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Big Apple Basketball HS Invitational Day Two

NEW YORK, NY - Day two of the Big Apple Basketball HS Invitational was the place to be on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday as there was a great day's worth of high school basketball action. Teams came from near and far to face off at Baruch College in what is routinely one of the top tournaments of the high school season.
There were a number of high quality contests, with a pair of NYC heavyweights meeting up in a PSAL vs. CHSAA showdown as Abraham Lincoln faced off with Cardinal Hayes in one of the top matchups of the day. Overall the day did not disappoint, so here now is a recap of the action from Monday in Manhattan.
Abraham Lincoln eclipses Cardinal Hayes, 55-52
It was a tight, closely contested game throughout, but shots at the end of each of the first three quarters by guard Tyler Bourne '18, including a 30 foot heave right before the half helped propel the Railsplitters to a 55-52 victory.
After playing Sunday night down in Washington D.C., Lincoln came back to play Cardinal Hayes on Monday afternoon at Baruch College as a part of the Big Apple Invitational, and the quick turnaround made things a bit tougher for the Railsplitters according to guard Jahlil Tripp '15.
"We were real sluggish in the first half. We got in about 1:30 in the morning, and we didn't have much time to rest, we had to get right back at it today," Tripp explained.
The sluggish start was evident early on as Hayes jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead, but back to back threes by Ezekiel Charles '15 and Donald Flores '17 brought them back even, and it looked like it would be a tie game after one, but Bourne knocked down a left wing three ball to give Lincoln a three point lead after one.
The 2nd saw Kashif Davis '15, a 6'9" big man for the Cardinals, take over. He was filling in for Ak Ojo '15 who was out of this game with a minor knee injury, and was having his way on the inside. Hayes took a 21-16 lead with just under a minute to play, but a Greg Poleon '15 bucket off a putback brought the deficit to just three, and then off a sloppy turnover with 5 seconds to go in the half, Bourne got the ball and put up a 30 footer that was nothing but net to send the game into the half all tied up at 21 apiece.
It was a huge momentum shift in the eyes of everyone one involved in the game. Lincoln head coach Kenny Pretlow said he understood how much it meant to his team to go into the half tied, and knew that once the ball got into the hands of his young playmaker Bourne, something good was going to happen.
"I don't know if anyone noticed, but when Tyler got the ball he looked up at the clock first, he knew he had enough time, so he took a couple dribble and pulled up and buried the shot," Pretlow said about the play right before the half. "That was big for us to look up at the scoreboard with how we were playing and see we were tied."
For Cardinals head coach Joe Lods though, it had almost the opposite effect. He was feeling comfortable with his team's strong defensive performance in the opening half, and felt that all that crumbled with how the final seconds played out.
"I sensed a shift in my blood pressure," Lods said in response to Bourne's made shot to end the half. "We said one shot, wanting to hold for one and go into the half with a lead against Lincoln, but we had a careless turnover and the kid hit a three from 30 feet. It certainly wasn't the highlight of my afternoon."
There was still 16 minutes of basketball to play though, and there was no time for anyone to get too high or too low based off of how the half ended. Tripp scored the first four points of the 3rd quarter as he connected on a short pull up jumper, and that was followed up by a driving layup down the left side.
Lincoln continued to hold onto the lead, and a big play, with the Railsplitters up 4 with 5:35 to go in the quarter was Davis picking up his fourth foul. He was having his best performance of the season to that point according to Lods, and him going to the bench in the mind of Pretlow was big.
"It was huge. He was playing great and us getting him in foul trouble was a big deal," Pretlow added.
Pretlow credited Davis having to go to the bench and the switch to a zone defense as keys to his teams improved 2nd half play. It allowed his squad to stop chasing the ball, and in a sense, save their legs for the big moments of the game.
Tripp agreed noting the zone helped the Railsplitters settle into their game, and Pretlow once again felt that the solid defense carried them until the offense got itself going.
"Our freshmen guards started to make, Jahlil got a couple buckets, and once our offense got going I knew we would be ok," Pretlow added.
They took that 4 point lead going into the 4th quarter, and started to pull away soon after. Bourne buried his third three of the game early on, and then P.J. Person '18 scored 6 points in a 2 minute stretch midway through the fourth, and it became a 48-38 lead for Lincoln with just 1:36 to go in the game.
Credit Cardinal Hayes though for never giving up. Clive Allen '16 buried a couple of big threes to cut the Lincoln lead to just 3 on a pair of occasions, but free throws late by Charles and Person both helped keep the Cardinals at bay. Baron Goodridge '16 knocked down a three at the end of game buzzer, but it wasn't enough as Lincoln was able to hold on for the 55-52 win.
It was a true team effort for Lincoln as Tripp and Person each led the way with 14 points each, while Bourne added 11, and Charles had 10.
Pretlow was nothing but proud of his teams showing on Monday as he felt they showed character and toughness in coming back from a suspect start to come back and grind out the victory, and it's a game that he felt proved a lot about what his team was made of.
"I said to them at halftime, we can say we played last night and got back late, or we can elevate our game and pick ourselves up, which we did. That showed a lot and made me happy," Pretlow admitted.
