The playoffs of the Beacon M.S. 158 Back-to-School Basketball Tournament kicked-off at the Queens, NY middle school Monday night.
The evening's spectators enjoyed three contests in the first round of the one-and-done playoffs. All of the nightcaps began with teams neck-and-neck, but, in the end, revealed which team could bend with the breeze and which would break under pressure.
Let's take a look at the first two games of the night.
Cardozo High School B v. St. Mary's (52-45, 'Dozo)
The game stayed quite close for the stretch of regulation time. In this high-energy and intense contest, Cardozo saw major contributions from Dwayne Brunson, who netted a game-high 18 points in the first match-up of the evening. Both squads executed strong defensive sets, making it difficult to go on an effective run.
St. Mary's kept the margins within three and four often throughout the contest, but couldn't stifle Cardozo when it began to pull away. Ultimately, Cardozo edged St. Mary's 52-45. Along with Brunson, Cardozo-B also saw some contributions from Shelton Mickell (13 points) and Terrence Carter (nine points).
Beacon v. Q.H.S.T. (56-44, Beacon)
In yet another close match-up that looked as if it would be a photo-finish, Beacon and Q.H.S.T. battled on both sides of the hardwood- for buckets and boards- to surge ahead. However, everything was knotted at 25 by the break.
At times, both squads seemed to let the fast pace of the game control their momentum. And, players ended up just trying to score baskets without any proper consideration for how to set up and execute plays. As a result, the flow of the contest became irregular and each team was plagued with turnovers and no substantial runs.
But, the tide changed late in the second half. In the final 6:05 of regulation, Beacon went on a monstrous 18-3 run to close out the game in its favor. Beacon began to warm up after a few buckets by Trevor Stark, making the score 42-41. The game had taken on its last and final lead change of the contest, as the thrashing continued with rain from the wing and a few inside jobs by Beacon.
Stark led Beacon with a game-high 20 points, while teammate Steph Metard netted 12 points in the contest.