Valley Stream South still has major work to do to earn a spot in the Nassau Class A boys’ basketball postseason tournament, but the Falcons sure looked like a playoff team Friday night at Lawrence.
Sophomore Brady DelValle (22) and senior Gavin Benavides combined for 37 points and shot the lights out from behind the arc as South snapped a four-game skid with a runaway 67-45 victory over the Golden Tornadoes to keep its faint playoff hopes alive in Conference A-V. Benavides nailed five treys and DelValle added four to lead what head coach Mike O’Brien said was by far the team’s best performance of the season.
“The kids know we have to run the table to make the playoffs and they just did everything right tonight,” O’Brien said. “It was the most balanced and complete game we’ve played.
It’s highly unlikely we’ll get in the playoffs, but it’s not impossible,” he added. “If we can bottle up this game and take it with us, it’ll help our chances.”
Despite a roster consisting of 10 seniors, the Falcons (5-11 overall, 2-6 in A-V) have struggled to put it all together much of the season, O’Brien said. They still need to win each of the last four conference games to make the playoffs as a record of .500 or better is required.
Lawrence, which defeated South in the first meeting by 13, would have clinched a playoff berth with a win but was unable to match the Falcons’ intensity level and trailed almost the entire game. Senior Dexter Robinson’s 18 points paced the Golden Tornadoes, who fell to 9-7 overall and 5-4 in A-V.
“I was concerned about this game because testing week is really difficult on kids,” Lawrence head coach Lou Robinson said. “We lose our composure very quickly and to their credit, they did everything better than us. Shooting, rebounding, passing, you name it.”
Seniors Robert Jones (10 points) and Andy Dorant (8) were additional factors for the Falcons, who built a 33-21 halftime lead. “Jones missed the first Lawrence game and he’s improved exponentially throughout the season,” O’Brien said. “He’s our energy guy. He never stops moving.”
Dorant (11.5 ppg) is the team’s second-leading scorer behind DelValle, who scored 10 straight points spanning late in the second quarter and early in the third.
“Brady’s the guy,” O’Brien said of DelValle, who averages 13 points. “I think he’s gaining more confidence with each game. He’s a captain as a sophomore and he’s Mr. Consistent with effort.”
South poured it on with a 19-point third quarter, closing on a 15-3 run to put the game out of reach. Senior Tyler Bowers and junior Avery Folawiyo chipped in 8 and 6 points, respectfully, for Lawrence, which travels to conference-leading Friends Academy next.
“We haven’t been shooting well from the outside and need to attack the basket more,” coach Robinson said. “We’ve got a tough schedule in front of us and we need to practice better and play better.”