SOUTH JAMAICA, N.Y. There are contests that prove that a game is not truly over until the clock reads 0:00.
On Thursday, at the iS8/Nike Spring High School Classic, New Heights (Seniors) displayed that unwavering hope for a win even in the face of bleak circumstances. New Heights (Bronx, N.Y.) staged a late comeback against Ben Gordon All-Stars, which comprises players from Mount Vernon High School (N.Y.), and defeated the competition 72-67 at Intermediate School 8.
The future looked dismal for New Heights in the first quarter, as Ben Gordon owned the period with great hustle plays and efficiency. In fact, because New Heights struggled to contain the Mount Vernon, N.Y. squad, Ben Gordon led 21-12 by the end of the primary quarter.
Although the Ben Gordon All-Stars still held a substantial margin over New Heights in the second quarter, New Heights' Brian Bernardi (eight points) would later sink a 3-pointer to close the gap to five points, 26-21. Despite Ben Gordon extending its advantage to seven points, 28-21, New Heights, ultimately, took its first lead of the matchup at about the three-minute mark of the second phase when a dunk by New Heights' Joel Angus (20 points, 11 in the first half) threw down a strong dunk to give his squad a 30-28 lead.
Before the close of the half, Ben Gordon All-Stars' Isaiah Cousins (game-high 21 points, 12 in the first half) gave his squad a one-point advantage, 34-33.
New Heights attempted to slow the offensive grinding of Ben Gordon by preventing the competition from capitalizing off their turnovers with points in transition. During this time, New Heights used their unconventional defense and helter-skelter offense to knot the contest at 42 in the third quarter.
However, being a solid transition team, Ben Gordon bounced back as Cousins put in more work and lifted his team to as much as an 11-point lead, 58-47, by the close of the tertiary period.
The Ben Gordon All-Stars' margin over New Heights (Seniors) was extended to 14 points, 61-47, at the start of the fourth quarter. Shortly thereafter, Cousins picked up his fourth foul. The foul trouble somewhat limited Cousins' defensive prowess and aggressive attack to the rim. As a result, New Heights stepped up the intensity, capitalized on the moment and staged a 17-4 run to bring the contest within an ace, 65-64.
New Heights' Jimmy Hall (16 points) tied the game at 67 with 1:40 left in the matchup.
With pressure high and tension palpable, Ben Gordon All-Stars' Randy Stevens (11 points) missed two free throw opportunities at the 1:25 mark of the fourth and final phase. New Heights called a timeout, which yielded great returns when New Heights' Rashad Andrews (20 points, 16 in the second half) nailed a clutch 3-pointer with about 40 seconds left in the contest.
The play elevated New Heights to a 3-point lead, 70-67. Ben Gordon tried to play horse, attempting to knock down a trey of its own to tie the game, but missed the mark. Instead, New Heights' Angus received an opportunity to seal the deal with a pair of free throws from the charity stripe.