HARLEM, NY - The Queens Borough Championship was played with a high level of intensity and passion as rivals Bayside and Cardozo faced off for a third time this year with bragging rights and a championship on the line.
Cardozo has been the Kings of Queens for a long time but Bayside has been nipping at there heels for a few years now. Saturday though proved to be a breakthrough for the Commodores as they won the Queens Borough title for the 1st time in somewhat controversial fashion, 57-54.
In what was probably the game if the day, Bayside was clinging to a 1 point lead and Cardozo had the ball in the closing seconds. It was a tight game from start to finish with neither team running away from the other. Both teams had there opportunities to jump out, and the Commodores did have an 11 point lead,in the 3rd quarter, but the Judges fought back and it all came down to 1 play.
Omar Williams got to ball at the left wing, he took two dribbles and launched a 3 with 6.1 seconds left, but he was hit by Austin Williams on the release. The referees didn't blow the whistle though and Daquaise Andrews grabbed the rebound and got fouled. He sank the 2 FT's to make it 57-54, and a last second half court heave by Travis Flagg fell short. The controversy though is was he or was he not fouled? In a game that saw both teams want the game so bad the emotions were high, and the thoughts afterwards were clearly different depending on which side you spoke to.
"It may have or may not have been a foul. I mean, we didn't get any calls all game long. At one point Austin drove the lane and came out with a busted nose but there was no foul," Bayside coach Cory Semper said.
On the other hand, Cardozo coach Ron Naclerio, who was right in front of the play as it happened, had a much more definitive viewpoint.
"He definitely got fouled. Did the referee purposely not call the foul? I mean, we all saw him get fouled," Naclerio said.
The last seconds of the game were highly dramatic and will be remembered for a while as the was he fouled or wasn't he fouled question will linger; and the fact that the 2 schools are located just 3 miles apart makes the rivalry and importance of this game even more important, and the call even more debated.
The end result though was a Bayside title, something that Semper understands holds a lot of importance.
"It means a lot to the team, to the school, to the supporters, and to the community. The schools are so close that a win like this means a lot," Semper said.
It wasn't just the ending though that will be remembered. It was the play of the Bayside seniors including Williams who finished with 17, and Cantrell Barker who played great perimeter defense and came up big in the clutch finishing with 18. To finally beat Cardozo on the big stage was clearly important to both.
"After the loss we had to Cardozo last week at their place, we came back hungrier and wanted this one bad," Barker said.
Williams echoed those sentiments, and the 4 year varsity starter also acknowledged the importance of the moment for him.
"I came here for this. I got what I wanted but honestly it's just step one. Now we want to make noise in the cities," Williams said.
In the loss, it was Kyle Credle who paced Cardozo with a game high 22 points.
As high with jubilation as Bayside is, and as down and hurt as Cardozo is, both will now try to make a deep run in the City playoffs, but for this night, Bayside is truly on top of Queens.
Lincoln Topples Jefferson 72-60
In a highly anticipated matchup between 2 of the cities best for the Brooklyn Borough title it was Lincoln that started the game strong. After falling behind 4-0 early on, the Railsplitters went on a 20-2 run and they never looked back leading the rest of the way for the 72-60 win.
The first half was dominated by the long ball for Lincoln, and it was the coach's son, Trevonn Morton who stole the show. As the Orange Wave continuously doubled Isaiah Whitehead, seemingly challenging others to beat them, it was Morton who stepped up and scored 15 points on 5 threes in the opening half, which helped the Railpalitters build a commanding lead.
Jefferson was able to get the deficit to within 5 on a couple of occasions, but each time they did, Lincoln countered and pushed the lead back to double digits. Elijah Davis stepped up in the 2nd half as well to help Lincoln win their 2nd borough title in 3 years and bring the borough title back to Coney Island.
Davis and Morton each led Lincoln with 15, while Whitehead added 14 as well. It was Jermoine Faison who did all he could for Jefferson to keep them in the game scoring a game high 25 points while dominating the paint to grab 14 rebounds.
Lincoln coach Dwayne "Tiny" Morton, who got to coach and watch his son score 15 first half points, was beaming with pride after the win.
"It was the best feeling in the world." Morton said.
Expectations are extremely high for the Railsplitters now going forward as they got there revenge on Jefferson who ended their unbeaten league run last week, and are the favorites to take home the PSAL title, when asked what expectations are, and if its city title or bust, Morton answered clearly.
"Yes." Morton said.
City title or bust, but for today, Brooklyn Borough champions sounds good for the boys from Coney Island.
Wings Academy overwhelms Gompers 59-46
The Bronx Borough title game was expected to be easy work for Wings who steamrolled their way to an unbeaten league campaign, but Gompers came to play and have them fits through 3 quarters before Jaequan Brown took over in the 4th scoring 12 of his game high 22 points to lead Wings to the title.
It was a close game throughout because of the good pressure defense applied by guard Yohan Almonte and Wayne Weir, but the inside scoring of Brown, Francisco Infante, and Soufiyane Diakite was too much down the stretch as Wings pulled away for the win.
Brown led the way for Wings with his aforementioned 22 points while Infante added 14. Naquan Moore led Gompers in what truly was a tough gutsy effort with 15.
Manhattan Center Takes out Frederick Douglass 42-36
The Rams brought home the Manhattan Borough title behind the 12 points of Nykolas King and 11 points of Khalil Hamer. Frederick Douglass, which was the only "A" division team to make a borough final was paced by Jerell Decaille and his 14 points.
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