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iS8/Nike Quarterfinal Recaps

SOUTH RICHMOND HILL, NY- Quarterfinal Day at the iS8 Spring Classic took place on Sunday at the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens with each of the matchups presenting interesting and intriguing storylines.

Would the top four seeds who had byes into the quarterfinals make their ways into the semifinals or would upsets take place to shake things up? Many of the area’s top stars were in attendance meaning it would be a star studded day of play on Sunday, and with on hand throughout let's now recap the action from the tournament that always encourages players to bring their game and not their name.

Above and Beyond bankrupts Road to Riches, 96 – 86 in OT

Matthue Cotton & Sam Sessoms
Matthue Cotton & Sam Sessoms (M. Libert)

For most of the opening half in this one it was a back and forth affair as Matthue Cotton (Eastern, NJ '18) was able to get loose on the wings for several early treys for Above and Beyond, but the duo of Dashawn Davis (Our Savior Lutheran '19) and Anthony Nelson (South Kent, CT '18) were able to stem the tide with their ability to slash into driving lanes and consistently finish around the rim.

Davis would score 7 straight in the 2nd quarter to help push Road to Riches to the lead, but Sam Sessoms (Shipley, PA '18) was able to connect on a runner shortly after to put Above and Beyond back in front. They maintained and grew on their lead, though a Jaylen Murray (Cardinal Hayes '20) three just before the halftime buzzer cut the Road to Riches deficit to just 43-40 at the break.

It looked as if Above and Beyond had taken full control of the game at the start of the 3rd as they scored the first 8 points of the period, punctuated by a throw down in transition by Ray Bethea (Atlantic City, NJ '18) off a beautiful no look feed from Sessoms.

Going to the 4th it was a 67-60 lead and it seemed as if the game was a formality as the offensive rhythm of Road to Riches had slowed down considerably. Davis though wasn't going to go away lying down though as he would send in his first triple of the game early in the final stanza, and then hit Nelson on a two on one break to get within 73-72 with 3:44 to play.

The defensive intensity of Road to Riches stepped up as well as they were doing their best to deny Sessoms the ball, and after a bad pass it was a Davis layup in the open court to give them their first lead of the second half with just over 3 minutes to go.

In the closing minutes of regulation, it was a back and forth battle between Davis and Sessoms with neither letting up in hopes of carrying their team to a victory, but with the game tied at 81 in the closing seconds, both teams missing shots that could've won the game and sent the final game of the day into OT.

While Road to Riches did a good job late in the 4th of containing Sessoms, the Binghamton commit couldn't be stopped in the OT as he scored the first 9 points himself in the extra session to singlehandedly give Above and Beyond a 90-81 lead. Road to Riches would fight back with Nelson hitting on a three from the wing but with Above and Beyond holding onto the ball and making FT's late they were able to hang on and take the 96-86 victory.

Sessoms was the man of the game as he had 38 points for the winner, 18 of which came in the 4th quarter and OT. Cotton, who is heading to Yale next year, would add 19 points as well for the victors.

Doing all he could to try and carry his team to the win, the Seton Hall bound Nelson had 29 points, with Davis chipping in with 20 points in the defeat.

Sean Bell All-Stars eliminate Team Long Island, 76 - 69

Cliff Omoruyi & Quaran McPherson
Cliff Omoruyi & Quaran McPherson (M. Libert)

When you looked at the rosters of the two teams before the game and saw 3 kids heading to Division 1 schools in the fall with another 4 holding offers as underclassmen for Sean Bell, and then just 1 Division 1 player for Team Long Island you had to figure this could've possibly been a one-sided contest.

That proved to be far from the case though as Savion Lewis (Half Hollow Hills East '18) did all he could to carry Team Long Island, only to fall a little bit short against Javonte Smart (Scotlandville Magnet, LA '18), Frankie Policelli (Long Island Lutheran '18), and Moussa Cisse (Christ the King '21) and their Sean Bell All-Stars team.

For the first 4 minutes of this game everything was going Sean Bell's way as they fed the paint against the undersized Team Long Island and scored the first 12 to take a quick 12-0 lead.

Quaran McPherson (Christ the King '20) was the man doing most of the damage at the start as he was the one who took advantage of the kick outs from Cisse and Policelli hitting on 9 in the first quarter as Sean Bell held a commanding lead.

Smart was the one who did most of the 2nd quarter damage for the Sean Bell All-Stars as the Louisiana product who is off to LSU next year was able to spot up and drain 3 threes’ in the period to keep the lead in check. Tyler Small (Holy Trinity '18) was finding more room to produce in transition though for Team Long Island, and with Alex Sobel (Ward Melville '18) able to hold his own inside as the half went on, it was still a game at 43-32 going into halftime.

Taking momentum into halftime, Team Long Island kept it going as even though it was a slow start to the game for the soon to be Quinnipiac guard in Lewis he began to find a good pace at the start of the 3rd, getting his team within 46-42 after a slash and finish around a pair of big interior defenders.

Cisse would break the run with a slam on a put back of a Policelli miss, and then it was the Dayton commit in Policelli who put back Smart's miss to get the lead back to a comfortable margin again. It was an 8-point lead for the Sean Bell All-Stars going to the 4th, but with Lewis only scoring 12 it was a matter of waiting for the potent scoring guard to explode.

That explosion came early and often in the 4th as Lewis would score 19 in the 4th itself, getting Team Long Island to within 4 on three occasions. They had possession with under 2 minutes to play and a chance at a corner three from Frankie Phelan (Floral Park '18) that just missed that could've made it 67-66. Policelli though would take the miss and finish on a slam going down the court to flip the momentum back and put an end to Team Long Island's hopes once and for all.

