Blakeman throws parade for Manhasset basketball championship

Blakeman throws parade for Manhasset basketball championship
State and town officials pose with the formal proclamation on behalf of the State of New York given to Manhasset's boys varisty basketball team, who won the state championship this month. (Photo by Brandon Duffy)

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman hosted a championship parade on Friday for the Manhasset boys basketball team on the heels of its first state championship since 1986. 

The team finished what was started by 2019’s roster, which lost in the state semifinals. After securing the Long Island championship on March 12 with a victory over Kings Park, Manhasset (25-1) headed to Glens Falls, where the team beat New Hartford. 

Winning was something 75-year-old head coach George Bruns and his assistant Stu Goldman could not believe. 

“We were just sitting here saying to each other ‘did that really just happen this weekend?’” Bruns said previously to Blank Slate Media. “This was my 20th year coaching here, and this could be the most talented team I’ve had. But still, you never can expect this to happen.”

Friday’s parade began at Manhasset Secondary School before turning onto Plandome Road, Orchard Street and Maple Place before finishing. The afternoon’s activities had to wrap up so lacrosse practices would not be interrupted. 

Back at the school, the team was presented with a formal proclamation on behalf of the state  commending  the achievement from state Sen. Anna Kaplan and Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti. 

North Hempstead officials also congratulated the team for its dedication and talent.

“This victory is an outstanding team achievement,” said Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey. “Under Coach Bruns’ guidance, the team put in a tremendous effort both on defense and offense to beat New Hartford and bring home the state championship.”

“This monumental victory would not have been possible if not for a full season of dedication and hard work from a team of extraordinary student athletes,” said Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte. “I am extremely proud of the success they have achieved.”

Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, who previously was the executive director of Manhasset’s Coalition Against Substance Abuse, said the accomplishment is even better after the toughness the area has shown in light of tragedies last year. 

In June, three Manhasset men were killed during a head-on collision in Quogue. Ryan Keiss, James and Michael Farrell were among the five people who died as a result of the crash. 

“After last year’s tragedies, this team showed a lot of heart,” DeSena said. “It’s good to celebrate together after grieving together. They deserve it.” 

Bobby Anastasia, a lifelong Manhasset resident who is an announcer for the team and maintains the stats, has high expectations for next year. 

“They really went on a tremendous run, after one early loss they gelled together like most great teams,” Anastasia, who is president of the booster club, said. “We have a really young team, so we’ll be just as good if not better next season.”

With basketball out of the way, Anastasia hopes to see a big turnout at two premier games during Manhasset’s spring season, the Woodstick Classic against Garden City for boy’s lacrosse on April 30 and the “Regs Rock” game against Chaminade, named after Manhasset resident and Chaminade graduate Jimmy Regan, who was killed in action as an Army Ranger in 2007.

“Today was a great day, and hopefully we’ll have more great seasons this year,” Anastasia said.

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