When the ball is in Ahkee Anderson’s hands, it’s like it is magnetically attracted to the hoop. And that magnetic connection was strong February 13 as the junior guard racked up a career-high 50 points to propel Greenport to the Class C title with an 82-52 win over Southold at Center Moriches High School.
“I only do that in [NBA] 2K,” Anderson said of his record performance, laughing. “I mean 50, that’s crazy.”
His three straight field goals and two free-throw points off an intentional foul — that gave him a rare four-point play — helped put the Porters (19-1) out front for the first time, 12-10, and forced Southold to call timeout. Out of the break, Anderson scored back-to-back 3-pointers that sent the fans into a frenzy. To that point, he’d scored 16 of Greenport’s 18 points.
“The night got big,” he said. “Once you hit a few, it feels like everything is going to go in. They were right behind me every shot. It was a real good atmosphere.”
The guard ended the evening nearly single-handedly surpassing the Settlers, and made five three-point shots, four in the first half. Senior Jaxan Swann (12 points, nine assists) said it’s been special playing with a teammate like Anderson.
“There’s never a day when the ball is not in his hand,” Swann said. “He’s always practicing. He works way too hard to be off. He plays every game like it’s his last.”
Swann also played alongside his brother Jude, who finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks.
“Fans, coaches, refs really like our team because we’re unselfish,” head coach Ev Corwin said. “They’re a crew.”
Of Anderson, the coach recalls being wowed the first time he saw him play. The guard was in fifth grade and made a bounce pass that sent his jaw to the floor.
“I shouted, ‘Who’s that? He goes to Greenport, right?’” Corwin said as his eyes widened. “His mind is on another level. He’s made me a lot smarter over the last couple of years.”
By the end of the first half Anderson had already racked up 32 points, 18 off field goals.
“I don’t think he hit the rim in the first half,” his coach said. “He was locked in, and when he’s locked in, the other team should be scared.”
And it seems Southold was, as things only got easier for Greenport. The Settlers (11-8) were led by Nick Grathwohl’s 24 points. Steven Russell added nine.
“At first it was go for 40, and then it was go for 50,” Anderson said, laughing. “Our main focus was to stay poised, stay in the moment, not rush anything. We wanted to come out with a lot of intensity and make sure we handled business.”
It just so happened he had the hot hand, catapulting Greenport one step closer toward its goal of making it to the state finals. The Porters remember that long drive home after a 73-58 semifinal loss to Binghamton, and don’t want to feel that again.
“This one is special,” Anderson said, grinning from ear to ear. “But we’re trying to take things slow. We can check this box, and it’s on to the next one.”