Frenji Sports hosted its second annual Frankie Williams Charity Classic basketball game last night at the Theodore Young Community Center in Greenburgh. Unfortunately, with Section 1 championship games in baseball, lacrosse and playoffs in softball, we were unable to have a reporter at the event.
A close friend of mine, former White Plains basketball player Jordan Griffith, was there and sent me this recap of the night. Jordan did a great job and we appreciate his insight:
Thursday night at the Theodore D. Young Community Center in Greenburgh, NY, the white team defeated the blue team 128-122 in the 2nd annual Frankie Williams Charity Classic.. The game, full of an array of high flying dunks, no look passes, and lightning quick dribble moves, was sponsored by Frenji Sports and included several players from around the Westchester area. They included former White Plains standout Sean Kilpatrick, Greenburgh native and McDonald’s All-American Dante Taylor, former Port Chester big man Jordan Henriquez, Iona Prep juniors Jordan Bronner and Brian Voelkel, Mount Vernon’s Vaughn Allen and Jordan Lessane, New Rochelle junior Antoine Mason and Blessed Sacrement forward David Samuels.
The event, in its second year, is designed to show that the best talent from Westchester can play with the best from New York City and some of its surrounding prep schools. Frenji president Benjamin Carter, who coordinated the event, felt that this year would be a great example of this. “Westchester is sort of a hidden factor of New York City basketball. I think we’ll show that today, that the best players of our county can play with the best from anywhere, not just New York City.”
And the Westchester players did start off hot to emphasize this point, despite the absence of Brooklyn national superstar Lance Stephenson. The blue team came out firing with Dante Taylor (National Christian) showing that his home gym did belong to him, scoring eight of the team’s first 12 points on four rim-rattling dunks. Taylor, Kilpatrick, Henriquez and Mason combined for 39 of the blue team’s 60 points at the half in a very strong Westchester start. However, the white team stayed in it with 7-foot center Hassan White (The Patterson School) going on a dunking frenzy, scoring 21 points and grabbing four offensive rebounds in 14 minutes. Brian Voelkel also played strong to represent Westchester on the white team, scoring eight points and grabbing six rebounds in 12 minutes.
At halftime, there was a heartfelt moment of silence followed by members of the community saying a few words in remembrance of Frankie Williams, the man for whom the event was founded. His family and friends talked of his love and support for the kids of Greenburgh and White Plains, and how he took pride in seeing these kids succeed not only athletically, but also academically, with Taylor (who is heading to Pittsburgh to play) as the prime example. With the announcer’s words, “Frankie’s spirit is in the building,” the second half started hot.
Blue came out firing again with Sean Kilpatrick catching fire and scoring 12 straight points. Taylor and Rice star Durand Scott also added to the effort with both scoring nine to break open the lead. However, the white team again kept it close with Whiteside, Vincent Council and St John’s-bound Omari Lawrence combining for 28 points in the 3rd quarter.
However, with two minutes left in the 3rd, the building began to come to life. With white down 12, the announcer received some news: Lance Stephenson had arrived. As soon as the words left his mouth, the 6’4 standout emerged from the locker room. The crowd went crazy. We had ourselves a game.
The 4th quarter was a scoring frenzy. Kilpatrick and Scott both called out Stephenson and tried to go at him. Kilpatrick hit back-to-back 3s but was stripped twice after Stevenson began to buckle down into game mode. Next, Scott had his turn but was unsuccessful on three straight attempts. On the other end, Stephenson showed why he gained all the hype and recognition over the last few years, with an array of finger rolls, fadeaway jumpers, and power drop steps. Taylor, Scott and Kilpatrick tried to keep up, but they couldn’t stay with the white team’s barrage of points by Stephenson, Whiteside and Archbishop Molloy guard Russel Smith. With two power dunks by Stephenson, white took the lead and the game was sealed.
The event, like last year’s, was a huge success. Carter again expressed his happiness for Westchester basketball. “Going from last year to this year, it’s remarkable the growth we have made, getting more and more kids involved. We look forward to next year where we can build on that even more and the younger kids can live up to the examples set by our players of today.”
To represent Westchester, Kilpatrick finished with 26 points and six rebounds, Henriquez with 13 and seven, and Voelkel with 13 and 12, while Mason, Bronner, Samuels, Lessane, and Allen finished with 10, 6, 6, 6, and 4 points respectively, in limited minutes. Kilpatrick says he was most excited to represent the county. “It’s my last time playing here (in Westchester). Me and Jordan (Henriquez) and Dante, we love coming back and showing what we can do because this place made us who we are. We’ll always have that.”
Even the bigger names agreed with Carter. Stevenson, who finished with 21 points, all in the 4th quarter, made the hour and a half trip for that reason. “It feels good, with everything goin’ on, to come out here and play some ball with the best from the area. I participated in the event last year, and decided to come back to have some fun and play with guys I probably won’t see for awhile. It was a great time and a great game.”
Though Scott finished with 21 and Whiteside with 37 and the sportsmanship award, the game MVP went to the player Frankie Williams would be most proud of; Dante Taylor. He finished with 32 points and 12 rebounds. “It was great to come home and represent Greenburgh at such a wonderful event, especially one so close to me. I just want to thank everyone who made it possible, and let all the kids out there know that hard work and dedication can get you great places. They should always remember that.”