A Basketball Tradition Continues In Westbury

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Brian Destrat (3) defends as Roslyn’s Daniel DiSanti attempts the throw-in. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

High School hosts Reid-Robeson Tournament

Westbury High School hosted its 37th annual Reid-Robeson Classic on Saturday, Feb. 4. It is named after the Westbury High School basketball coach and administrator Martin “Bunky” Reid, who coached the boys varsity team to a state title, and the actor/singer/civil rights activist Paul Robeson.

Reid originated the game and named it after the African American icon. After Reid’s death in 1993, his name was added to the tournament.

The afternoon of basketball saw the host Green Dragons take on Roslyn in boys junior varsity and varsity games while the girls varsity team faced off against Clarke. A large and enthusiastic crowd was on hand.

After staying close to Roslyn, with the score tied at the half, the varsity boys watched the visitors pull away for a 76-52 win. Rubens Destinoble (19) and Elon Sylvester (13) paced the scoring for the hosts.

The girls lost to Clarke 44-38. Kirina Azemar, who passed the 1,000-point milestone last month, scored 34 points for Westbury.

Before each game, a scholar athlete from both teams was recognized.

Jordan Basright holds up his scholar athlete plaque. At right is head coach Keith Moody. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

The Westbury boys varsity team honored Jordan Basnight, who received a plaque and the following citation:

Jordan Basnight is one of the scholars within the Westbury Union Free District who portrays compassion, reliability, and excellence with anything he takes on in life. As of this year, Jordan is now a two-time Scholar Athlete. Jordan will be graduating this June with the hope of attending either Morehouse or the University of Albany. He will be majoring in business administration. Jordan also would like to expand his knowledge on real estate and possibly work for the NYPD after college.

In the midst of the pandemic when everything changed around the world, Jordan decided to dedicate his time completing community service projects through his church distributing food to people within the community. Jordan is also the president of My Brother’s Keeper which was created by former President Obama. MBK is an initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. Jordan embodies the title “My Brother’s Keeper.”

It is his desire to leave a mark or impression on all of his friends, and all of the scholars after him, that they can accomplish anything in life if they put the effort in and reach their full potential. As a student athlete, Jordan encourages his teammates to put the effort in to succeed on and off the court and to make sure they understand the true meaning of brotherhood.

Girls varsity honors went to Ghavena Dorce. She posed with head coach Todd Teeter and assistant coach Celeste Haller. Her citation:

This is Ghavena first year with the Lady Dragons and she has been a positive team player. She works very hard on the court and even harder in the classroom. She has a 93.3 average and loves school.

In her free time Ghavena loves to read and help others and play basketball. She believes, “I will always try my best in everything I do to get better.” She has done that in the classroom and basketball court.

Andy Sedme was the boys junior varsity scholar athlete. His citation:

[The] team is proud to honor Andy Sedme as their Scholar Athlete for the 2022-23 season. Andy is an extremely diligent person in the classroom as well as on the basketball court. Andy is well-spoken, responsible, thoughtful, and a natural born leader. Andy is proud of his Haitian descent and attributes his successes to his loving family, who always supports him and encourages him to achieve his dreams.

Although basketball is his passion, he understands that academics come first and that his education is far more valuable than a few points scored in a basketball game. Andy excels in all subjects but is particularly accomplished in mathematics. He enjoys reading during his free time and recently completed the entire Harry Potter series totaling to 4,224 pages. Andy is also a talented musician and enjoys playing percussion for the high school band. Moreover, he also participates in the My Brother’s Keeper after-school program which focuses on networking, mentorship, community activism, and real-world preparation.

Andy isn’t sure of what career path he wants to pursue in the future, but he has set high standards for himself and is considering careers in law, medicine, and real estate. With regard to basketball, Andy’s demeanor sets the tone for the entire rest of the team to follow. Andy is a talented athlete whose leadership and support for others is crucial to the team’s success. Andy has an extremely bright future both on and off the basketball court.

The program provided the following information on the namesakes:

Martin Reid had a big impact on the Westbury area. This park in New Cassel is named in his honor. (Contributed Photo)

Martin S. “Bunky” Reid

Reid passed away on April 29, 1993. He was a man among men, a leader among leaders, a hero to all youth in our community. Bunky was a person whose dedication and commitment to education has been and will continue to be, an inspiration to all who came in contact with this unique and inspirational man.

After graduating from Westbury High School in 1969, Bunky earned his B.A. at SUNY Oswego in 1974 and then returned home to teach English at the Junior High School. After a few years, he moved to the Senior High School English Department. In 1979, he became the boys varsity basketball coach and his teams won New York State and Nassau County title, as well as numerous league championships and playoff berths. He was respected by his fellow coaches, not only for his exceptional coaching ability, but also for the way his teams conducted themselves on and off the court.

After earning his M.A. in school administration, Bunky became acting assistant principal at the high school in 1985, and was appointed to the position in 1988. He left a unique stamp on the lives of innumerable people. It is for this reason that Westbury High School in 1994 added his name to the basketball classic he created in 1986.

It is commonly believed that Bunky can best be described by the passage:

“His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that Nature might stand up and Say to all the world, This was a man.” —Julius Caesar, Act V. Scene V

Paul B. Robeson

Paul Robeson was among the foremost interpreters of Shakespeare’s Othello. (Wikipedia Commons)

Years before the advent of the Civil rights movement, of which Martin Luther King, Jr. was an integral part, there was another African American who campaigned for social justice. But more than that, he was a great actor, singer, scholar and all around athlete. The man we honor today is The Possessor of the Ultimate Body and the Ultimate Mind.

Robeson was born April 19, 1898, in Princeton, New Jersey, the son of a slave who escaped to freedom at the age of fifteen. He was the first African American to receive an athletic scholarship to Rutgers University. At Rutgers, he excelled in four sports-football, basketball, track and field and boxing. He showed special talent in football.

Robeson’s accomplishments were not limited to the football field or the boxing ring. An excellent student at Rutgers, he was honored with membership in Phi Beta Kappa, the National College Honor Society, became Valedictorian of his graduating class. In 1923, Robeson received his degree from the prestigious Columbia Law School.

Paul Bushkill Robeson died on January 23, 1976, in Philadelphia. We remember the way he strived to better society by pointing out the injustices and challenging us to correct them. We are honoring Paul Robeson because of what he was and what he means to us—and what we, as people can be. This is what we mean by The Ultimate Body and the Ultimate Mind.

Jayvee boys basketball scholar athlete Andy Sedme poses with assistant coach Jonathan Imrit, left, and head coach Alex Nantsis. (Contributed Photo)

 

Jamie Roberts puts up a shot over Roslyn’s Jesse Khan. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)
Members of the Bunky Reid All-Stars swarmed the court during halftime. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)
Wendarlin Charles goes baseline against Roslyn’s Mason Goodstat. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)
Jordan Basnight dribbles upcourt as Rubens Destinoble (12) follow. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)
James Frazier and Roslyn’s Aaron Williams vie for the loose ball. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)
Rubens Destinoble puts up a corner jumper. He paced Westbury with 19 points against Roslyn. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Frank Rizzo is a journalist at Anton Media Group. With decades of experience in the industry, he is exceptionally equipped to cover local politics, business and other topics that matter to readers.

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