PHILADELPHIA, PA - On New Year's day, five games took place between Philly's finest and ranked NYC teams from NYCHoops.net.
It would ultimately take all five games to determine who was best. The opening game was between Cardozo and Constitution and set the stage.
Judges overruled by Constitution, 80-72
Constitution going into this game against the Benjamin Cardozo Judges (Queens, NY) was 2-4 and was looking for any opportunity for momentum going into the New Year. They would to call on senior forward Savon Goodman who would come up big. Goodman scored a tournament high 46 points to go along with 18 rebounds leading to an 8 point win
Things would start off well with Cardozo, behind the play of Junior foward Jermaine Lawrence (12 points.), who would put pressure on Constitution's defense. Dozo would push the ball up the floor and get easy layups. Constitution would come back with their 1-3-1 defense and get Cardozo to commit 6 first quarter turnovers which led to easy alley-opps and layups for Constitution.
As the game went on, Goodman would start to catch a rhythm and knock down everything when he touched the ball. He even pleased the crowd with an early 2nd quarter reverse dunk after stealing the ball and going the full length of the court.
Goodman would show that his range of shooting and ball handling skills are improving with time. Goodman would also be a force on the defensive end with getting blocks and charges. Constitution would go into the half leading 37-28, while Goodman would already have a double-double with 16 points & 11 rebounds
Junior guard Omar Williams (17 points) was huge for Cardozo as he would be a part of the second half adjustment, utilizing full court pressure to create some turnovers and easy baskets. It would be even better because, Constitution would miss a few free throws. The turnovers would cut the lead to 8. This would continue in the fourth quarter as Cardozo would keep the pressure on Constitution.
Cardozo would cut the lead down to 4 with 5:49 left in the game but Constitution head coach Rob Moore would switch up the defense and get a new full court press offense in play to counter what Cardozo was doing.
Cardozo didn't have enough to counter leading to a huge win against a very good team.
Goodman talked about his play saying, "I really was on; things became easier when we made the adjustments and I felt that, I needed to be big tonight for my team". "
Constitution's senior guard Daiquan Walker who added 17 points and 12 assists talked after the game coming into the New Year correctly. "We've had some tough losses lately and we lost a lot of guys last year," he said. "We just want to get on the same page and we feel as though we are building that and we see it when we are playing well."
"We played a great NY team and it feels good to be the first Philly team to ever win in this classic. We had to open things up and prove that we belong with the best, We still have a lot of work, we played 4 different defenses and all the kids really showed that they wanted to win this game by increasing the intensity," said Coach Moore.
South Shore Stops Imhotep, 58-52
Junior guard Shamiek Sheppard (18 points 8 rebounds) and senior forward Wayne Martin (13 points) led their South Shore team to a victory as they came back from a long time deficit through the game, until they took the lead in the 4th quarter with 4:23 left in the game. Senior guard Khyree Wooten (15 points 6 rebounds) would lead Imhotep in their most of the game lead against South Shore, putting their backs against the wall.
"9-4 is a pretty good record," said Vikings head coach Mike Beckles. "We just wanted to come into the New Year with a solid win against a solid Philly team. We didn't start 2 of our starters, but it seems to still come out on right note."
Boys & Girls Rout Vaux, 63-38
Boys & Girls were led by junior Guard Courtney Darnley (15 points) in a lop-sided win over a sub-par team in Vaux. The game seemed to be a very slow pace and Coach Ruth Lovelace made sure her team stayed under controlled and never got behind.
Friend Central Outhustles Wings, 57-53
Senior forward Amile Jefferson (18 points 10 rebounds) said after a hard fought win over Wings Academy, "We are doing well, but need room for improvement. This isn't the best basketball we can play, but our chemistry is getting better and we are finding ways of staying motivated to go for our 4th straight state title"
Wings kept it close with junior guard Marvilio Berroa (12 points), but it would not be enough as sophomore guard Conrad Chambers (16 points, 4 steals) would help contribute towards the 17-4 2nd quarter boost that was needed to pull off this game.
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