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August 25, 2013
BROOKLYN, NY - D1 Bound coach Mike Toro explained the meaning of the teams name is that all his kids are D1 Bound, he added that D1 Bound players also never quit when the going gets tough.
That rang true during Sunday's Conrad McRae Girls championship game, as D1 was down double digits for a large part of the game, but behind the backs of Sierra Calhoun (Christ the King '14) and Kiah Gillespie (Capital Prep, CT '15), Toro's squad was able to fight back late and take the title 59-56 over The Lady Bulls.
Behind the strong starts of Georgia Tech bound Zaire O'Neil (Shabazz, NJ '14) and Joella Gibson (Bergtraum '14) the Lady Bulls pushed out in front early. They were controlling the glass, and pushing the tempo, getting it in the open floor and beating D1 Bound in transition. D1 struggled from the perimeter, focusing on making shots instead of attacking the basket. The Lady Bulls tools advantage and went up 8 after 1.
The Bulls went up as many as 12 in the 2nd and it could've been worse if not for the play of Gillespie would at 6'1" was a hard worker inside, yet she was confident enough to push the ball up the floor and go coast to coast for buckets. Jordan Augustus (St. Mary's '15) had 6 in the 2nd as well for the Lady Bulls as they continued to dictate the pace of play and take a 35-28 lead into the break.
O'Neil dominated the 3rd quarter, really emphasizing her size and strength advantage in the paint, scoring 8 in the quarter, and also doing a nice job of passing out of the post, and finding open shooters on the wings. Toro's D1 Bound group looked lost heading into the 4th, down 51-36, and seemingly losing any type of offensively cohesion they had.
It didn't come all right away in the 4th for D1 Bound, but thru chipped away slowly but surely at the lead. Gillespie connected on back to back buckets in the inside off of steals, really firing up their offense. Steals and turnovers were the main key in the 4th. The Lady Bulls seemed to become too complacent on the lead they had, and D1 Bound picked up the pressure in the backcourt, and the combo of Calhoun and Alliya Butts (Holy Cross, NJ '14) were relentless in getting steak after steal, and soon, the double digit lead that the Lady Bulls had was completely gone when Mekeda Nichols (North Babylon, '14) hit on a pair of FT's with 22 seconds to play. It was D1 Bound's 1st lead. They didn't stop the pressure, and another bad pass led to a turnover with 8 seconds to go. 2 more FT's sealed it, and D1 Bound outscored The Lady Bulls 23-5 in the 4th to pull off the improbable comeback, taking the title 59-56.
Gillespie led D1 Bound with 18 points, while Calhoun, who received the League MVP award, added 17 in the title game for D1. In defeat O'Neil led The Lady Bulls with 16.
After the win, Toro, who is taking over as the new coach at Medgar Evers H.S., said that he was not shocked by the comeback.
"Absolutely not," Toro said in regards to if he was surprised at his teams resiliency. "All these girls are big time players. I never doubted them once. It was a hard fought game, the kids came together, and we won."
New York NEWS