The final game of Wednesday evening's Beacon M.S. 158 Back-to-School Tournament playoffs featured Positive Direction against Cardozo H.S.(B) team.
In what would be a barnburner from start to finish, a last minute lay-up would be the deciding factor giving the Dozo squad an exciting, 48-47 victory to move onward.
An evenly matched rivalry at the onset, the score remained tight until the Cardozo Judges claimed the emotional advantage early as Ryan Rhoomes (14 points) controlled the offense. Jilted by a 10-2 run and seemingly unable to find the bottom of the rim, Positive Direction was hard pressed to live up to their name.
That is until Ernest Rouse (8 points), from Molloy HS, finally warmed up from the perimeter as Positive Direction slowly crept back into the game. With Roland Brown (6 points) now beginning to impose his will on the boards and a PD fullcourt press, the Cardozo lead was soon history as Justin Kirkland (2 points) scored in transition. The momentum and the lead swung in a 'Positive Direction' with 6 minutes left in the half and Cardozo would find themselves down, 30-21, going into the second half.
If the game's outcome were determined by fan support, PD would be the odds on favorite but the game is played on the court, not in the stands. Unfortunately for Cardozo, the AAU squad was, at the moment, as hyped as their fans. A Rouse 3-pointer followed by a transition bucket by Maurice Barrow (8 points) soon pushed the PD lead to 16 points early in the half.
The basket was closed for Cardozo's business as Positive Direction's defense smothered the Judges but Shelton Mickell finally made a sale, swishing a jumper with 14 minutes left in the game. Suddenly, Cardozo was making inroads as Rhoomes cut the PD lead to 8 points going 2-2 from the freethrow line.
Barrow's began to carry his team as Positive Direction fought hard to maintain their lead. Cardozo, conversely, sought to recover as Rhoomes began to score downlow. With 4:28 left, the PD lead was only 1 point as Cardozo's big man was beginning to close the show and the deficit. A mid-range by Mickell and the Judges had regained the lead.
With 2:12 left to play, the shoe was still on the other foot as PD was in the hole by 2 points and fighting to stay in the race.
Down by 1 with 37.4 seconds left in regulation and their fans urging them on vehemently, Brown would nail a 10-footer to give PD a 1 point advantage and what appeared to be the win but Terrell Hunt (2 points) would score a lay-up in transition at the buzzer, quickly silencing the crowd, as Cardozo snatched the victory from the claws of defeat.
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