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August 18, 2014

Conrad McRae Quarterfinal Action

BROOKLYN, NY -The playoffs at the Conrad McRae Youth League continued on Sunday with the boys quarterfinals, and with many big names in attendance, it was a strong day of action from Dean Street Park.

Each of the four games had physicality, intensity, competitiveness, and a desire to win for each team. It was a fine day of action, and with the semifinals now set, here is a look back at the quarterfinal action from Sunday.

George Westinghouse Knocks Off Bishop Loughlin, 58-56

This was the game that wasn't supposed to be. Both teams were lower seeds on Saturday, and pulled off upsets to get to Sunday for the right to play in the semifinals next weekend. The Lions got off to a strong start with excellent play once against from Keith Williams '17, but it was the balanced attack of the Warriors that helped them fight out of a 10 point 4th quarter hole to take the win.

Of all the games played on the boy's side on Sunday, this battle of Brooklyn proved to be the one that went down to the wire and could've gone either way. In the early going it was Williams who once again showed his athleticism from the perimeter to get free and stick the jump shot to put Loughlin on top. Mike Burnett '17 was also feeling it from the inside early on for the Lions, as Westinghouse struggled to find an offensive rhythm, and Loughlin was up 12-6 after 1.

Malick Riley '16, an athletic combo guard, gave the Warriors the energy they were missing early on, and his ability to hit going to the rim, showing fearlessness along with a good burst started to give Westinghouse a chance. He scored on a layup cutting down the lane off of a nice pass from Gerald Williams '16, and then followed that with a steal in the backcourt, and then went at two defenders for the tough bucket.

The Warriors got within 3 late in the half, but Williams once again made a big play, forcing a turnover and hitting a long two at the buzzer to give Loughlin a 28-23 lead going into the half.

The 3rd quarter was a back and forth affair with Jaheem Page '15 showing off his versatility for Westinghouse, scoring in a variety of ways, but Khalil Muhammed '15 was shifty in the lane, and finished a pair of buckets for Loughlin in transition to see the lead for them be maintained going into the 4th up 40-35.

A surprise player for the Lions in the 4th was improved big man Josh Primus '15 who finished a runner in the lane off an entry pass from Muhammed. Loughlin seemed to be grabbing control, with Wiliams stepping up as well scoring 6 points during a 90 second stretch, to see the Lions lead grow to 47-37 with 6:05 left in the game.

The other Williams in this contest, the one on Westinghouse's side, started to take over with the encouragement if the coaching staff as he was able to spin in the lane on two straight possessions, which culminated a 10-0 Westinghouse run to tie the game up at 47.

Williams for Loughlin would subsequently come down on the other end and crossover his defender and finish in the lane while being fouled with 2:40 to go. He hit the FT and it was 50-47 for Loughlin, and that is truly where the fun began.

Westinghouse, with Riley scoring 5 points during the next 2:27 went on a 8-0 run to see them grab their first lead of the game, going up 55-50, and it seemed after coming out slowly, that the Warriors were going to pick up the win, but Williams came down for Loughlin and pulled up and hit on a three from the left wing to make it 55-53.

Page was fouled immediately, and hit would hit a pair of FT's for Westinghouse to go back up four, but Loughlin immediately came down the floor and nailed another three. It was once again a 1 point game, with the Warriors up 57-56 with 3.7 seconds to go. Once again, Loughlin fouled. Riley went to the line this time and he went 1 of 2 to give Loughlin one last shot. They were able to get a good look with Primus feeding it out to Donovan Dunham '15, but hit halfcourt heave was just short, and it was George Westinghouse who pulled out the hard fought 58-56 victory.

Page led the Warriors with 18 points, but it was a balanced effort with Riley adding 17 and Williams chipping in 16 to help Westinghouse advance to next weekend's semifinals.

In defeat, Williams showed his performance against Cardozo on Saturday was no fluke as he tallied a game high 31 points to once again show the CHSAA that he will be a major force this coming season.

Team Conrad Manhandles Abraham Lincoln, 71-55

The Railsplitters have a lot of talent as they reload and look to wreak havoc on the PSAL this season, but even with former Railsplitters Lance Stephenson (NBA) and Isaiah Whitehead (Seton Hall) looking on, Team Conrad, a group of top level players from around NYC, proved to be too much as Conrad pulled away after a tight first quarter to claim the victory.

It was 12-10 after one and with Damarri Moore '16 having a number of explosive dunks, it looked like Lincoln was going to be in this game and have a chance to really show that they can compete with anyone put in front of them, but the 2nd quarter was just too much of Unique McLean (MacDuffie School, MA '16) and Isaiah Gurley (Believe Prep, SC '15) as the duo got out in transition and pushed the tempo, getting out on a 15-2 run to open the game up. The shooting of Deondre Bourne (Leman Prep '17) certainly helped stretch the defense as well as Conrad went up 36-21 at the half.

