She’s done wonders to help put Bellport on the girls basketball map on Long Island, but Sunday’s 10th annual Metro Classic was about raising individual stock for Arella Guirantes.
And what better stage than the 10th annual charity all-star game that pits some of the best players from New York City against those from Long Island.
Playing on the same court as several future major Division I college players, the Bellport junior shined, scoring a game-high 20 points to earn MVP honors and lead Long Island over New York City, 88-82, at Archbishop Molloy’s Jack Curran Gymnasium.
“It’s definitely special,” Guirantes said. “It’s my first time playing in this tournament. I didn’t know about it last year. Coming on and playing hard and winning MVP is a great feeling.”
Guirantes didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. After all, she did have 36 points, 24 rebounds, 7 blocks and 5 steals in a first-round playoff upset over Northport, ending 12 years of postseason futility.
But she took a major step up in terms of competition Sunday, facing a New York City team that featured Christ the King’s Sierra Calhoun (Duke), Nazareth’s Bianca Cuevas (South Carolina), Yasmine Belk (Virginia Commonwealth) and Jen Fay (LIU).
In fact, Guirantes Long Island team featured a pair of future Division I players in Long Island Lutheran’s Lauren (Boogie) Brozoski, who verbally committed to Michigan, and Delaware-bound Chastity Taylor of St. Anthony’s.
“I think everybody came on the court with the intention of winning MVP. I just played extremely hard at the end and came up with the special award,” Guirantes said. “I feel like this will put my name out there in the city and on Long Island.”
The 5-foot-11 junior swing, who is just starting the recruiting process, but already has interest from Stony Brook University, scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, including six of Long Island’s final nine in the last 1:57 to seal the victory.
“Toward the end of the game I just started going for everything and came up with stuff and came up short with stuff, but in the end we still go the win,” Guirantes said. “That’s all that matters.”
Brozoski added 19 points and Taylor added 16 for Long Island, which outscored New York City, 10-4, in the final 2:40 of the fourth quarter to take a 7-3 all-time lead in the Metro Classic.
Cuevas, who verbally committed to South Carolina Saturday, had a team-high 17 points for New York City, while Calhoun, fellow Christ the King senior Kollyns Scarbrough and Fay, a senior at Nazareth, scored 15 points apiece.
Guirantes is hoping her stellar play at the Metro Classic will be a springboard for her junior year at Bellport.
“I have to get on the court with the same mentality and have to keep attacking everyone,” Guirantes said.