SOUTH JAMAICA, NY - The iS8/Nike Fall Tip-Off Classic is in the middle of its schedule, with about two more weeks remaining in league action before the playoffs begin.
In the midst of it all, teams are attempting to secure spots in the one-and-done postseason by putting in the work now.
On Saturday, the whole-hearted effort of teams vying for a victory was not enough to take down strong squads with players that are both talented and skilled in the hardwood grind. Let's take a look at some of the recaps from the day.
NEW HEIGHTS (SENIORS) BUMP PTP ELITE, 68-47
Although New Heights (Seniors) held the early 11-4 advantage, the Bronx, N.Y. based team started off a little slow-moving. PTP Elite was able to play good defense on New Heights in the game's early goings in order to prevent second-chance points under the rim. However, PTP Elite could not capitalize on its own offensive possessions.
A few minutes before the close of the first quarter, PTP Elite was able to narrow the margin to only three points, 15-12, by making simple easy plays. Still, New Heights surged ahead after buckets by Bashir Ahmed (John F. Kennedy High School (N.Y.) '14) and Dayton-commit Dayshon Smith (Putnam Science Academy (Conn.) '13) elevated their squad by 11 points, 23-12.
That lead reached as high as 16 points, 28-12, as the New Heights surge continued into the second quarter. Because PTP's guards lacked strong enough ball-handling skills to penetrate to the basket or even quickly get to the halfcourt following New Heights' makes and misses, PTP oftentimes turned the ball over. This led to an exponential rise in New Heights' advantage.
New Heights led by 23 points, 43-20, at halftime.
In the second half, New Heights' Monmouth-commit Josh James (Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) '13) helped maintain and extend his team's substantial lead to 26 points, 52-26. Then, PTP sunk deeper into a lull, simply trading basket-for-basket with New Heights and not getting any defensive stops.
PTP Elite's 6-foot-8 Luke Petrasek (Northport High School (N.Y.) '13) attempted to keep his team above water with a 3-pointer and a few midrange jumpers. However, even with Petrasek's hot hands, PTP Elite was too far into a hole to recover in the remaining minutes.
New Heights' Smith and Ahmed recorded a team-high 15 points apiece. Teammate James scored nine points (all netted in the second half). Meanwhile, PTP Elite's Petrasek had a game-high 17 points in the loss, while teammates T.J. Danns (Hicksville High School (N.Y.) '13) and Mike Mulligan (St. Dominic High School (N.Y.) '13) each posted 10 points.
NEW RENS (KAREEM) DOWN NIA PREP, 68-57
New Rens(Kareem) and NIA Prep (N.J.) seemed to be keeping pace with one another in the first quarter, even when the New Rens took a 15-11 lead before the close of the period. Still, the Rens quickly pulled away from the competition, extending their lead to nine points, 24-15, on a 2-of-2 performance from the stripe by Mustapha Heron (Wilbraham & Munson Academy (Mass.) '16) in the second quarter.
Rens' Marquise Moore (St. Thomas More (Conn.) '13) was very active on both ends of the floor, clamping down on opponents defensively, while staying fluid on the offensive end. The athletic Moore and teammate, frontline player, UConn-bound Kentan Facey (Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.) '13), aided their squad in sealing up extra possessions.
In fact, the Rens held a 12-point advantage at halftime, 31-19.
In the second half, the New Rens held a lead of as much as 16 points, 60-44, on a bucket by Cheyenne Nettleton (Holy Cross High School (N.Y.) '15) with about three minutes remaining in the game. Nettleton, who went scoreless in the first half, helped his squad maintain its advantage over the competition, getting heavily involved in the latter stanza on both ends of the floor.
The New Rens' Moore finished with a game-high 21 points, while teammate Facey added 15 points. Teammates Nettleton and Heron posted 13 and 12 points, respectively. NIA Prep's Ervin Mitchell (2013) and Terry Taylor (2013) netted a team-high 12 points, while teammate Steffon Poole (2013) chipped in 11 points.
IN OTHER ACTION...
New Heights (Seniors) defeated the Gauchos by a convincing margin, 75-45. New Heights' Josh James, who nailed some jumpers and got into gaps to score at the rack, finished with a game-high 17 points. James was complemented by Joel Angus and Rhode Island-commit Hassan Martin (Curtis High School (N.Y.) '13), who scored 10 points apiece. Gauchos' Diamonte Zarba recorded a team-high 13 points in the loss.
2 The Rack shut down Brooklyn Badgers (2), 59-44. By halftime, 2 The Rack had already stifled the competition to a point where they were leading their opponent by 15 points, 28-13. The 2 The Rack squad saw major contributions from Elijah Boone (Bishop Loughlin High School (N.Y.) '14), who netted 13 points in the win. Teammates Nosike Obanya (Thomas Edison High School (N.Y.) '13) and Dupree McBrayer (Springfield High School (N.Y.) '14) added 10 and nine points, respectively.
Ben Gordon All-Stars, which contains players from Mount Vernon High School (N.Y.), ran through Impact, which comprises players from Campus Magnet (N.Y.), 67-34. As always, Ben Gordon was tough to match, and proved too much for Impact to handle. The Mount Vernon, N.Y. squad defensively prevented Impact from both staging runs and developing any kind of effective momentum. On the offensive end, Ben Gordon capitalized on most of its trips down the court in both transition and in the halfcourt. Ben Gordon's Jamal Lewis (2013) netted 16 points in the win, while teammates Yanni Bartley (2014) and Brandon Martin (2014) chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively. For Impact, Nohah Vickers (2014) led his squad with 16 points in the loss.
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