BROOKLYN, NY - If #4 seeded South Shore wanted to put fear in the hearts of Thomas Jefferson HS, who they face in next round of the PSAL Boros, their game on Tuesday against Brooklyn Collegiate Lions did not do the trick.
Struggling for three of the four quarters, the Vikings sparked by a dunk from Shamiek Sheppard would escape the #5 seed, 58-45.
Before the game, Collegiate Lion's head coach Jake Edwards said his focus was South Shore's athleticism. "Our biggest concern is rebounding," he said.
NYCHoops.net #8 ranked South Shore has the talent on hand to win the PSAL chip but inconsistent play throughout the regular season has yielded them only a #4 seed in the first round of the PSAL Borough Championships and it showed.
While the Vikings led for the entire game, they could only manage to gain a 23-18 halftime lead as they found it hard to score against Collegiate's zone. Equally as arduous was their inability to contain sophomore, Ervin Mitchell who dropped 25 points.
Playing against a Class 'A' team with seven freshmen and three sophomores, one would expect the more experienced Class AA Vikings to pillage the Lion cubs. That would not be the case.
Down 31-24, with 4:13 left in the third quarter, the Lions would go on an 8-4 scoring spree as Mitchell would continuously get to the rim unscathed. With South Shore's momentum running out like the sands of an hourglass and Collegiate on the verge of tying the game, Sheppard would rise up and close the quarter with a sure fire momentum booster - an emphatic dunk.
"We gotta play defense, first and foremost," yelled South Shore head Coach Mike Beckles to his now invigorated team in between quarters.
Still holding on to a 38-36 sliver of a lead to start the final quarter, South Shore embarked on an inspired dunkfest as if suddenly realizing they were the superior team. Doudmy St. Hillaire (5 points) would blaze through for a follow-up flush as the Lions three quarter roar had now become but a purr.
UConn assistant coach Kevin Ollie was on hand to check out, Terrence Samuel (8 points). Quiet for most of the evening, the Vikings junior point guard would finally show why he's a high major recruit with a nice no-look feed to Sheppard in transition for punctuation dunk. Samuel would draw a foul on the next play and cap off a 9-0 Vikings run.
Suddenly in an 11 point hole with 5 minutes left in regulation, Brooklyn Collegiate would be unable to recover as the Vikings ran away with a 13 point win. Sheppard led South Shore with 18 points.
"I don't think we're on the same page," said a frustrated Coach Beckles after the game. "We got to keep up our defensive intensity."
Beckles said he expects his team will be mentally ready for their second round game. "We're gonna to be playing Jefferson. They're the number one seed for a reason."
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