On Saturday, the NYC Golden Hoops was resurrected in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn and the stars came out to play and watch players from New York and New Jersey battled for top honors. With NBA legend and TNT announcer Kenny "The Jet" Smith as the game's play-by-play announcer, the former Lefrak City tenant watched as the New York squad defended its home turf taking down a strong NJ squad, 114-109.
The highly anticipated matchup between the two powerhouse teams looked as if it were going to fall short of the hype as the Jersey team promptly went on a 13-0 run eerily reminiscent of their earlier game against Team Empire. Myles Mack (18 points) and Kyle Anderson (11 points) were again magnificent as one could see that a chemistry there due to there playing on the same AAU squad for years.
To compound matters, quite a few of the New York players were participating in the Battle of the Bands at the Nike TOC, leaving the team with only six players present and accounted for. Still the New York team managed to stay in the hunt as rising freshman Isaiah Whitehead (11 points) and Kamari Murphy (13 points, 11 rebounds) both from Abraham Lincoln HS began to make their presence felt. With 3:33 left in the first quarter the score was now 24-13.
Kelvin Amayo (26 points) displayed his athleticism going a solo 5-0 run but a 9-0 run by New York out NY only down 29-22 as the second quarter began.
Amayo continued to be a driving force for Jersey and with 9:32 left in the half they were again ahead by 9 points. Tyquan Goodlet(14 points) and Kareem Canty (9 points) were effective at scoring points in transition and soon a jumper by Omar Calhoun (19 points) and a reverse lay-up by Mike Taylor (12 points) pulled New York to with 3 points of the lead.
Once again Whitehead would show poise tying the game at 54 off a beautiful assist by PG Corey Edwards (12 points) with half a minute left to play in the half. Goodlet would then score on off a Jersey turnover to give NY 56-54 halftime lead.
Right before the second half, Nkereuwem Okoro, Daniel Dingle and Kadeem Jack showed up and New York finally had a bench. Amayo undeterred would quickly tie the game and Mack would regain the lead for Jersey but Jack (9 points) would make his presence felt knotting the game at 68.
New Jersey received offense from Neville Fincher (11 points) and Derrick Randall (9 points) but good interior defense by Murphy impeded Jersey's forward progress. 2:06 remained in the third quarter and NYC controlled the lead as Dingle (11 points) displayed his perimeter game while Murphy blocked shots. Down 86-79 with 18 seconds Derrick Gordon (23 points) raised Jersey's spirits by putting them in the eighties as the third quarter ended with an acrobatic lay-up.
New York held on to a 88-81 lead to start the fourth quarter but a trey by Gordon and a basket by Amayo cut that lead to 97-96 with 5:34 left to play.
Murphy gave New York a cushion with a nice midrange jump hook as did Calhoun with a nice put-back but Jersey thought they were smelling blood as Vaughn Gray (7 points) kept New Jersey's within a point. It turned out that Jersey was smelling their own blood as Calhoun and Jermaine Sanders (5 points) quickly increase NY's lead to 5 with Dingle extending to 111-104 off a dunk with 56 seconds left in regulation.
Amayo swished a trey with 42 seconds but Jersey was still down four points and began to foul and hope. Kenny "The Jet" Smith shouted on the mic that he thought it was a bit early for that but Goodlet would go 1 for 2 giving Jersey the hope they sought. A put back by Gray with 33 seconds and the score was 112-109. The Hack-a-Goodlet strategy paid off again as the guard would go 1 for 2 once more but this time Dingle would grab the offensive rebound for a put-back, locking down the victory for NYC.
The co-MVP's for the New York City team would be Omar Calhoun and Kamari Murphy.
Queens Wins Battle of the Boroughs
In a packed Gauchos Gym, Queens defeats the Bronx in overtime, 76-74, on Saturday. Queens was down down by as many as 14 points but Jevon Thomas would lead the charge towards a comeback. Jordan Washington, a 6-foot-8 rising sophomore from Pathways HS, would send the game into overtime with 6 seconds remaining.
Bronx sustained a 37-28 lead at the half but poor free throw shooting plagued the Bronx team, especially in OT.