BRONX, NY - If you beat the number one team, does that make you number one?
That was the question that could be asked after Boys & Girls followed an overtime victory over South Shore by knocking off the top team in the City. Boys traveled to The Bronx to face Cardinal Hayes, the second number one team they have faced this season. And just like the first number one team, Cardinal Hayes didn't have enough and Boys left The Bronx with a 63-61 victory.
Boys was led by a trio of players when it came to putting points on the board. Seniors Leroy "Truck" Fludd and Joel Angus each had 16 points and tied for the team high in scoring, with both players hitting big baskets all game. Plus, they had to deal with Cardinal Hayes big men Jalen Jenkins and Amadou Sidibe.
Jenkins stands 6-7, while Sidibe is listed at 6-8. They each had a couple of inches on Fludd and Angus, who both measure out at 6-5. In this case, size didn't matter as the two Boys High players basically dominated the game.
Fludd did his usual body of work, playing big inside by controlling the boards when he could by grabbing 12 rebounds. He was matched up mostly against Jenkins, while Angus was left to guard Sidibe. He did a good job of it all night by fronting the taller player every time.
Boys head coach Ruth Lovelace said that Angus had to make an adjustment and learn how to play Kangaroo basketball. Angus transferred from Bishop Loughlin this year and in order to stay on the court, Lovelace said he had to get "tougher".
Angus said that he never was soft, but he definitely had to adjust to playing in the PSAL after playing the rest of his high school career in the CHSAA. He agreed that it was tougher because it was a different style of play, definitely a faster pace than the catholic league.
Angus, who added 11 boards, was asked after the game what was different playing in Brooklyn AA.
"It's tough, gritty, and every night you're playing against somebody that's not going to back down [from] you," Angus said.
The game was a snooze fest early on because both teams played outstanding defense and didn't allow the other any easy baskets. The score at the end of the first quarter was 9-7 in favor of Boys. It remained tight until halftime with Boys still leading 21-20.
The second half started out the same way, but this time the teams finally started to put the ball through the hoop. The lead changed a couple of times, but Boys actually started to put their stamp on the game. Down 31-28 with 2:56 left in the game, junior guard Wes Myers scored on a runner, and senior guard Bryce Jones drained a deep three from the right elbow to give Boys the lead. Fludd ended a 9-0 run by posting up in the paint and scoring a lay-up.
It looked like the game was over after Myers made two free throws with 3:35 left in the game. The free throws had given the Kangaroos a 10 point lead when Myers impersonated a defensive back and stole the inbounds pass and made the easy lay-up. Hayes tried to bring the ball up the court and this time Myers did it again by jumping in the passing lane and starting a fast break that finished with a baseline jumper by Fludd. Myers finished with 15 points and had a number of steals in the contest.
The score was 57-41 and it looked like it was over. However, Hayes showed why they were ranked so high and fought their way back behind the efforts of sophomore guard Shavar Newkirk, who scored a game high 24 points. Hayes went on a 14-1 run with Newkirk scoring 10 of those points. Newkirk was tough going to the basket, finishing two old fashioned three point plays in the process. After a steal and another lay-up by Newkirk, the score was 58-55 with a minute left in the game.
Things looked shaky and Hayes had all the momentum, but Fludd finally allowed Boys to catch their breath when Boys caused a turnover and Fludd was able to get out and dunk the ball ahead of everyone else. The basket gave his team confidence and they were able to hold off Hayes the rest of the way despite massive problems with ball control.
How did Angus feel about Boys ability to hold off Hayes at the end?
"We showed a lot of toughness by holding the lead, but we got to do a better job of sustaining out lead and taking care of the ball," Angus said.
So, does knocking off the number one team make you the new number one team? Fludd thinks his team should be number one, but he doesn't necessarily think they are already there.
"We should be" Fludd said after the game. "But we got to work harder. If we win these two games, we should be the number one team in the city"
The two games Fludd was talking about are Jefferson and Lincoln. That will be a big test for Boys, but they have been up to the test lately.
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