NEW YORK, NY - There were some pretty good individual performances in the PSAL "AA" Championship game at Madison Square Garden. There was no doubt that both teams left their hearts on the court. The top two seeds in the 2011-12 playoffs, Jefferson and Boys & Girls, were both worthy of being champions based on the year each team had. Except that in competition, there can only be one.
Jefferson was making their first appearance in the chip in recent years, while Boys & Girls was the team with experience. Obviously, they were the two time defending champs. When the clock ran out, it was experience that came out on top. The game went down to the last few seconds, and behind a scintillating 26 points from Rashad Andrews, Boys & Girls came away with a 71-67 victory and the PSAL Championship, the third one in a row.
Andrews started out a little slow, missing his first two shots, committing a foul and a turnover during the games opening minutes. But with Boys High trailing 9-3, he made his first three pointer of the game. Andrews was ignited and remained hot all game long, making all 5 of his shots from behind the arc. The only thing that slowed Andrews down all game long was foul trouble. He picked up his second in the 2nd quarter and sat for almost half the period.
He eventually fouled out with 3:22 left in the game, but Andrews made a huge impact when he was on the floor. He was 7 for 10 from the field and 7 for 8 from the charity stripe. When Andrews picked up his fifth foul, he felt bad that he had to take a seat on the bench.
"It hurt me so much inside. I wanted to be on that court so bad, but I supported my teammates in the huddle and told them to bring it home," Andrews said after the game.
Boys & Girls senior forward Leroy "Truck" Fludd didn't have a very efficient game, but he was one of the Kangaroos who kept it up when Andrews sat down. Fludd found a way to grind out 17 points and 12 rebounds in the game. He took 23 shots in the game, but he has been leading Boys the entire season. Roos Head coach Ruth Lovelace referred to Fludd as the PSAL player of the year in the press conference after the game. Lovelace said she made Fludd the leader of the team at the beginning of the season. Fludd has been on each of the three Kangaroos championship teams and has always played an important role. Fludd explained why he accepted the role of leader this year.
"It wasn't a choice, I had to. I was a senior that played, I was a veteran. I had to take charge" Fludd said.
Tyliek Kimbrough was once the starter this season, but after being ineligible for a few games, Kimbrough has been coming off the bench. Kimbrough was extremely tough in the game, not scoring from the field but getting all his points from the charity stripe, Kimbrough went 9 of 12 from the line. He also played a key role in controlling the ball for Boys.
Jefferson never fell behind by more than a few possessions in the game, but they never could closer than two. They did that throughout the second half, but it was like they kept hitting an invisible ceiling. Boys just kept making plays at the right time to stop Jefferson from gaining enough momentum to take the lead. Also, they only shot 54% from the free throw line. ON the contrary, the Kangaroos were pretty good from the line, making 27 out of 36.
Thaddeus Hall, Jefferson's talented 6-5 senior guard, never became dangerous during the game. He played well, but he didn't have the powerful impact that he usually haves on games. Hall didn't shoot well from three, knocking down the first one he took, but missing the next five. Hall picked up two fouls in the first half and sat a long time because of it. Hall picked up a quick charge foul in the first minute of the third quarter, but that didn't stop Hall from playing aggressively. Despite the foul trouble he finished with 17 points on 50% shooting. Hall eventually did foul out with minimal time left.
Junior guard Jaquan Lynch hit a three pointer with 0:31 seconds left to make it 68-65 because the Orange Wave isn't the type of team to make it easy. Lynch was the Orange Wave's high scorer with 18 points. However, Kimbrough was fouled and split a pair of free throws to make it a two possession game. It was just a matter of time running off the clock.
When the buzzer sounded, Boys & Girls had earned their three-peat. This was a very good season and the outcome couldn't have been any better. Boy's gets their third title in a row, something that Lincoln made a habit out of in the previous decade. Lincoln didn't get here this season, but Boys did.
Does that make them a dynasty?
Coach Lovelace smiled, looked at the room full of media types, and answered the question with a simple statement.
"I'll let you guys decide that."
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