By Rick Carpiniello
It says something about a program when its losses are bigger than its wins.
With all the deserved attention brought about by Khalil Edney’s crazy buzzer-beater on Sunday, the victory for New Rochelle High was exponentially more remarkable because of who the Huguenots beat for the Section 1 AA boys basketball championship.
Mount Vernon had won seven consecutive championships, and 12 of the last 13, and in that time had added six state championships and 10 Final Four appearances. Yet three losses are remembered, outside of the community, than any of the wins: The 2005 loss to New Rochelle in the final, and the 2009 buzzer beater by Newburgh’s Will Bouton in the ’09 regionals, and now the Edney shot.
“A nice compliment in a crazy way,” Mount Vernon coach Bob Cimmino said.
But it doesn’t make it hurt any less.
“It was really tough,” Cimmino said 24 hours later. “Just really feeling for my players. They’re all hurting a lot and I’m trying to be as supportive as possible to them.
“We did in ’09, also. We thought we’d won. It’s just very difficult when it’s season ending. It’s not just a loss. It’s the end of your season and you basically have to tell your seniors they’re moving on, it’s done. It’s difficult to have the family break up.
“It hurts. I had practice at it in 2009. Your coaching instinct just goes to making sure your players are protected and that they’re OK and that you get them to start taking a step in the direction of moving on. I only hurt for them.”
Cimmino said he didn’t even ask Devonte Banner about tossing the ball that was caught by Edney, and only told him “just how special a kid he is and that I’m very proud of him for the whole year.”
Cimmino said that he had only heard about how the game-ending video had gone viral, and that his players are more attuned to the social media and that they say, “it’s all over the place, it’s just out there, and hopefully it will go away soon.”
And he tried to avoid it himself. But, before heading to school Monday morning, he had the TV on and one moment Matt Lauer was talking about the Pope, and the next he was showing the Edney shot.