BRONX, NY - On Thursday there was possibly a preview of the upcoming PSAL season as players from Cardozo HS in Queens, NY and Boys & Girls HS in Brooklyn, NY went at it for the SMARTBall Metro Classic Championship in the Gauchos Gym.
After an intense upstream battle, the defending champion Boys & Girls team would prevail, 68-55, by implementing their patented vice grip.
"I think I'm having a flashback," said Cardozo Judges head coach Ron Naclerio before the game. Naclerio, who is 'passionate' about winning, agonizingly watched assistant coach Mike Blissett coach his players while he was the sidelines.
Two years ago, the Boys & Girls Kangaroos took down the Cardozo Judges to win the PSAL championship. Here again were players from each school looking to serve advanced pre-season notice.
Boys High went on the attack early, going up 4-zip at the seven minute mark. Dozo would respond with a 6-1 run capped off by a dunk from Jermaine Lawrence which catapulted the Queens team to a 6-5 advantage.
Both teams raised their magnitude and with 4:16 left in the quarter, the game was tied. Lawrence and Ta'Jay Henry (10 points & 7 rebounds) would tag team late and Cardozo was ahead, 16-12 as the first quarter ended.
Rasheed Robinson (15 points, 2 rebounds & 1 steal) would drop two treys to extend Cardozo's lead to 10 points. Boys & Girls impressive 6'5" freshman wing Marvin Proclet (11 points, 2 rebounds & 1 block) finally ended drought and PG Bryce Jones (7 points) put "The High" up by a point with 2:41 remaining to halftime. The lead was brief as Omar Williams (9 points) and Lawrence put Dozo ahead, 33-30, going into the third quarter.
Unlike Wings in the semis, who double teamed Lawrence, Boys & Girls assigned freshman Jamie Killings (2 points) with the task of holding the talented wing in check. Lawrence and Henry, however, continued to dominate the boards and struck first after 1:30 had elapsed in the third quarter.
Leroy "Truck" Fludd would awaken in the third and with 4 minutes remaining, tied the game at 37. The game would be tied twice more before Fludd would drain the 3-ball from the top of the key. It looked as if Dozo would have their first lead at the end of a quarter but a defensive stop by Lawrence and a basket by Elijah McNeely (2 points) would once again leave Boys & Girls behind the eight ball, 45-44.
An emphatic dunk by Fludd in transition would put Boys High ahead at the top of the fourth and combo guard Wesley Myers (9 points) would extend their lead.
With 5:35 left in regulation, Boys & Girls was still up by 4 points but started to apply their signature pressure defense and pressure can bust pipes. Dozo's piped burst wide open as guards Dykweil Bryan (2 points) and Jones racked up points off turnovers.
With 4:31, Cardozo was in an 11 point hole as fans started to chant "Boys High! Boys High!" A slight lapse by Boys & Girls as they engaged the audience and observed their handy-work allowed Williams and Henry sneak up and cut the lead in half. Boys & Girls, coached by Kangaroos assistant coach Elmer Anderson immediately snapped his team out of it during a time out. Missed free-throws by Dozo along with another trifecta by Fludd late in the game would help push the Boy & Girls lead back to 13 points as time expired.
Coach Anderson said that the game proved that his players will be more than ready come regular season, even though they are young. "I was able to put three freshmen in the game late. Jamie Killings, Armando Dunn (2 points) and Marvin Proclet," he said.
Fludd was awarded the MVP with his 23 points of offense while Lawrence received the Sportsmanship trophy with 11 rebounds and 8 blocks. "It felt like another Boys & Girls championship," said Fludd with a smile.
Click Here to view this Link.