Lewis would send in a three at the buzzer to get the game within single digits again, but a late burst by Sean Bell pushed them over the top as they would advance with the 76-69 win.

It was a balanced effort from a deep and talented Sean Bell All-Stars team as Smart had 16 points, McPherson added 15 points, while Cliff Omoruyi (Roselle Catholic, NJ '20) had 14 points in the overall team victory.

Lewis would cap off his iS8 run with 31 points in the defeat for Team Long Island, putting together a fantastic effort in his final run, with Small also contributing 14 points in the loss for the Nassau and Suffolk based squad.

2GZ knocks down Shooting Stars, 95 - 75

Tyler Bourne & Moses Brown
Tyler Bourne & Moses Brown (M. Libert)

In what looked on paper to be a fantastic matchup between Moses Brown (Archbishop Molloy '18) and his 2GZ team against Kofi Cockburn (Christ the King '19) and the Shooting Stars quickly turned into a one-sided affair as it was Tyler Bourne (Notre Dame, CT '18) putting on a first half show to lead 2GZ to the easy win.

Brown and Cockburn went at each other early on, and both had bright moments in finishing against each other in the paint, but it really was all about the long-range display put on by Bourne as the Brooklyn native was near unstoppable in scoring 18 first half points.

Bryce Wills (Iona Prep '18) got into the act as well as the transition offense for 2GZ was on point early on finishing time after time in the open court with dunks and layup to help push open a 51-36 lead at the break.

Even though he is considered more of a 4 man who scores primarily inside, KC Ndefo (Abraham Lincoln '18) knocked down a pair of threes against the Shooting Stars defense in the 3rd to push the lead to 20 for the first time with 4:18 left in the quarter as outside of Cockburn and Pierrce Perry (St. Mary's '18) the Shooting Stars lacked any sort of offensive flow from nearly start to finish.

When given his opportunity as the game went on Tyriek Morris (Abraham Lincoln '21) did do a solid job in scoring in the half court creating off the dribble scoring 8 in the 4th quarter, but Brown proved to be too much with the UCLA commit showcasing his ability to score in the open floor, going coast to coast on a number of occasions as the lead stretched to as big as 26 for 2GZ in the 4th quarter.

It was a dominant performance from the defending iS8 champs as Bourne had 21 points, while Brown and Wills had 20 a piece to push 2GZ to the commanding 20-point victory.

Scoring 18 points in the loss was Cockburn as he and Perry were the lone two in double figures for the Shooting Stars with the St. Mary's senior adding 15 points in the defeat.

Northeast Basketball Club depletes Beacon Elite, 86 - 80

Marcellus Earlington & Ron Harper Jr.
Marcellus Earlington & Ron Harper Jr. (M. Wingate)

Another game that featured a star studding lineup as Northeast Basketball had the likes of LSU commit Nazreon Reid (Roselle Catholic, NJ '18) and Ohio State bound Luther Muhammad (Hudson Catholic, NJ '18) suiting up on Sunday, but Beacon Elite and Posh Alexander (Our Savior Lutheran '20) weren't going to go away lying down.

While Alexander was the big name for Beacon, it was Kclejuan Brown (Combine Academy, NC '18) that kept them in the game, especially late as he had 3 three's pointers late in scoring 15 points in 4th quarter, but even though they got within 1 possession late they never got over the top as led by the 18 points of future Rutgers star Ron Harper Jr. (Don Bosco Prep, NJ '18), Northeast Basketball advanced with the 6 point win.

With the Northeast Basketball zone giving Beacon opportunities, Jade Tse (Archbishop Molloy '18) was the one who took advantage most early as he had 9 in the opening half, going 2 of 3 from deep in the first half to keep Beacon close.

Reid proved to be a mismatch as even with Max Amadasun (Our Savior Lutheran '20) doing as good a job as possible, the McDonald's All-American was able to use his strength to get in deep positions to finish off misses inside. When Reid was doing it Marcellus Earlington (Don Bosco Prep '18) was as the future St. John's man showed his inside/outside versatility in what was a strong showing.

It was a competitive opening half of play with Beacon Elite having chances to take the lead, but Muhammed was able to calm down a late run with a straightaway three and give Northeast Basketball Club a 35-31 lead at halftime.

Muhammed came out aggressive again in the 3rd and scored the first bucket attacking the rim and finishing while getting fouled. The lead would be pushed up to as much as 14 when Harper and Jaquaye James (Teaneck, NJ '18) sent in back to back treys to make it 56-42 with 2:08 to go in the quarter.

Credit to Beacon Elite though, even though they could've coasted in with a tough loss they didn't quit and got threes against the zone from Brown and Jasiah Wright (H.S. of Construction '18), and with Beacon pressuring in the full court against a Northeast Basketball team without a strong allotment of ballhandlers, the deficit closed all the way up to 78-75 with 1:18 to play in the game.

That was as close as Beacon got though as Harper went 6-6 from the FT line late, as an 8-0 Northeast Basketball run ended things for good. Late points in the closing seconds got Beacon Elite a bit closer but the result wouldn't change as the New Jersey based program was able to move onto the semifinals with the solid and strong 86-80 victory.

With Harper Jr. scoring 18 points and Earlington adding 15 points it was the Don Bosco duo who carried Northeast Basketball on Sunday to the quarterfinal win.

Getting 24 points from Brown in the loss made the uncommitted senior the high man for the game for Beacon Elite, with Alexander getting off late in the 4th and finishing with 14 points in the loss.

With Memorial Day weekend coming up in a weeks’ time the iS8 semifinals won't be played until Saturday, June 2nd when 2GZ will take on the Sean Bell All-Stars in one semifinals, while Northeast Basketball Club will square off with Above and Beyond in the other semi with the championship game to be played 30 minutes after the second semifinal finishes.

First Round Recaps