Long Beach, 5-11, Senior

Defense defines the greatness surrounding Duane Green. Of all the talented guards in Nassau's deep Conference I, only Uniondale's Adner St. Surin (33 points) beat the Marines' pressure D, led by Green. Still, Long Beach won, 80-68, and Green did score 18. Other players who went toe-to-toe with the Marines' point guard this season, however, had moments when they struggled to get the ball past halfcourt. For the season, Green averaged 20.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.0 steals. A three-year starter, Green's team lost just four games over the last two seasons - all to state public schools Class A runner-up Hempstead. The Marines' season ended prematurely this season, with the lone loss coming in the county semifinals to Hempstead. Another All-Long Island player, Lateef Myles, had a tip-in at the buzzer for a 71-69 win. Green finished as Long Beach's second all-time leading scorer (1,329 points), behind only 1991 grad Billy Owens. "In my 13 years of coaching, he is the best player I've had," Long Beach coach Wandy Williams said. "He played both ends of the court well. He is a complete player."

Westhampton, 5-10, Senior

From goat to hero. A three-year starter at point guard, Dale Menendez blamed himself for Westhampton's last-second, 48-46, loss to Amityville in the 1997 Suffolk Class B title game. One year later, it was Menendez who was responsible more than anyone for Westhampton's perfect season. A 1,000-yard rusher on the football team, Menendez was just as productive on the basketball court, averaging 14.5 points, 6.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals in 28 games. But his game went to another level come playoff time. Witness his performance in the state public schools Class B title game against defending champion Syracuse-Westhill. He scored 19 points on 6-for-8 shooting, grabbed 5 rebounds and had 4 steals to earn MVP honors and help the Hurricanes secure a 56-36 victory.

South Side, 6-1, Senior

Bryan Bailey was the oldest of the two-headed monster South Side unleashed this season. They were known as the Bailey brothers. Bryan teamed with junior Maurice to average a combined 32.7 points in 23 games and give opponents fits. Shut down one and the other would pick up the slack. The elder Bailey also teamed with point guard James Altman to provide leadership. The result was South Side's first Nassau Class B title in 11 years and a county overall championship. A two-year starter, Bryan averaged 16.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 3.1 steals. Maurice (16.5 points) made the All-Long Island second team and is reason to believe the Bailey name will be prominent in Nassau once again next season. Said South Side coach Russ Reid, "The Baileys were the best brother combination on Long Island this season."

North Babylon, 6-1, Junior

Barry Baker scarcely finished a Long Island championship run in football, where he was a 1,000-yard rusher and among the most feared and revered players on Long Island, when basketball season began. All Baker did was lift an inexperienced group of Bulldogs to the Suffolk Class A title as an 11th seed. He scored 25 points (9-for-17 shooting), grabbed 11 rebounds and had six steals in a 70-56 win over top-seeded Brentwood. He played through ankle and wrist injuries, giving new meaning to the word toughness. Baker averaged 20.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 5.0 steals. "Barry is all about coming up big in big games," North Babylon coach Jack Loth said. "He is the best athlete and person I've ever been around."

St. Dominic, 6-2, Senior

Sean Kennedy might look back more fondly on his junior season, when he was a key cog in the wheel of the state Class B Federation champions. St. Dominic would go only as far as Kennedy could take the program this season. Considered the premier ballhandling point guard on Long Island, the three-year player singlehandedly won games. He scored a career-high 40 points in a CHSAA quarterfinal win over Chaminade and had 29 points, 10 assists and 8 steals in a semifinal against St. Anthony's. Still, the Friars knocked off St. Dominic that night. Those two games epitomized the type of season the Bayhawks had. With all of Kennedy's brilliance, it was sometimes not enough. Kennedy, who signed early with Marist, averaged 22.8 points, 8.5 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.

Westhampton, 6-5, Senior

Jermain Hollman was a five-year starter who contributed to Westhampton's 101 wins, five league titles and three unbeaten regular seasons. He is the school's all-time scoring leader with 1,289 points and a three-time All-Suffolk selection. Coaches in the know have been expecting greatness from Hollman for years. This season he delivered, helping the Hurricanes win Long Island, state public schools and Federation Class B championships. Hollman led the Hurricanes in scoring with 17.5 points, rebounds with 9.0, and added 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game. His final outing may have been his best. He had 22 points (10-for-16 shooting), 8 boards and 4 assists in Westhampton's 62-51 victory over PSAL winner Wadleigh in the Federation title game and took MVP honors.

Bridgehampton, 6-2, Senior

The only three-time Final Four MVP in state boys basketball history and catalyst for an unprecedented three straight public schools Class D titles. That will be Maurice Manning's legacy, placing him among the East End greats. A four-year starter and three-time All-Long Island selection, Manning finished with 1,831 career points, surpassing Killer Bees legend Bobby Hopson's four-year total (1986-90) of 1,776. This season Manning's scoring average dropped to 20.6 in 21 games from 24.8 last season, but his role increased. He moved from shooting guard to point and helped get teammates into the game. He averaged 12.6 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 4.0 steals playing with his typically forceful style. Newsday's 1997 Player of the Year in Suffolk, Manning will attend prep school next fall, but he is being courted by DePaul.

