PURCHASE — As he walked through the Purchase College gym lobby, fans leaned over a stairwell to greet him. They screamed and reached out their hands, everyone wanting a piece of Khalil Edney (pictured above), the New Rochelle star gone national.
The 6-foot-4 New Rochelle senior became something of a sensation in the wake of Sunday’s 60-foot buzzer-beater that stunned Mount Vernon in the Section 1 championship game at the County Center. After a day of having cameras and microphones shoved in his face, Edney and the Huguenots returned to normal as best as they could Tuesday. And that meant turning back to Joe Clarke (pictured right).
The 6-foot-3 senior, whose sectional MVP performance was overshadowed by Edney’s iconic heave, delivered 23 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks to lead a bright-light weary team over Binghamton 67-48 in the Class AA state regional semifinals.
“This is his team. Khalil knows that. This is Joe Clarke’s team,” said New Rochelle coach Rasaun Young, whose Huguenots advanced to meet Section 9’s Kingston at 1 Sunday in the regional final at West Point. “We’re going to go as far as Joe goes. There’s no secret to that.”
Like he did against Mount Vernon, Clarke carried New Rochelle (14-9) early and late, playing throughout despite the rigors of his media blitz with Edney and Young Sunday night into Monday. Clarke’s eight points and five assists in the first half spurred the Huguenots to a halftime lead, although Edney’s fortuitous touch made its imprint, too.
Edney first entered the game to applause with 5:30 remaining in the first quarter and his team down 8-2 against the Section 4 champ. Despite just two points during the subsequent stretch by Sunday’s hero, New Rochelle outscored Binghamton 22-4 over the next 6:48.
The end of the first half was less kind, but the play of Clarke and guards Derek Dorn (15 points, 4 rebounds, pictured left) and Donny Powell (11 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists) helped extend the lead.
Edney started the second half and finished with six points, four rebounds and one block. Although cameras and microphones followed him again, he said he was glad to be reunited with his teammates.
“Everybody said my shot, my shot, my shot, but everyone missed the charge that Joe had, the steal that Donovan Powell had, the charge that Derek Dorn took,” said Edney, who was interviewed on camera by CNN Tuesday morning. “Those guys deserve the credit, too. Everybody deserves the credit for the way they played in the game on Sunday.”
The players admitted they’ve been exhausted by these last 48 hours. A sleep-deprived Young hasn’t slept since Monday, working his regular job as a firefighter Monday night and his second job as security at Albert Leonard Middle School Tuesday.
“We thought we were going to play sluggish, which we did,” Clarke said. “We can’t do that anymore because there are a lot of great teams in the state.”
Photos courtesy of Matt Brown/The Journal News. For a complete gallery, click here.