WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino honored the county’s three state championship teams with a ceremony at the Westchester County Center on Monday afternoon.
Astorino told anecdotes about each team and then presented proclamations to the coaches. The county executive used to broadcast games from the County Center, so the basketball tradition in Westchester has always been close to him.
Monday’s ceremony was as much a treat for him as it was for the players.
“This is so cool and I was so proud of all three schools…It’s just an amazing accomplishment and they’re just great kids,” Astorino said. “And you can tell that here today.”
The Mount Vernon Knights, Tuckahoe Tigers and Irvington Lady Bulldogs were all honored for their victories in their respective state championship games. Each coach stepped up to the podium to offer words about their teams and congratulate all in attendance.
Astorino said he rooted for the three teams and followed their paths to the titles closely. The ceremony was a chance for him to bear witness to their successes.
“I wish I could take credit for it,” Astorino said. “But it’s fun to witness it and be a part of it in some small way when they are here…To see three of them come out as state champions, and Iona Prep, by the way, we were all thrilled.”
Mount Vernon Coach Bob Cimmino joked that it was a relief to step into the County Center without having to worry about winning a game.
When the Knights presented Astorino with an autographed basketball, the executive said with a chuckle that he would hold onto the ball in case any of the Knights make it to the NBA.
But between the laughs, the honorees appreciated the applause and praise from the county and from each other. The ceremony brought on a flood of emotions for Tuckahoe’s Sky Williams.
“It was nice coming back here after playing here a long time. I wish we could play here again,” Williams said. “It was cool getting back with the team and the county honoring this for us. It was just a good thing.”
Like Cimmino, Williams was glad that he could come into the County Center and not have to worry about hitting a game-winning shot.
“It feels kind of good. It’s relaxing,” Williams said. “But I’ll give anything to play back here again. My whole team, it was a wonderful season we had. I’m going to miss it. I know.”
When Tuckahoe received its proclamation, Williams envisioned the past and future.
“(I) kind of (had) flashbacks against Pine Plains, Haldane and other teams,” Williams said. “We had good times. It was a good season. I love everybody on the team. That’s it, man. Just got to move on now.”