) senior and Georgia Tech commit Jose Alvarado kept the game close for High Major with his scoring ability. However, the Gauchos, led by Mount St. Michael (NY) senior Elijah Buchanan, would lead 14-12, with more than three minutes to go in the first quarter.
Moments later, with High Major’s inability to convert a layup, the Gauchos would end up taking a seven-point lead, 24-17, and then Teaneck (NJ) senior Jawaun Daniels made a tip-in at the buzzer, which cut the deficit to five at the end of the first quarter, 24-19.
The second quarter started off in favor of High Major, as St. Raymond (NY) senior and Minnesota commit Isaiah Washington scored two consecutive baskets & Daniels made two free throws to bring them ahead, 27-24, with more than five mins remaining. High Major would continue to assert control in this game despite the Gauchos threatening their lead. They would then end up leading by eight at halftime, 44-36.
The torrid play of High Major continued in the second half, as they led by fifteen, 62-47, with less than four minutes left in the third quarter. Their running game helped them gain a 78-59 lead at the end of the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Gauchos, tried to make a run behind the play of Monsignor Scanlan (NY) junior Jalen Lecque, which brought their deficit to 80-64, within the first few minutes of the quarter. But High Major’s offense was too potent & they would go on to repeat as champions.
Alvarado led High Major with 26 points, Forest Trails Academy (NC) junior Joel Ntambwe added 20 points and Washington, the MVP, scored 18 points. For the Gauchos, Lecque scored 30 points and St. Raymond (NY) junior Nicolas Rivera added 18 points in the loss.