BRONX, NY - The Sharette Dixon Memorial Classic would bring up the age old question of who is better, New York or New Jersey? After Saturday's contests were over, the answer was resounding.
NY Underclassmen Smash NJ, 116-103
With Kassoum Yakwe out due to sprained ankle, 6'6" Hassahn French (Life Center (PA)) replaced but New York didn't miss a beat. Omari Spellman busted up NJ in the opening moments, scoring 17 points in the first half
Undeterred, after falling behind 10-0, NJ went on a 12-0 run to take the lead led by buckets from Temple Gibbs and perimeter shots from 6'0" Myles Powell (Trenton Catholic So.) and PG Bryce Aiken. New York responded as Unique McLean hit free throws. A nice move by Devonte Green to freeze his defender, ended the half on a high note as NY regained the lead 60-56 at the half
NY extended their lead early, even though Rashoud "Ray" Salnave (Cardozo HS) went down for a while with an leg cramp.
Clive Allen and Ty Jerome showed good defensive skills as New York packed it in, preventing the NJ guards from successfully baking after shaking. Rawle Alkins extended NY lead to 68-59 with 15:48 left in play.
A trey by Jerome increased NY lead to 16 with 11 minutes in the game but NJ didn't give up as Nick Washington (St. Benedict Prep) and Alphonso Gee (Kennedy HS) got the lead down to 11 with 9:45. Gibbs and Gee attacked on offense as Aiken ran the point and sliced NY's lead to 9 with 4:45.
New York would eventually plug all the leaks in the dam and closed out New Jersey once and for all with a strong finish by McLean.
Spellman won the MVP scoring 21 points along with 8 rebounds. McLean added 18 points. Aiken paced NJ with 18 points with Gibbs contributing 17 points.
NY Upperclassmen Blowout New Jersey, 113-89
It was an even match as both teams battled but the energy shifted for good after Khadeen Carrington scored a monster dunk on Quadri Moore's head to set off the gym and the NY team with 7 minutes left in the opening half. NY led 35-30 with 5:30 left in the first half but Carrington and Marvin Prochet would bump it up to 9 points
Paul Jorgensen fed Jeromy Rodriguez for the trifecta which temporarily stopped NJ's bleeding. NY would increase their lead to 14 points with a little over an minute as Cheick Diallo frequently splashed down dunks and post up moves on defenders.
Leading 52-41 to begin the second half, buckets by Mike Williams and Isaiah Whitehead pushed New York's lead to 22 points early.
With very little defense, NY's lead ballooned to 26 points with 14:45 as Desi Rodriguez and Terry Larrier joined in on the offensive barrage. The game descended into free for all oblivion as New York's lead grew to 30 points and hovered en route to a blowout.
Rodriguez won MVP honors scoring 16 points with Williams and Whitehead adding 14 points. Wade Baldwin led NJ with a game high 34 points.
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