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December 6, 2013

Rematch: Kangaroos vs. Lions

BROOKLYN, NY - One of the hot teams to like this year are the Brooklyn Collegiate Lions. They have a lot of talent, but the question is, would the individual talent translate to on court success.

They had a chance to prove themselves immediately as they started the season on Thursday evening on the road versus Boys and Girls. Last year, the Kangaroos beat up the Lions to start the season, and the one thing Brooklyn Collegiate wanted more than anything else was revenge.

With the Kangaroos having beaten the Lions 79-44 to start the season last year, the importance of this game took on an even great meaning according to 6'3" junior guard Jahlil Tripp.

"They punched us in the face last year. They smacked us around, so we wanted to come back and make them feel how we felt," Tripp said.

Brooklyn Collegiate head coach Jake Edwards said he didn't need to motivate his players, because they already had something to prove, and that showed on the court, as they got the revenge the Lions so wanted, taking down Boys & Girls, on the road, 83-70.

The Lions got off to a quick start with 6'4" junior wing Davere Creighton scoring on a beautiful baseline drive. Another 6'4" junior, Craig McKenzie, scored on a very nice inbounds pass, which was a lob from 5'9" junior guard Cheyenne Nettleton. It was all Lions in the early going, and when Tripp scored off a nice feed on a fastbreak from Creighton it was 16-4 Brooklyn Collegiate with 2:52 to go in the 1st quarter, and according to Edwards, the quick start was imperative to his squad's success.

"The start was really important for our confidence. Getting off to a fast start really set the tone for us, and even more importantly, it took away their confidence, and took the crowd out of the game," Edwards said.

Jamie Killings, a 6'4" forward for Boys & Girls tried to stem the tide scoring on back to back possessions on short jumpers late in the quarter, but Brooklyn Collegiate was dominate on the glass, and were able to push the tempo to get out to a 24-11 lead after 1.

The 2nd quarter saw the Kangaroos start to apply extra on ball pressure, and because of that, the Lions seemed to rush things. They took quick shots, and were not making the extra pass like in the opening 8 minutes. 6'1" sophomore point guard Gianni Ford was able to attack the lane for Boys as well, and the Kangaroos cut the deficit to just 28-26 with 3:17 in the half. Edwards at that point called a timeout, and tried to settle things down, imploring his guys to get back to playing team basketball.

"We stopped playing together at that point. We got a big lead, and we got greedy. I told the guys to get back to sharing the ball and playing together," Edwards said about the talk during the timeout.

After the timeout that's exactly what they did. Creighton scored on a transition lay up down the right side, and then off a turnover Tripp went down the lane and threw down a major one handed dunk. It was an important part of the game as Brooklyn Collegiate got back to their stingy defensive play, and effective full court offense, and they finished the half on a 9-1 run to go up 37-27 at the break.

The Lions came out and continued to dictate play. A Tripp alley oop dunk from Nettleton seemed to punctuate how the game was going for Boys and Girls, and the B.C. lead was bumped up to its biggest of the game, 56-37 with 2:55 to go in the quarter.

Killings was not letting Boys and Girls out of the game though, and he finished the 3rd strong, scoring 6 late point, showing a good finishing touch with both hands in the pain, but Brooklyn Collegiate was still up 62-45 after 3.

The Kangaroos brought on three point specialist, junior Darryl Williams, to start the 4th, and he sent home Boys and Girls' first three's of the game, and he was able to help Boys cut the B.C. lead with 6 minutes left to 64-55, but Nettleton connected on a big straightaway three ball, which really seemed like a backbreaker.

Boys and Girls, to their credit, never gave up, but McKenzie banged in a corner three of his own, and then he went baseline scoring on a reverse baseline drive to make it 78-63 with 1:47 to go, which seemed to be the cherry on top in this one. Williams hit one more three late, but Brooklyn Collegiate got the revenge they wanted, and made a statement in the process, securing the 83-70 victory.

Creighton led Brooklyn Collegiate with 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists, while Tripp had 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists of his own, proving to be a dynamic duo for the Lions in this one, and going forward.

Killings led all scorers with 22 points and 8 rebounds for Boys and Girls, with Williams adding 11, all of which came in the 4th quarter.

Revenge was certainly sweet for Brooklyn Collegiate in the end, but the statement they made in the win was something Tripp felt was even bigger.

"No one gave us a chance going into the game. People just remembered what happened last year, so hopefully this is a message of how good we are this year," Tripp said after the win.

Creighton took it a step further saying that this win is just the start of what he believes is going to be a very big season for the Lions.

"If we don't get to the Garden this season, then to us, the season will be a failure," Creighton said.

He then finished by sending out a warning sign for the team most consider the best in the PSAL.

"It was important to make the statement we did to the PSAL and to Brooklyn. Lincoln better watch out."

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