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John Moriello's NYSSWA blog

Posted Sunday, January 11, 2009 by John Moriello - NYSSWA
Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009: Pearl River soph Houston shows grace under pressure

   Leading off today: You can just go ahead and cancel the rest of the high school sports year. We have our winner for the most inspiring performance of the year, an exhibition of grace under pressure that's likely to go unmatched for quite some time.

   Luke Houston's 13-point performance Thursday in Pearl River's overtime victory was about much more than basketball. The sophomore guard, the son of a legendary player, drained his first three shots -- two of them from beyond the arc -- while making his first varsity start mere hours after the burial of his mother, Liz, who died last weekend at the age of 44 from complications of scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune illness.

   Luke's dad, Kevin -- an NCAA Division I scoring champion in 1987 while at West Point -- and uncle, Jerry Jr., played for Pearl River, and Jerry Jr. is now the varsity coach (assisted by his father). Liz cheered there in her younger days and witnessed dozens if not hundreds of games in the Pearl River gym.

   With one game already having been postponed last week, Pearl River turned down an offer from Hastings coach Dennis Hurley to reschedule Thursday's game. It turned out to be a great decision for reasons beyond the 69-66 final score.

   Michael Kay gave it an extensive mention Friday on his ESPN radio show, and The Journal News' Bob Baird recounted the performance this morning.

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