BROOKLYN, NY - It all came down to this...
New Jersey would take on New York in the high school division championship of the Nike Tournament of Champions at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Saturday's game would go from a blowout to a nail biter but in the end, NY's finest would reassert its dominance over their NJ neighbor, winning the whole enchilada, 90-88, in OT.
In the first quarter, New Jersey blasted out in front 22-5 as Isaiah Briscoe and Malachi Richardson wreaked havoc on the NY squad. The punishment continued as Chris Silva helped to increase Jersey's lead to 21 at the half.
It appeared as if the increasingly wide spread belief that New York ballers are now second to New Jersey was coming to fruition. However, a Rocky-esque 28-11 run by the Big Apple in the third quarter would begin to question the validity of that perception.
Only down 58-54 to start the fourth quarter, led by Isaiah Whitehead's 23 points and Khadeen Carrington's 17 points, New York began to shift the momentum.
Big man Cheick Diallo did a superior job of protecting the paint and dominating the boards for the home team and with 38.9 seconds left in regulation, the tide suddenly turned. An alley-oop from Whitehead to Rutgers bound Mike Williams would knot the game at 78, taking the contest into overtime.
NJ would battle hard in the extra quarter but New York's momentum swing was like a snow ball rolling down a hill, eventually crashing down on New Jersey with a 2 point overtime loss.
Andre' Ambrose, who coached the New York team, credited Bishop Loughlin high school teammates Carrington and Williams for their unselfishness. "That's why we got the win," he said.
As far as being on the decline, Ambrose spoke to the event's importance. "I think we sent a message that New York basketball is still a force to be reckoned with."
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