WHITE PLAINS — There is a difference between a “Most Outstanding Player” award and a “Most Valuable Player” award. The two are not one and the same.
More often than not, they would be awarded to the same person. But the fact is, they are not the same award.
If you want numbers, give it to the “Most Outstanding Player,” who filled up the stat sheet. But for the “Most Valuable Player,” just look at the name. It implies value to the team.
Lanay Rodney was the most outstanding player in Peekskill’s 56-40 win over Albertus Magnus in the girls championship game of the Slam Dunk Tournament at Westchester County Center on Friday. But she wasn’t the most valuable.
Albertus Magnus senior Kelly Guarino would take that honor.
After slicing her eyebrow (see below) with 3:39 left in the second quarter, her team trailing by two, she sat and was attended to by medical personnel. By the time the halftime horn sounded, the Falcons were down by eight.
Guarino returned in the second half, donning a new jersey and a bandaged forehead — but the same demeanor. She fouled out with more than two minutes left in the game, and it became evident just how valuable she is.
“Kelly knows one way — she goes all-out. It’s a pleasure to watch,” Falcons coach Pat Buckley said. “She’s a basketball player. She’s going to be out there, and she’s not going to second-guess herself.”
Of course, Peekskill was outstanding. That cannot be overlooked.
Rodney led a fourth-quarter charge that gave the reigning Class A sectional champs a lead that could not be matched by the team against which the Red Devils had won that title.
Upon receiving the silver-ball trophy, Rodney was already thinking ahead — way ahead, to the postseason.
“Next is to get a gold ball, then win states,” said the sophomore, who finished with 20 points, five rebounds and five steals.
“She says it all the time: ‘These are my rims,’” Peekskill coach Rodney Headley Jr. said. “The reality is, when we play in big games, she shows up.”
All photos from this game were taken by Peter Carr of The Journal News. Click here to view Peter’s entire photo gallery. Below is his video recap of the game: