SOUTH JAMAICA, N.Y. The iS8/Nike Spring High School Classic playoffs was in full swing on Saturday, as the heart of the one-and-done tourney's postseason kicked off with one of the best contests of the day. Lights were bright and tensions high as two New York squads - Q-Five.com and The Rens - took to center court for tip-off.
Both squads would exhibit toughness, physicality and a strong collective skill-set down to the wire, sending the contest into two overtime periods. Q-Five would, however, keep the engine running long enough to pull away from the competition, earn the 'W' and advance to the playoff's quarterfinal on Sunday.
Q-Five and The Rens would clash from the moment the first quarter commenced. Q-Five held an early margin of as much as seven points, 11-4, before The Rens tied the contest at 11 on a 3-pointer by Ibra Toure (Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology (N.Y.) '12). The play by Toure capped a 7-0 run sparked by teammate, Manhattan College-bound Shane Richards (York Prep (N.Y.) '12). Still, The Rens' were cut short, as Q-Five's Larry Beckett (Satellite Academy (N.Y.) '13) watered the dry streak by draining 2-of-2 from the charity stripe.
Q-Five would hold the lead throughout the remainder of the first period and for much of the second phase. In the second quarter, Toure and teammate Kent State-bound Chris Ortiz (South Kent (Conn.) '12) went to work to attain a winning advantage. The quest for a lead proved fruitful as the squad held a brief one-point advantage, 29-28, by the 4:37 mark of the period.
Although Q-Five tied the game on the next possession, The Rens responded by surging to an advantage of as much as seven points, 40-33, after production by Toure with only 40 seconds left before halftime.
The Rens led 42-36 at the break.
At the start of the third quarter, Q-Five began to challenge The Rens' grip on the game, forcing turnovers and cashing in on their opportunities. Led by Marshall-bound Kareem Canty (Faith Baptist (Fla.) '12), Q-Five tied the contest at 57 on a basket by Beckett with 1:05 left in the third quarter. Though Q-Five would be close to regaining an advantage, The Rens powered up and earned a five-point lead, 62-57, on a bucket by Toure with 35 seconds left in the third phase. Still, points by Q-Five's Jon Severe (Christ the King Regional H.S. (N.Y.) '12) made the differential 62-60.
The fourth quarter was more of the same, as Canty and company - which included some athletic efforts of Q-Five's Kedar Edwards (West Oaks Academy (Fla.) '12), who netted the two free throws that sent Q-Five back in front of the competition - worked to secure a lasting advantage. Edwards, an impact player on the squad, would be sidelined later in the period after picking up two, quick, questionable technicals. Still, with about 27 seconds left in regulation, Canty nailed the front and back end of a 1-and-1, and elevated his team to a 82-79 lead.
The Rens' Toure completed a play where he would have scored and secured an and-1 opportunity, but it was later waived by officials. With what looked like the end of a hectic game was actually the start of the contest's first overtime. On The Rens' next offensive possession, with only a few ticks remaining in the fourth phase, Toure found teammate Ortiz on the wing for a 3-pointer before the buzzer sounded. The sequence tied the contest at 82.
In the first overtime period, Q-Five saw heavy contributions from Dayshon Smith (Putnam Science Academy (Conn.) '12). Though The Rens were able to squeeze out a one-possession lead, and hold onto it by the close of the quarter, the game was sent into yet another post-regulation period when Q-Five's Severe tied the contest at 92 with 15 seconds remaining in overtime.
The second post-regulation period would sever the winners from the losers, as Smith continued to aid Canty in getting points on the board. While Canty steered the ship, Smith would be the needed X-factor to keep the point differential in Q-Five's favor.
Overall, Q-Five was too deep to compete with as Canty finished with a team-high 28 points, while teammates Smith and Beckett finished with 18 and 16 points, respectively. Q-Five also saw some offensive contributions from Edwards (15 points), Severe (14 points) and IMG Academy's Kamari Murphy (14 points).
Meanwhile, The Rens were supported by the hard work of Ortiz and Toure, who netted 28 and 24 points, respectively. Teammate Edwin Sainvil (Cardozo High School (N.Y.) '12) recorded 18 points in the loss.