Freshly on the mend from a rough case of the injury bug, Valley Stream North turned around a five-game skid with a much-needed 57-46 win over North Shore last Friday in a Nassau Conference A-IV boys’ basketball game.
Carlton “CJ” Parris made his presence felt for VSN after retuning from injury, pouring in 29 points in the winning effort.
“(Parris) has been working on trying to control a game from the point guard position,” head coach Dan Achatz said. “He’s not a true point guard, but the work he’s put in has paid off. He’s gotten really good at managing the game from that position. Unfortunately he’s been hurt for multiple weeks this year. He was ready to make a statement.”
On the other end of the court, VSN was keeping a dutiful eye and game-planning around North Shore’s All-County talent Jarrett O’Day. Mark Reali (15) and Will Scarola (12) scored in double digits for the Vikings.
“We were able to get him into foul trouble early,” Achatz said of O’Day. “He’s a talented kid. We did well to draw a charge for his final foul in the second half.”
Achatz and his squad was able to execute its strategy of knocking about 20 seconds off of the clock in each of their offensive possessions, limiting the time North Shore had to close the gap at any give time.
“(Valley Stream) North did a great job getting into their gameplan. They’re a good team and coach Achatz is a good coach and they were ready,” Vikings head coach Kevin Carpenter said. “Parris did a tremendous job of finding his rhythm early.”
North Shore (7-8, 4-4 in A-IV) and VSN (5-9, 2-6 in A-IV) are jockeying for a top four conference finish, which guarantees a playoff spot.
“We’re coming off a huge win against Floral Park, and another good win against Lawrence,” Carpenter said. “We’ve got some really good teams coming up in these last four games.”
Carpenter was confident in his team’s focus down the stretch. “We’re not really focused on yesterday, and we’re not really focused on tomorrow. Whatever is in front of us today, that’s how we look at things. This team is really living in the moment and I would say is overachieving,” he said.
Valley Stream North’s road to the playoffs is a notably tougher one. With North’s noted injury history, Achatz’s biggest concern is the starter’s time on the floor together. “Our guys are just getting that chemistry now,” Achatz said. “We know that we can score. We need to defend together as a team.”
Parris, averaging 24 points a game, is a clear game changer when he’s on the court. “Parris was out for weeks, and injury wise it’s been a rough season,” Achatz said. “However these kids have dealt with adversity and done it well. They work consistently and put themselves in a position to win.”
Tristan Ferreira stepped up last Friday with 16 points and eight rebounds. Chris Manzi and Serge Thrasybule chipped in five points apiece.