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October 31, 2013
BAYSIDE, NY - As the only game in town now, the Beacon 158 Back-to-School Classic had a packed crowd on Wednesday, in anticipation of 4 high level games, and that's exactly what everyone got.
Each game was tight and close down the stretch, as the 8 teams fought for 4 semifinal berths. Here are recaps from Wednesday's quarterfinal action.
Molloy Deconstructs H.S. of Construction, 62-53
On the day point guard C.J. Davis committed to Columbia, the 6'0" guard came out and paced the Stanners late to the tough 9 point win.
Gabe Kilpatrick came out and nailed a three pointer from the right side to start the game for the Stanners, as he and a pair of pull up jumpers from Davis helped Molloy get up 13-9 out of the gate.
Construction came right back though, as guards Justin Wright-Foreman and Marlon Alcindor attacked the basket and scored on nice floaters, and big man Justyn Gardner did a very nice job in the paint, as the biggest man on the floor, he controlling the glass, and was instrumental in a Red Hawks 9-0 to put them on top for the first time in the game with 6:25 to go in the opening half.
While Construction was focusing in on Davis on the perimeter, secondary players were stepping up for Molloy late in the half. Aaron Walker, a good looking young guard, buried a three with a defender flying at him to tie the game with 4:55 left in the half, and Dante Warren nailed a three ball of his own, as the Stanners were getting offense from all over the court which helped them take a 29-25 lead at the half.
Molloy increased the lead in the early stages of the 2nd half, with Jason Cethoute scoring on a short hook in the paint, and then heading out in transition and scoring over Alcindor off a beautiful feed from Davis. Wright-Foreman was the only Red Hawks giving a consistent offensive scoring punch, and because of that, Cethoute and company were able to pull away a bit, going up 52-43 with 4:03 to go in the game.
With the reality of being eliminated staring them in the face, Construction awoke from their offensive doldrums and Gardner scored on a nice finish around the rim while getting fouled, and then Wright-Foreman scored on a slash down the left wing, and then a steal in the backcourt led to an easy basket, and a 7-0 run in under 2 minutes got them back within 2 at 52-50', and it was anyone's game.
Molloy picked up their intensity though and started to go to the rim, instead of settling for perimeter jumpers like they had been for the few minutes before. Warren and Davis each were clutch from the line late, and while Construction had their chances, they missed key free throws down the stretch that.
In the closing minute, Molloy went 6 for 6 from the FT line to seal it, as they ended up holding off a very tough H.S. of Construction team, which will do very well in their first season in the PSAL Queens "AA", 62-53.
Davis and Cethoute each had 14 for Molloy to lead the way for the winners, with Walker and Warren each adding 9.
Construction was led by Wright-Foreman's game high 26 points in defeat.
Long Island Lutheran Bullies Boys & Girls, 43-30
In what was a highly anticipated game, with Marvin Prochet of LuHi facing his old team for the first time since this summer's transfer. It was a tight one throughout, but the Crusaders were able to close out the game strong for the win.
LuHi's defense in the first half was about as good as you will find. Even without the services of Chris Atkinson, who was out with a sprained ankle, and Tim Quashie who got hurt in the opening minute of the game and did not return, the perimeter defense was excellent, not letting the Boys guards attack the basket, and even when they did get in the lane, Robyn Missa was a major factor at adjusting the shots.
Prochet had a nice opening 20 minutes, scoring 7 points, while also blocking a shot in transition that led an easy Crusaders basket. If not for the play of PG Gianni Ford, who had 10 first half points, Boys and Girls would've been in much bigger trouble, but they stayed in the game even though they struggled mightily on offense, trailing just 22-12 at the half.
It was the start if the 2nd half that saw the Kangaroos come out with renewed enthusiasm that propelled them back into the game. Ford stole a pass at midcourt and took it in for a deuce, then Jamie Killings was able to find room to operate on the inside, doing a good job creating space, and getting good clean finishes in the paint, as well as getting some 2nd chance opportunities, which were nonexistent in the 1st half.
Ford continued his solid play, and the increased on ball pressure led to LuHi turnovers, and Boys took advantage to the tune of an 11-0 run in the first 7 minutes if the second half to take a 23-22 lead.
Elijah Bailey put a stop to the Kangaroos run when he put back his own miss on the inside, but from that moment on. It was a back and forth slugfest, with hardnosed defense, and physical play in the paint dominating the play.
Boys and Girls took a 27-26 lead with 7:25 to play when David Francis scored on a runner in the lane, and the Kangaroos had a chance to extend the lead when Billy Clark stepped to the FT line for a 1 and 1, but he missed the front end, and on the other end Chris Burkley scored on a cutting layup off a beautiful feed from Missa in the post.