It was a disappointing loss for Cardinal Hayes who were led by the 13 points apiece from Davis and Goodridge. It may have been a loss, but Lods said after the game that he was mainly happy with what he saw noting that his team took on a challenge never backed down.
"We want to play the best teams and players. We don't want wins against inferior competition, we want to get worthwhile wins and that's what we were looking for today," Lods said. "We played one of the best in Lincoln and I felt we gave them a good fight."
It was a good fight, but it wasn't quite enough to get the victory as Lincoln went back to Coney Island with the win over a talented CHSAA power in Hayes.
A great win for sure, but they can't rest for too long as Lincoln are right back at it on Tuesday with a home game against South Shore before traveling to George Westinghouse on Thursday, making it 4 games in 5 days coming up for the Railsplitters, but Tripp isn't worried about, confident of how his team has played to this point, and confident of his team going forward.
"This just helps get us battle tested. We got two wins this weekend and now we are ready for the rest of the season."
Long Island Lutheran Swats Gill St. Bernard's (NJ), 57-46
Coming into Monday's game off a loss on Saturday to Linden of New Jersey, Long Island Lutheran were looking to rebound against a shorthanded Knights squad that is playing without star guard Tyus Battle '16 as he recovers from a stress fracture in his right foot that has caused him to miss the entire season to this point.
Regardless though, Gill St. Bernard's has a tremendous amount of talent, and initially the offensive sets that the Knights were running had the Crusaders taking a step back, but with a big 2nd half by Devonte Green '16 and company, LuHi was able to pull away and grab an impressive 11 point win.
The Crusaders were coming in off a loss to Linden on Saturday, and while it was disappointing, it didn't have LuHi head coach John Buck concerned about his team's effort. It certainly did though have his attention because of the overall performance that he felt he got from his squad.
"I was bewildered because it just looked like we hadn't practiced at all. It looked like we just came out and it was the first scrimmage of the year or something," Buck said about what he thought of his team on Saturday.
He added that it was the worst he felt his team had looked in a couple of years, but what he saw Monday was a resilient team who responded to adversity and grabbed a big win.
It didn't start off great as Buck said it looked like the Knights had his squad in a malaise in the first half as the tempo and game was played in the half court and the pace was slow. The Crusaders were up just 24-22 at the half, and while Green said that Buck was not upset at the team in the locker room at the half, he did say that he urged the team to pick up the pace.
"He said that we needed to attack the gaps more," Green said. "We needed to attack the basket because every time we did we were getting open looks."
That's exactly what they did to start the 2nd half, going on an 18-3 run to start the 3rd quarter to open up their biggest lead of the game, going up by 17 points midway through as Green started to connect from all over the floor, with Chris Atkinson '15 finding teammates running the break in transition, and Gill St. Bernard's just didn't have an answer.
The Knights never got the deficit to single digits the rest of the way, as the strong defense from LuHi caused Gill St. Bernard's to go just 4 of 22 from three point range, and they also kept star guard Adam Mitola '16 under wraps as he shot just 1 of 7, and scoring only 3 points as Long Island Lutheran cruised in the 4th for the 57-46 victory.
Green led the way with 20 points and 7 rebounds for LuHi, with Elijah Bailey '15 and Atkinson adding 12 and 11 respectively as well for the win.
The victory also marked the return of forward Marvin Prochet '15, who was returning from injury for the first time on Monday, and even though Buck pegged him at about 70%, he grabbed 8 big rebounds in what the coach called a tough and unselfish effort.
Harrison DeMaira '15 was the high man for Gill St. Bernard's with 14 points, but this was a fantastic all-around game from the Crusaders that has them back to where they want to be heading into the SNY Invitational which begins on Friday night.
Long Island Lutheran will open the 4 team tournament against the defending PSAL champions in Cardozo, and it's a game that Buck says he is already thinking about and excited for.
"We have a lot of good players as do Cardozo so it's going to be a lot of fun."
St. Raymond Beats Down Saint James (MD), 75-62
After sprinting out to a 38-33 lead at the half, the Ravens, behind the play of Cahiem Brown '16 and Isaiah Washington '17, went on a 10-0 early in the 3rd quarter to pull away and never look back en route to the convincing 13 point victory.
Brown led the way for St. Ray's with a team high 18 points, while Washington added 16 points and 6 assists, with Sid Wilson '17 also chipping in with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Virginia Tech bound Justin Robinson '15 was the game's high scorer as he poured in 19 points in the defeat for Saint James who after a solid 2nd quarter, just couldn't get anything going in the 3rd as the Ravens pulled away for the victory.
South Kent (CT) Over Genesis Academy (VA), 69-61
In the days lone prep school contest, stud sophomore Tremont Waters '17 had 24 points, 6 assists, and 5 steals to pace the Cardinals to the 8 point win.
Former Christ the King star Travis Atson '16 shined as well for South Kent in his New York City homecoming, as the wing had 21 points as well, including a pair of thunderous dunks that gave everyone in attendance a glimpse of how he has continued to develop as a player up at the Connecticut prep power.
Josh Hall '16 was the high man for Genesis as he had 24 points and 10 rebounds in a losing effort.