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August 25, 2013
BROOKLYN, NY - The Conrad McRae Youth League Boys championship pitted a pair of PSAL Brooklyn "AA" teams against each other, with South Shore meeting Thomas Jefferson for it all.
After a tight first half, it was the veteran experience of the Vikings that helped them pull away and take down a young, but extremely talented Orange Wave team, 66-59, for the title.
The first half was exactly what you would expect between two tough Brooklyn teams. It was physical, hardnosed, and tough. Guys were being sent into the cage, elbows were being thrown, and it was truly what you would expect from these two in January or February.
After struggling in the quarters and semis on Saturday, Patrick "Stink" Brown, was carrying Jefferson in the early going. While the youth of Jefferson, who have maybe not experienced this type of physicality before, Brown came out ready. He attacked time after time, and was able to finish strong against the bigs of South Shore. Ryan Preston for the Vikings though came back and once again was blocking many shots that came inside on him. He had 4 blocks in the opening quarter, along with a monster one handed jam that had the crowd buzzing. Brown's 7 in the first though helped Jefferson take a 12-11 lead.
A nice treat for South Shore in the 2nd was the buckets being put in by Shakur Spencer. While known more for his tough aggressive defense, he was an offensive weapon in this one, showing a nice burst to the rim, including a very nice baseline drive that gave the Vikings a 20-17 lead late in the half. There wasn't a ton of offense in this one at this point, with the players from both sides attempting to get to the rim with regularity, but with the physical play inside, it wasn't that easy. Shamorie Ponds, stepped up and hit a big late 3 from the Orange Wave, and the teams went into the half even at 22.
Both teams started to find more of an offensive rhythm in the 3rd with Ponds more consistently finding his range, hitting on a pair of threes early in the quarter, and Doudmy Saint Hilaire was also coming more alive, going by defenders and finishing using both hands. The turning point not only of the quarter, but of the game may have come with a minute left in the period. Devyn Wilson had the ball on the left wing, and he crossed over his defender and went in for a show stopping one handed throw down. That seemed to really pump the crowd alive, as well at the South Shore players, as they went into the 4th with their biggest lead of the game to this point, 44-37.
The interior play seemed to be wearing down Jefferson as well. Preston was able to get better positions in the paint, and Donnell Clayton was also finding life easier inside, either by attacking the rim and scoring coast to coast, or by a pair of put backs off misses. Clayton was a real key difference maker in the 4th, scoring 8 points in the critical period. Brown did all he could for the Orange Wave scoring 10 in the last quarter, but when Wilson had his 2nd monster dunk of the game with 1:15 to go in the game, it seemed to be the end. It put South Shore up 66-53. The Orange Wave to their credit did not quit and scored the final 6 points of the game, but it was too little, too late as South Shore took the Conrad McRae title over their Brooklyn rivals, Thomas Jefferson, 66-59.
South Shore had four players in double figures with Wilson leading the way with 22 for the winner. Spencer had 12, with Preston and Clayton adding 11 and 10 as well.
For Jefferson, Brown led all scorers with a game high 24 in defeat, while Ponds chipped in with 12.
It was a great day for South Shore, their players, and coaching staff. Head coach for the tournament, Shawn "Smoke" Mark, who had coached many of these players on his JV championship squad two seasons ago, felt a lot of pride and happiness for a group he feels very close to.
"A lot of these guys were with me on that squad 2 years ago, and not only that, but I've been coaching a bunch since they were in 6th grade, so it's a great feeling to see them all playing H.S. basketball together," Mark said.
Mark also said that while South Shore has lost a lot of talent from last season, to not count them out with what is in the building now.
"It's been great with what we have had, but I feel in the past 3 years we have done a great job in getting guys in the building, and the work we have done is showing on the court now, and I'm confident there is more to come."
New York NEWS