M.T.G. Back-2-School Preseason Invitational (9/22)
SOUTH RICHMOND HILL, NY- It was opening day on Saturday of the More than a Game Back 2 School Preseason Invitational with a number of the area's top high school programs taking to the court to try and bring home one of the top fall tournaments on the schedule.
We at NYCHoops.net made our way over on Saturday to take in an intriguing doubleheader with each game pitting teams with high expectations coming in. Both games lived up to the hype as well with each coming down to the wire as the action was fast and furious at the Metro Queens Boys and Girls Club.
There was a lot to take in so let's now see how the action played out as we recap the play from the first day of play at MTG.
Brooklyn Collegiate Tops Chaminade, 45 - 36 in OT
Missing their top two scorers in T.J. Long '20 and Kieran Dorney '20 meant the treading could be rough for Chaminade against a very talented Brooklyn Collegiate, but at the start at least you would never have known that as it was a near flawless start for the Long Island power.
For the first 5 minutes of the game it seemed as if nothing could go wrong for Chaminade as they played excellent defense and moved the ball around extremely well, getting the ball into the hands of Michael O'Connell '20, a Maryland commit for lacrosse, who had the early scoring touch to put the Flyers up early 11-2.
That momentum though didn't last all that long as Majesty Johnson '20 and Leo McCausland '20 each used their size and speed to beat the Chaminade defense up the court, using transition offense to get them back into the game as when Glen Anderson '19 buried his first shot of the game it was the end of a 15-2 run that saw Brooklyn Collegiate wake up in a big way and take a 17-13 lead with just under 4 minutes left in the opening half.
Riley Gray '20 connected on a three from the left corner to end the Lions run, but Chaminade really didn't get going again in the first half of play as the Brooklyn Collegiate defense did a great job of closing out on the Flyers shooters which enabled them to take a 22-17 lead into the break.
It seemed as if Brooklyn Collegiate had all the momentum going into halftime but much like how the game started, Chaminade once again started to take the game to the Lions as they were able to use screens to their advantage as O'Connell was tough once in the lane, and with Liam Drennan '19 getting involved using his long 6'8" size to finish inside, the Flyers went on a 12-0 run to start the 2nd half and open up a 29-22 lead.
Again though once Brooklyn Collegiate found a bucket with Charles Brown '19 finishing on a putback down low it seemed as if that opened the game back up again for the Lions as Jaylin Anderson '20 would then knock down a pair of jumpers, and with the overall team speed being too much for Chaminade to handle, Brooklyn Collegiate went back in front and seemed to pull away going up 35-29 with 1:38 to play.
O'Connell would get 4 straight to make it 35-33, but then Anderson would hit 1 of 2 from the FT line to make it 36-33. Chaminade had a chance to inbound but a turnover with just 10 seconds left seemed to seal their fate.
Fortunately for them though, the Lions would return the favor and turn it over right back when Anderson couldn't handle an inbounds pass. Fate seemed to be on Chaminade's side then as Gray with 2 seconds left got off a straight away three that hit off the front of the rim, then the backboard, and then in for a trey to tie the game up at 36 to send the game to OT.
In the OT though Chaminade had nothing left as that game tying three was the last points they would score in the game as everyone went cold at the wrong time for the Flyers, and after Johnson calmly buried his first two jumpers of the extra session it was all over. Brooklyn Collegiate piled it on late as FT's made the margin bigger than it otherwise would've been as the Lions were able to come away and pull out a hard fought and tough 45-36 victory.
Johnson and McCausland each had 11 points to lead the way for Brooklyn Collegiate in the win, while in the loss it was O'Connell who led all scorers with 15 points of the Flyers.
Eagle Academy Over Francis Lewis, 46 - 37
Much like how Chaminade controlled the game early against Brooklyn Collegiate, Francis Lewis was the team in control front the opening tip against Eagle Academy as Moises Cordero '19 just couldn't be stopped as the 6'5" big man had the Patriots first 8 points as he helped the Queens team to a 14-7 lead.
Eagle was settling for tough outside jumpers instead of using their superior athleticism at the start of the game, but once DaMarco Watson '20 started attacking the basket the momentum started to shift to the side of the Bronx squad as they began to chip away at the Patriots lead.
Francis Lewis still held a 27-22 advantage at halftime over Eagle Academy, but that was mainly because of the quick lead that the Patriots jumper out to as early in the second half it was Vernon Simmons '20 who put on a dunk show throwing down a pair of one handed slams to see the 5 point halftime deficit turn into Eagle's first lead at 29-28 with 11:42 to go in the game.
Joel Simpson '19, the transfer from All Hallows, would connect on a pair of triples to build up the lead even more for Eagle, with only Holy Cross transfer Robert Bland '19 getting anything going from the perimeter for Francis Lewis in the second half to try and keep the game close.
The Patriots were able to get the deficit down to 5 on a pair of occasions in the closing minutes, but Simmons was able to have his biggest and most eye opening dunk of the game with just over 2 minutes to go when he threw it down with a windmill, giving Eagle Academy a double digit lead for the first time, finishing the game strong and coming away with a 46-37 win.
Both Simpson and Simmons finished the game with 10 points each for Eagle Academy in the win, while Watson and Julian Avila '19 each added 6 in the victory as well.
In the defeat it was 15 points for Cordero as the Francis Lewis forward led all scorers in the loss for the Patriots, with Bland also chipping in with 9 points.