BROOKLYN, NY - Saturday marked the end of an era and the changing of the guard during the Rose Classic Senior NYC Spring 2014 Quarterfinals at JHS 113.
Eight teams competed for the right to advance Sunday's semis but one organization was left behind for the first time in nine years.
D1 Bound freezes out NYC Heat, 64-53
D1 Bound, a team filled with division I college bound players, jumped out in front in the first quarter as Sierra Calhoun and Lauren Brozoski tag teamed. Unfazed by their notoriety the perimeter shooting by Nani Redford kept the NYC Heat relevant and they remained within five points of their overloaded opponents in the opening quarter.
Jordan Agustus powered her way to the hole and closed the Heat's gap even further with 5:40 left in the second quarter. Redford soon tied the game at 18 and the NYC Heat took a 25-24 lead into the second half.
The third quarter would be the difference maker as D1 Bound lived up to their name. The Brozoski/Calhoun combo would spearhead the team surging ahead by 12 points heading into the fourth quarter. Aqustus cut lead to 51-48 with 2:10 left to play but another 13-5 run led by D1 bound's Aaliyah Huland-El (Randolph HS/2014) would close out the NYC Heat's season once and for all.
Huland-EL led D1 Bound with 21 with Brozoski adding 17 points and Calhoun, 14 points. Redford held it down for the NYC Heat with 17 points with Agustus contributing 13 points.
NJ Sparks Takeover Exodus NYC, 41-26
The NJ Sparks dominated the boards and the offense spearheaded by junior Samantha Fuehring. Leading 15-11 with 4:47, the Sparks increased their advantage with crisp ball movement. Sydney Zambrotta and Aryn McClure (Molloy) tried to make a dent in the NJ team's lead but with perimeter trey by 5'9" junior Caitlyn Roche (Immaculate Heart) and interior scoring by Taylor Byrne gave the NJ Sparks a 27-12 lead at the half.
Unable to create any team continuity, Exodus's deficit would continue to expand into the final quarter. The Sparks led by as many as 19 points and took a commanding 38-21 lead into the 4th. A lead that they would hold onto until time expired.
Roche was the high scorer for the NJ Sparks with 14 points followed by Byrne who contributed 9 points. McClure paced the younger Exodus team with 8 points.
Team Prince Elite lay waste to Riverside, 57-11
Team Prince Elite flew out the gate 14-zip and never looked back. The undersized Riverside team had no answer for 6'2 South Carolina-bound Brianna Fraser and her crew who led 21-2 after one quarter.
The devastation continued as the game became light work for Team Prince Elite. Up by 28 points midway through the quarter, they would take a 37-3 lead into the locker room at the midway point.
Exceedingly overmatched and in a 46 point black hole to start the fourth quarter, Riverside, who was clearly decimated by Team Prince Elite, was taken off life support by the refs who eventually invoked the mercy rule and stopped the match early.
Fraser paced Team Prince Elite with 11 points
Exodus Elite upset by New Heights in OT, 58-55
With the younger Exodus NYC team losing early in the day, it was assumed the Exodus Elite would advance to the championship round much less the semifinal round.
"They underestimated us. They thought the game was over," said New Heights head coach Chaz Williams. "Why shouldn't they? They have a bunch of great players but our will to win was stronger then there's today."
South Carolina commit Bianca Cuevas got the party started for Exodus Elite but New Heights responded. Exodus Elite, however, took it up a notch which translated into a 12-4 lead with 3:14 left in the warm-up quarter. With Cuevas running the point, Exodus Elite led 16-9 to start the second quarter.
Perimeter buckets by Angelique "Pika" Rodriguez (Capital Prep/2017) began to have an impact for New Heights along with their defensive pressure. With 4:30, New Heights was within three.
A technical foul on New Heights would shift the momentum and Exodus Elite took advantage, quickly bouncing their lead back up to ten. The perineal champs led 30-22 at the half.
New Heights, to their credit, kept their intensity up and made headway cutting their deficit to six. A trey by Rodriguez made it interested as Exodus only led 40-37 at the end of three.
Recent Georgetown commit Yazmine Belk stopped the bleeding for Exodus and a trifecta from Cuevas would extend their lead to eight with 4:30 left to play.
With 1:41 left to play, Mikaiya Moore (Copiague/2016) helped cut the lead to 47-45 and with 1:12 and New Heights briefly tied the game at 48. Cuevas would quickly realign the stars in Exodus Elite's favor giving them a two point lead. At her coach's urging, Skydajah Patterson (Bishop Loughlin/2016) would go strong to the hole, scoring and drawing a foul to tie the game once again at 50 with 6.3 seconds left to play. But she would miss the all important and-1 and the game would go into overtime.
Cuevas would put Exodus up three from the arc where they would remain with 1:37 left to play. Missed free-throws by New Heights would become their nemesis more than Exodus as they missed six in a row before hitting one with 36.8 seconds left in the first overtime.
Down by two, it appeared as if New Heights was digging themselves into a quarterfinal loss with poor free-throw shooting but with seconds remaining there would be a reversal of fortune. A long range bomb by Moore, plus an uncharacteristic turnover by Exodus Elite and a powerful move to the hole for a bucket by Patterson would put New Heights up by three and just like that, New Height pulled off a stunning upset as time ran out.
The quarterfinal loss would be the first time that an Exodus team was not present in the Rose Classic championship round since the inception of the tournament. "We just beat a great team. That's not [an] okie doke team," said Coach Williams. "All my [girls] are [only] 15s. A win like this helps their confidence. It helps their morale."
Moore led New Heights with 13 points with Patterson and Rodriguez adding 11 and 9 respectively. Cuevas scored a game high 26 points in her final Rose Classic performance.
Semifinals begin on Sunday at 10am at Junior HS 113