BROOKLYN, NY - It was a wacky day at the Conrad McRae Youth League on Saturday. It was semifinal day at Dean Street in Brooklyn for both the boys and the girls, but because of forfeits and rain that caused the action to stop for 2 hours, only two games ending up being played.
Here is a recap of the games that were played on Saturday with the winners advancing one step closer to a title.
Thomas Jefferson Smacks Team Conrad, 69-49
While a week ago this game could've been considered a tossup, Team Conrad, who beat Lincoln handily in the quarterfinals, were without their two key players in Unique McLean (MacDuffie School, MA '16) who was a no show, and Isaiah Gurley (George Westinghouse '14) who committed and signed with Canisius this week after originally committing to do a year of prep school at Believe Prep in South Carolina, and those losses proved to make a big difference.
Without those two the Team Conrad offensive firepower seemed limited, and Jefferson, the Brooklyn "AA" power, got off to a quick start with guard Shamorie Ponds '16 and forward Davere Creighton '15 each scoring five points apiece as the Orange Wave applied a full court press that threw off Team Conrad so much that they had to call 3 first quarter timeouts. Even with the timeouts, Conrad was down 19-6 after 1 and in a massive hole against a smart and aggressive Jefferson team.
Conrad seemed to right the ship early in the 2nd quarter breaking the press with a bit more ease, and Deondre Bourne (Leman Prep '17) was able to get good looks at the rim from the outside, as he helped cut the deficit to 7, but Malachi Faison '17 was a surprise star for the Orange Wave, holding his own on the glass against such players for Conrad as Nick Richards (St. Mary's '17) and scoring on 3 putbacks in the quarter as late in the half Jefferson opened the lead back up on the heels of a 8-0 to make it 34-20 in favor of the Orange Wave at the half.
Ponds really put his stamp on the game in the 3rd as the sweet shooting lefty showed the ability to drive the lane and finish strong with is right hand against contact inside. He scored 12 in the quarter and punctuated his play with a turnaround fall away jumper from the right elbow that really showed his overall impressive offensive skill set. Devin Dingle (Bishop Loughlin '15) was a bright spot in the 3rd for Team Conrad, but each time they seemed to be making a move, it was either Ponds with a move to the rim or Faison putting back 2nd chances.
In the 4th, Jefferson started the quartet by scoring the first 6 points to seemingly put the game out of reach. Bourne came back and knocked down a long three to cut the deficit to 15 in the 4th, but that was the closest that Team Conrad got, and with Ponds once again getting to the rim, and Jefferson as a team overall able to finish with ease, it was the PSAL power that advanced to Sunday's boys title game with a comfortable 20 point win.
Ponds had a game high 30 points in a dominant overall performance, while Faison, who played JV basketball last season, scored 17 for Jefferson and could be an important piece of the Orange Wave frontcourt this season.
In the loss Bourne led Team Conrad with 15 points, with Dingle adding 12 as well.
Thomas Jefferson will square off with George Westinghouse on Sunday at Dean Street Park in Brooklyn for the Conrad McRae Youth League Championship. Westinghouse won their semifinal by forfeit as their opponents, The Patrick School of New Jersey, failed to show up.