BROOKLYN, NY - Sunday's Rose Classic NYC Senior Championship game at JHS 113 between D1 Bound and the NJ Sparks marked the first game in the post-Exodus era.
Leading from coast-to-coast, Coach Mike Toro's D1 Bound, hopes to start their own legacy as they took out the Sparks, 69-55 to win their first chip.
Coach Toro said that this win was particularly gratifying. "It was great in the fact that we've been trying to get [a championship] for a long time and it seemed like we would always get to the semifinal or the championship and then lose to Exodus," he said. Toro said that the NJ Sparks were just as good.
Chock-filled with division I college bound talent, Sierra Calhoun (24 points) , Alliyah Huland-El (12 points) and Lauren "Boogie" Brozoski (13 points) pushed D1 Bound to a 3 point lead going into the second quarter. The advantage would've been larger if not for the efforts of Louisville bound Myisha Hines (16 points) and Bre Cavanaugh (14 points) who gave the NJ Sparks a shot in the arm.
D1 Bound remained aggressive on offense as Aliya Butts (6 points) and Lauren Mosley (12 points) held it down in the in the second quarter. The NJ Sparks would also succumb to D1's defense pressure barely scoring double digits in the second quarter and trailing, 30-24 end the first half.
Samantha Fuehring (8 points) put up numbers to begin the third quarter as the NJ Sparks looked to make a run but D1 Bound began to run away with the game as Calhoun and Brozoski began to take control.
Ahead 47-39 to start the final quarter, a jumper by Brozoski extended D1's lead to but Cavanaugh responded with an and1. Hines also began to impose her will and with 5:00 left in regulation, D1 only held into a 4 point lead.
The NJ Sparks did close the gap but the cumulative offense of Calhoun, timely buckets by Huland-El along with floor generalship by Brozoski would eventually lead D1 Bound to their long awaited championship.
Asked about the key to victory, Toro responded, "The biggest thing was stressing to them that we've got seven division one players and if we play as a team no one should be able to beat us."
Rose Classic CEO Anton Marchand told NYCHoops.net he was both pleased with long standing champion Exodus and its star player Bianca Cuevas and with D1 Bound who has assumed the mantle for now. After Exodus lost to New Heights in the quarterfinals on Saturday, Marchand spoke with Cuevas privately. "I thanked her for what she's done for us. I told her, I'm gonna miss her 'cause I am but that gives the opportunity for a young girl to come up."
Exodus carried the championship torch for nine years but Marchand feels the Rose Classic is in good hands. "The two best teams played in the championship and that's all you can ask for."