Bourne knocked down two more threes in the third, and 6'10" Nick Richards (St. Mary's '17) was a defensive force as he blocked numerous shots in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, really hindering the efforts of P.J. Person '17 and the other Lincoln guards to do much going at the basket.

Lincoln was able to cut the deficit to 9 a couple times midway through the 4th, with Person really taking his game to another level, rising above elite level talents and finishing in the open court with relative ease. Gurley though went on to pour in 11 4th quarter points to put an exclamation point on this one as Team Conrad advanced, sending home the Railsplitters by a 71-55 score.

Gurley led Conrad with 19 points, while Richards and McLean each added 13 in the win. Person was the lone Lincoln player in double figures finishing the game with 15 points, while Moore started strong, and finished with 9.

Thomas Jefferson Drowns Bedford Academy, 62-52

This was a physical game to say the lead with both teams committing numerous hard fouls and being very aggressive around the rim attacking the basket, and on the glass with putbacks, but even though it wasn't their greatest performance, the Orange Wave did enough to hang on and take down their Brooklyn rivals, 62-52.

Jefferson got out to a strong 8-0 start with Davere Creighton '15 utilizing his strength in the post to finish backing in, but once Bedford got their feet under them, and started pushing back and showing they weren't afraid of their "AA" opponents, you could see it was going to be a dogfight.

Ian Roach '15 was the first one to take it down the lane on the Jefferson defense, and he was followed by Anthony Gibbs '16 and Anthony Munson '16 as the sophomore guards were able to push the pace and really throw a the a Orange Wave off of their rhythm in the 2nd quarter. Shamorie Ponds '16 wasn't able to get off his shot as much in the 2nd, and a once 10 point lead was down to just 34-28 at the half for Thomas Jefferson.

Ponds and Curtis Smith '16 were starting to find their range in the 3rd, and along with the play of Rasheem Dunn '16, they were beating Bedford up the floor, and the lead grew to 47-34 for the Orange Wave, grabbing control of the game for good late in the 3rd.

Roach played well in the 4th, using his elusiveness to get into lanes and create for teammates on the outside, but Creighton was too strong inside, and Ponds scored 8 4th quarter points, as even a late Bedford run couldn't get them close enough with top seeded Thomas Jefferson moving through with the 10 point win.

Creighton led the way for Jefferson with 14 points, while Ponds and Dunn each had 12 to help the Orange Wave move into the semifinals. Roach played like a breakout star to watch out for this season, finishing with a game high 20 points, with Munson chipping in with 12 as well in defeat.

The Patrick School (NJ) Clips Wings Academy 55-45

The final game of the day ended in near darkness, and after seeing Wings take a 25-20 lead at the half, The Patrick School started the 2nd half on a 11-0 run as they never trailed again the rest of the game, and even though a Desure Buie '15 did all he could to get Wings in. A position to win the game, they couldn't get over the jump late as the Celtics pulled away late for the win.

Buie seemed to bring his big time game with him to this one, knowing that he had to have a five star performance, he was able to attack on the highly recruited young Patrick guards, scoring 10 points in the 2nd quartet to see them grab a 5 point lead.

Wild shots though and a pressure defense from the Celtics saw the momentum shift in the 3rd quarter as Jamir Harris '17 stuck a couple of long jumpers, and without the services of Jessie Govan '15 once again, Wings lacked the interior presence needed to control and contain Cyril Langevine '16 and Brandon Hampton '17 in the paint as they willed their ways to easy baskets inside as the Patrick School lead was 38-33 after three.

Wings cut the lead to 3 on a number of occasions, with Buie and Randy Corporan '15 able to do good things on the outside as they both used their quickness to free themselves for good looks, and Fakaba Cisse '15 gave them strong play and solid points when they needed an extra scorer, but when they had the chance to tie the game in the final 2 minutes, Buie and Corporan each missed threes, and the Celtics, behind the shooting of Harris and Marcus McCleary '17, went 8 of 8 from the FT line down the stretch as they were able to pull away late for the 55-45 victory.

Harris paced The Patrick School with 20 points in the win, while McCleary and Hampton added 16 and 11 respectively in the win. Buie, who played so well on Saturday in the win over Boys and Girls, continued that strong play into this one, almost willing the team to the win, pouring in 24 points in the loss. Corporan also was strong and finished with 16 as well.

It was an excellent day of action and the semifinals next Saturday look to be as compelling, with a pair of high level contests on tap with the winners advancing to Championship Sunday.

Next Saturday's Conrad McRae Youth League Semifinals :

  • Thomas Jefferson vs. Team Conrad- 4:30pm
  • The Patrick School (NJ) vs. George Westinghouse- 5:30pm

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