New Yorkers have a saying. Welcome to New York, Now go home. On Saturday at the Rumble in the Bronx, the NYCHoops #4 ranked NY Panthers did just that as they bounced the LA Dream Team out of the Gold bracket and into the Silver, defeating the all-star California team 83-71.
After losing their pool play opener, the NY Panthers had to go all out against the L.A. Dream Team of California. Not only was their playoff future in jeopardy but the Bronx based team was representing New York.
Helter Skelter ensued from the onset as both teams were hyped but the Panthers struck gold first as 6'7" Brian Wilson and 6'1" guard Winston Graham scored inside and out to go on a 5-0 run.
The Dream Team's Renardo Sidney's first shot would be an air ball as Kevin Parrom and Omari Lawrence did damage inside the paint for the Panthers.
With 10:52 left in the first half, the Panthers were already up 18-2 with classic NY run n' gun offense as Graham continued to be white hot from the arc.
The only way the LA Dream Team could stop the bleeding was to call a time out.
With 9:18 left, the Dream Team was still down by 13 points as Jordan Hamilton was off from outside as fouls began to plague the team from California.
Hamilton would finally get hot, hitting two quick jumpers and with 7:12 left in the half, the Dream Team was now only down by 7 points.
The Dream Team began to attack the rim drawing fouls on the Panthers but didn't capitalize as they missed multiple free throw opportunities.
Lawrence, with 11 first half points, penetrated with ease as the Panthers maintained a 10 point spread late in the first half as Sidney sat on the bench with 3 fouls.
The half ended with NY Panthers up 34-26.
Jordan Hamilton started the half with an emphatic dunk as the LA Dream Team bench and coaches chanted, "Defense!! Defense!!"
An 8-0 run quickly brought the Dream Team to within 2 points early in the half.
Sidney, who had only 4 points in the first half complimented Hamilton's early dunk with a dunk of his own as the Panthers momentarily slowed their roll.
Graham, however, kept the Panthers out in front with jumpers and lay ups but the LA Dream Team led by Antonio Biggalow kept the pressure on.
With 10:40 left in the game, the Panthers were still up by 6 points but the Dream Team was breathing down their necks.
The turning point of the game came when down by 4 points, Hamilton would miss two momentum changing free throws.
The Panthers would reload go back by 7 points as Graham was again big time from beyond the arc.
A three pointer by Seton Hall Preps freshman guard Sterling Gibbs put the Panthers back up by 11points with 7:07 left in regulation.
6'7" Paul Bilbo from St. Dominic played good defense as well as displayed impressive post up moves as the Panthers were still maintaining a ten point lead with 4:10 left in regulation.
With their last push, Jordan Hamilton would cut the Panthers lead down to 6 points on a put back but Lawrence would counter with a driving lay up quickly on the other end.
2:57 was left in the game and the Dream Team down by 9 points with Sidney now fouled out and on the bench Panthers coach Oz Cross had his team apply relentless pressure on both offense and defense. Parrom scorch the Dream Team in the final minutes with continuous slashing drives to the hole.
At the 1:06 mark, the Panthers were comfortably up by 10 points and would cruise to victory 83-71.
Winston Graham had 19 points followed by Kevin Parrom with 17 points for the NY Panthers. Antonio Biggalow led the LA Dream Team with a game high 20 points while Reynaldo Sidney ended the game fouled out with only 8 points.
The NY Panthers would go 2-1 in a tough pool graduating to the playoff with a first round BYE.
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