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St. Anthony’s High School

Saint Anthony's High School in South Huntington. Photo from Google Maps.

A student of St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington was killed in a car crash this weekend, according to school officials.

Anthony Pagano, senior at Saint Anthony’s High School. Photo from Facebook.

Brother Gary Cregan, principal of St. Anthony’s High School, announced that senior Anthony Pagano was involved in a serious car crash this weekend. Details of the accident were not immediately made available. Pagano played on the Friars’ varsity baseball team in spring 2017.

“Death is never easy, but the death of a young person is particularly heartbreaking and difficult to accept,” Cregan wrote in his message. “As Roman Catholics, we must rely on our faith to give us strength in the face of tragedy, and to help us understand why a young man on the verge of adulthood would be taken from us far too soon.”

The principal offered his condolences to the family, noting Pagano’s brother, Joseph, is a sophomore at St. Anthony’s.

Visitation hours will be held Feb. 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.; and on Feb. 22, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at M.A. Connell Funeral Home located at 934 New York Ave. in Huntington. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Feb 23 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Elizabeth’s Church, 175 Wolf Hill Road in Melville. Interment will follow at Locust Valley Cemetery in Locust Valley.

Cheick Diallo addresses the crowd after being selected by the Los Angeles Clippers. Photo from Sara Stelzer

By Clayton Collier

The NBA was a dream worth the wait for Cheick Diallo; even if it meant waiting a little longer than anticipated.

Diallo, at 6 feet, 9 inches, 220 pounds, widely expected to be a late first-round pick, was selected 33rd overall by the Los Angeles Clippers. The 19-year-old forward’s draft rights were acquired by the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for the 39th and 40th overall picks. A 2-for-1 is a hefty price to pay in any exchange, but Pelicans general manager Dell Demps knew they had to get Diallo.

“You talk to people and say, ‘Is he a good kid?’” Demps said. “And they say, ‘No, No.  He’s a great kid. He’s a phenomenal kid.’  In our interview process with him, when he walked out of the room, everybody just thought, wow.  We all said, ‘Did you hear that?  Did you listen to this guy? You want to root for him.’”

Cheick Diallo blocks a shot for the University of Kansas. Photo from Sara Stelzer
Cheick Diallo blocks a shot for the University of Kansas. Photo by Jeff Jacobsen

Demps said that first phone call with Diallo was one to remember.

“We talked to him on the phone, and he was so fired up and we were so fired up,” he said. “We were sitting there screaming and yelling on the phone.”

Rev. Ronald Stelzer, head basketball coach at Our Savior New American School, Diallo’s high school in Centereach, made a point to be at the Barclays Center to see his star pupil get selected.

“I was so happy to see how he reacted when he got picked,” Stelzer said “He was really excited and happy; beaming. Sometimes kids get picked a little later than expected and they get all mopey. Cheick had this child-like exuberance to have this chance to play in the NBA now.”

Diallo goes to New Orleans following his freshman year at the University of Kansas, where he averaged 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 7.5 minutes per game, while also amassing 0.85 blocks per game, ranking 12th in the Big 12.

“I was surprised Cheick didn’t go in the first round based on preliminary reports I got,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said in a release. “The big thing is he was able to go 33rd and that will hopefully put him in a position to sign and get a guaranteed contract.”

Minimal collegiate playing time aside, Diallo was a highly sought after talent out of high school. The 2015 McDonald’s All-American picked up offers from the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Syracuse University and Villanova University, among others, before eventually deciding on Kansas.

A native of Kayes, Mali in Africa, Diallo came to Our Savior New American as a 15-year-old freshman. It wasn’t until a few years later that Stelzer said his coaching staff began to see professional-level talent out of Diallo.

“By his junior year, we knew he had something really special,” he said. “We have a lot of kids who have had talent, but he had a little extra athleticism. Combine that with an extremely hard worker, and he just launched.”

 Cheick Diallo during his high school years with Our Savior New American head coach Rev. Ronald Stelzer. Photo from Sara Stelzer
Cheick Diallo during his high school years with Our Savior New American head coach Rev. Ronald Stelzer. Photo from Sara Stelzer

Diallo’s former college rival, Buddy Hield, also went to the Pelicans with the sixth overall pick. The reigning John R. Wooden Award winner now joins a rotation that will include Diallo and All-Star big man Anthony Davis.

“That mix of speed and athleticism and power is a great combination,” Stelzer said. “It’s the kind of situation where [Cheick] could make an immediate impact.”

Stelzer said his assistant coaches and Diallo’s host family were essential in getting Diallo from high school onto the next stage.

“We’ve been blessed, and we have a lot of people who have contributed in a team effort to make it possible,” he said. “I wish him the best. It was a pleasure to coach him; he’s a fine young man.”

Huntington Manor Fire Department battle the blaze. Photo by Steve Silverman
Firefighters inspect the pickup truck after the fire is put out. Photo by Steve Silverman.
Firefighters inspect the pickup truck after the fire is put out. Photo by Steve Silverman.

By Victoria Espinoza

A Ford pickup truck parked in the St. Anthony’s High School parking lot in Huntington went up in flames on Monday night just before 1:30 a.m.

The Huntington Manor Fire Department responded with two trucks to the scene on Pidgeon Hill Road on June 6, and extinguished the fire under the command of 2nd Assistant Chief Jon Hoffmann.

The pickup truck was parked near school buses, but no other vehicles were damaged.

There were no injuries reported.