That seemed to be the start if a momentum shift. LuHi held a slim 29-28 lead at the 2 minute mark, and the crucial play of the game followed soon after as the Kangaroos defense collapsed on Prochet off a miss, but he kicked the ball out to a wide open Burkley, who nailed a three from the wing to open up a 4 point lead. From that point on it seemed like all the air came out of Boys and Girls balloon.
Lutheran was able to push the ball off of Boys and Girls missed after that, and Keanu Clarke was beneficiary of transition baskets, as LuHi went on a 15-1 run in the final 2 minutes of the game to eventually pull away and take the 13 point win.
Prochet led Long Island Lutheran with 13 points, while Bailey and Clarke had 11 and 10 each respectively for the Crusaders.
Boys and Girls was paced in the loss by Ford's game high 14 points.
John Bowne Goes Down to Cardozo "A", 71-65
An extremely tight game if you look at the final score, but do not be fooled. Cardozo was in control for the whole game, and was up by 30 with 13 minutes to play, but the fact that the Judges sat their stars for much of the 2nd half, to keep them fresh for Thursday's semifinals almost came back to bite them, as the Wildcats never quit and brought it 100% until the very end.
The first half belonged to Rashond "Ray" Salnave for Cardozo. The highly regarded sophomore for the Judges was nearly unstoppable scoring 24 points in the opening 20 minutes, including 6 threes, showing off incredible range, along with a fantastic ability to get into the lane and kick the ball to open teammates, displaying great court vision.
Cardozo was up 47-21 at the half, as it was also the Judges defense that shined, with Jaquan McKennon and Kristian Mondesir creating havoc on the perimeter, while Carl Balthazar and Armando Dunn did a solid job on the glass.
The score got as wide as 58-28 with 13:15 to go when Judges coach Billy Medley took out the starting five and gave the bench a chance to shine. The issue was John Bowne wasn't about to roll over and give up, and Hamidou Diallo started hitting bombs from long range. Nailing three after three, and Cardozo struggled to just get the ball across half court on some possessions.
The lead for Cardozo got down to just 8 with 2 minutes to go when Medley put the starters back in, and a big slash to the bucket by Salnave seemed to halt the Wildcats momentum, and even after another Diallo three at the buzzer to end the game, the Judges still held on for the 6 point victory.
Salnave had 28 points to lead Cardozo, 24 of which came in the 1st half. McKennon had 14, while Mondesir added 12 for the Judges.
Diallo poured in 25 to lead John Bowne, with 20 of his 25 coming during the 2nd half comeback. O'Shayne Reid, a tough and physical presence on the inside for Bowne added 18 for the Wildcats as well in the loss.
Wings Academy Runs Down Holy Cross, 57-45
Holy Cross got off to a very good start, with Marshall Louis and Jermaine Bishop carrying the scoring load early on, and after Jamel Horton hit a corner three, the Knights were up 23-16 late in the opening half, in what looked like it might be the big upset of the quarterfinals.
Wings though applied more ball pressure late in the half, and Foday Sankaray did a good job separating himself from defenders, and scoring, showing good touch on his midrange jumper. Holy Cross still led 23-21 at the half, but the closing couple minutes gave Wings something to build on for the last 20 minutes.
Corey Piercer got it going to start the 2nd half with a soft runner off the glass, and then a Desure Buie jumper gave Wings the lead with 17:04 to go, and they never looked back.
The pressure on the young Knights guards became too much to handle, as Buie was able to get his hands on passes, which intimately led to easy baskets for Wings, and when Wings did run sets in the half court, Buie was able to get free off screens, and get great looks, squaring up and knocking down 3 straight buckets, as Wings took a double digit lead for the first time in the game at 47-37 with 6 minutes to play.
The Knights never quit, but Louis was struggling to find his shot, with everything falling short, and with Bishop being doubled and made to give up the ball, Holy Cross' scoring options were very limited. Christian Wilson used his length and athleticism to fight his way down the lane on a couple instances, but it side of that, and a couple of late Bishop threes, Wings did an impressive job of keeping Holy Cross out of their offensive rhythm.
Buie was on his game from the perimeter for the entire second half, and with very good performances from Sankaray and Pierce, Wings was able to pull away for the comfortable 12 point win.
Buie led Wings with a game high 19 points for Wings, while Pierce added 13 of his own in the victory.
Bishop and Louis each had 18 in the loss for the Knights.
The Beacon 158 Back-to-School Classic continues on Thursday with the semifinals. Long Island Lutheran will face off with Cardozo "A" in the first semi which is set to tip at 6:15pm, while Molloy will face Holy Cross (instead of Wings Academy who dropped out) in the 2nd semifinal, scheduled for 7:15pm.
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