“I didn’t even know the scoreboard went that high,” St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School Principal Leeann Graziose remarked when she saw that the SEAS team had surged ahead of Holy Families of Hicksville by 2 points to win one thriller of a basketball game on Jan. 24.
A single player — 14-year-old Anthony Follet, of Bellmore — was responsible for 98 of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s points — a school record.
SEAS had fallen behind in the Catholic school matchup, but Anthony just kept scoring — and scoring.
In all, he has netted 499 points in his 11 games this season, an average of 45.4 per game — the highest on the team. Although he brings star power to SEAS, Anthony and his family said, he stays humble. “Just playing the game makes me happy,” he said. “I’m just happy we won.”
“He’s compassionate,” said his mother, Jill. “He’s not a ball hog. He actually passes the ball. There’s a beautiful rapport.”
SEAS is a regional Catholic school that educates more than 300 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and sits beside St. Barnabas Church, just south of Bellmore Village.
For Anthony, being a team player is what basketball is all about. During a practice on Monday, he was courteous to his teammates, sharing the ball and participating in drills.
He still has fun, though. During almost every lull in the practice, he jumped and slapped the Thomas Reynolds Gymnasium’s backboards. “The kids have more fun as a result,” said coach Glenn O’Kane. “It takes some of the pressure off them.”
From a young age, Anthony gravitated to basketball, his mother said. “He has a real perception of the court,” she said.
Anthony joined a youth basketball league in third grade and fell in love with the game. In addition to SEAS, Anthony also now plays with the Heat Elite, a local team that he has been with for two years.
For O’Kane, there is one example that stands out in his mind to show that Anthony is indeed a team player. “One of the things I loved seeing was when Anthony passed the ball to a kid who hadn’t scored this season,” O’Kane said. “He scored, and that was the only basket that player made this season.”
Anthony’s reaction was just as important, though. “Anthony was as excited as the player, if not more,” O’Kane said. “You should’ve seen the look on his face — he was genuinely excited he made a basket.”
“He brings a positive energy to the court,” Graziose said. “He plays well, but he shares the court with others, and in turn is helping others do better.”
O’Kane and Anthony’s mother have noticed the team accept Anthony as well. He joined the squad in eighth grade — the last year that he could before high school. “He’s new to the school this year, but they welcomed him with open arms and embraced him,” his mother said.
O’Kane said he noticed a chemistry on the team, with the students quickly becoming friends. “We’ve come so far,” he said. “He leaves a positive impression on them.”
“It’s great to watch improvement in the individual players,” O’Kane added.