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PORT CHESTER, NY - Part NBA and part MMA, but always entertaining, the 68th Annual CYP Tournament closed out with a bang on Thursday as the Gauchos KO'd The City, 86-74, to claim the championship at Our Lady of Mercy Church. Almost more interesting than the game itself were the games within the game.
Early on in the contest it was evident that the only strategy was to score by any means necessary and an assists was something from a Chris Paul commercial. Coaches were only there to sub in and out and referees only called fouls if blood was drawn or if players were deemed to be unconscious. This was yard ball played in a cage plain in which it was every man for himself. But that is the tradition on the CYP.
The City would sprint ahead 20-5 in the warm-up quarter but the Gauchos would soon tie the game and lead 41-38 at the half. From then on, the Bronx based Gauchos would out-city'd The City en route to a 12 point victory.
The Choz won the war but The City's Mike Williams won his battle against his Bishop Loughlin team mate Khadeen Carrington. Playing for opposing team's the Rutgers bound senior sharpshooter was blazing hot from the perimeter scoring 21 point including 4 three-balls. "One on one, he got this one," said Carrington who dropped 18 points that featured two impressive dunks. "But we got the W."
There was also a 'wholesome' rivalry between The City's rising young Point Guard Wolfgang Novogratz (2 points) and nationally ranked junior Isaiah Briscoe (13 points) who played for the Gauchos. While the two almost came to blows, kudos to Novogratz, who Choz Coach Kashiff "Kash" Pratt called an 'Ivy League player', for not backing down. "He won the game but I tried to be physical because I've seen in these games they really don't call fouls," said Novogratz. "We wanted to win the game but we didn't."
Isaiah Whitehead, who was recently nominated for the McDonald's All-American Game, wore a bull's-eye on his forehead and was the wanted man in the game. At times he had to fend off attacks from last year's former teammate at Abraham Lincoln Elijah Davis (19 points) who now opposed him, playing for The City.
In addition Whitehead had to battle Bashir Ahmed on offense and defense. For years, there had been debate as to whether Ahmed was the true number one player in New York, when he attended John F. Kennedy Campus. This game for all intensive purposes represented the last chance for Ahmed to show and prove that point.
Ahmed, who scored 15 points, would seek out and go at Whitehead every chance he got and the Seton Hall bound senior would return the favor. Ahmed however would get himself into foul trouble and fall short of his goal and Whitehead could be heard shouting at him "You're washed up."
Whitehead would earn MVP honor scoring a game high 24 points making history in the process, joining Dean "The Dream" Meminger (1966-67) and Billy Goodwin (1978-79) as the only two-time MVPs in the event's history.