Hempstead, 6-2, Senior

Lateef Myles was perhaps the most diverse player on Long Island. He proved as much during the NBA All-Star Break, when he won the Fila Dribble, Shoot and Dunk contest at the Jacob Javits Center. He was the lone returning player with experience this season. And Myles seemingly willed the Tigers back to the title game in Glens Falls again, where they came within three minutes of beating eventual champ Schenectedy. Myles led the Tigers in scoring with a 21.9 average, rebounds with 14.3 and blocks with 2.2. He also had 1,031 career points. "I've been ecstatic with the progress Lateef has made athletically," Hempstead coach Ted Adams said. "But my greatest joy for Lateef is when the honor roll was announced, he was on it. He is the true student-athlete."

Elmont, 6-5, Senior

A three-year starter, Mike Ranft moved from swingman to point guard this season. More suited to facing inside players, Ranft made the switch because Elmont coach Dave Kinsley lacked a ballhandler of Ranft's caliber. Boy, did the move ever pay off. Elmont went from a Nassau Class A also-ran last season to within one point of the 1998 county championship, falling to Hempstead, 59-58. He averaged 19.1 points, 13.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists and finished his career with 810 points. Just as impressive is Ranft's 1,150 SAT. "It's hard to put into words what he meant to the program," Kinsley said. "Quite often he not only set the table, he also ate."

St. Mary's, 6-0, Sophomore

A two-year starter at point guard, Joel Suarez led St. Mary's to its first state CHSAA Class B championship. Spectacular at times, he averaged 19.0 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals. But it took a last-second loss to St. Dominic on Feb. 17 to focus the young guard on his responsibilities to the team. Three days later against St. John the Baptist, St. Mary's coach Tim Cluess believes Suarez turned the corner. In the Gaels' 95-55 victory, Suarez elevated his play and the players around him, scoring 22 points (6-for-8 shooting), dishing out 9 assists, grabbing 7 boards and getting 4 steals. It was the first of five straight wins that brought home a state title. "He sacrificed his own game for the betterment of the team," Cluess said. "I think that's a big step for him in his development as a point guard."


South Side (20-3)

Russ Reid, 50, last took a South Side team to the state public schools Class B title game in 1987. He thought this season's version was his best since. No doubt it was. The Cyclones ripped though Nassau Class B competition with ease, capturing the school's eighth county championship and second in the 16-year reign of Reid (241-97 record). South Side then handed Class A winner Hempstead an 83-79 defeat to capture the Nassau overall championship. One game shy of the state Final Four is where the season ended. The Cyclones ran into a Westhampton team in the Class B Long Island Championship game that will be remembered as one of the great teams in Island lore. "This was an outstanding team," Reid said of South Side. "We didn't rely on individuals. We ran better and passed better than any team I've had. They were an unselfish group."

Westhampton (28-0)

Rich Wrase, 46, completed the most memorable of 16 seasons as a coach (226-94 record), which modestly began at Eastport. He has won four county titles, the last three in seven seasons at Westhampton, where he has gone 131-22 with six league titles. This season, Wrase merely directed the Hurricanes through a minefield of tough teams in Suffolk's League IV and through five weeks of Class B playoff basketball. In the process, Westhampton became the first East End team in 29 years to win the Suffolk overall championship. An avalanche of firsts followed: From the school's initial Long Island title to its first state public schools championship. What separates the Hurricanes from other area state champions, however, is their state Federation title. They became the first Long Island public school since Malverne in 1981 to capture the Federation Class B title. And no team from the Island had ever won 28 games.

The Richard Sandler Award, which Newsday presents each year to the top
boys basketball player in Nassau and Suffolk, honors Newsday's longtime
sports editor, who died in 1989. Sandler, who became sports editor in
1973, emphasized scholastic sports coverage even as Newsday's sports
section grew into national prominence. Here is a list of past winners:.

. 1992 Freddie Lyson, Oceanside . Gary Williams, Bay Shore . . 1993 Darius Burton, Baldwin . Gary Williams, Bay Shore . . 1994 Zendon Hamilton, Sewanhaka . Rob Hodgson, Floyd . . 1995 Wally Sczcerbiak, Cold Spring Harbor . Kareem Farmer, Bay Shore . . 1996 Jason Hernandez, St. Dominic . Brian Ehlers, Bay Shore . . . 1997 Darnel Reid, Hempstead . Maurice Manning, Bridgehampton . . 1998 Duane Green, Long Beach . Dale Menendez, Westhampton . . . SECOND TEAM . Player, School Ht. Yr. Pts. . . Brian Bachman, Jericho 6-1 Senior 18.8 . Maurice Bailey, South Side 5-10 Junior 16.5 . Russell Brereton, Copiague 6-3 Junior 18.1 . Jackie Elrod, Long Beach 6-3 Senior 16.8 . Eric Ferguson, Hempstead 5-11 Soph. 15.3 . Jared Grasso, St. Anthony's 6-0 Senior 20.3 . Derrick Mayo, Babylon 6-2 Senior 22.3 . Drew Nicholas, LI Lutheran 6-2 Junior 16.0 . Courtney Pritchard, C. Moriches 5-9 Soph. 18.0 . Darryl Stephens, Lawrence Wood. 6-0 Senior 15.7 .