BROOKLYN, NY - South Shore Head Coach Mike Beckles> noted how difficult it can be to play in a tiny gymnasium and loud environment, a la Transit Tech's home court.
But those two factors only helped his visiting Vikings dispatch host East New York Transit Tech, 78-55, in an at first decent game that became a drubbing in the second half.
"I'm not worried about scoring, we can score," Coach Beckles said. "I just need us to keep it up defensively." And that South Shore did, suffocating Transit Tech with their own court and in the face of a noisy away crowd.
Both the defense and the balanced scoring were there from the opening tip. Stops, hustle plays and the lion's share of the rebounds gave the Vikings an early rush. Senior forward and team motor David Tait worked the paint aggressively before setting up junior point guard Doudmy St. Hilaire with a dime to give South Shore a 7-0 start. Offensive contributions from sophomore guard Shakur Spencer and a number of drive and dish plays from Terrence Samuel helped put the Vikings up by as many as 14 points in the first quarter, 20-6.
Transit Tech - who've garnered a rep for being a tough and formidable team that has the fortune of playing in the PSAL's most vicious division, Brooklyn AA - struggled to score the ball early, as star guard Fabian McDonald (14 points) had a relatively quiet night offensively. However, the senior sacrificed his body to give the Express some fuel on defense, while teammates Matt Banton and Phil Carr provided most of the buckets in the first and second quarters, respectively. Transit Tech's propensity for taking charges sent Tait to the bench with two early fouls, and with South Shore's lukewarm free throw shooting still an issue (they shot 10-17 in the second quarter), the Express remained in the hunt at halftime, 38-28.
Then the Vikings stopped Transit in their tracks - and things got ugly on the scoreboard.
The reinsertion of Tait and a deep rotation combined to drub Transit Tech in the second half. The Vikings' 18-0 run in the first four minutes of the third quarter half was akin to a video game gone awry. South Shore players cascaded to the hoop with lay-up line ease and Transit Tech couldn't take care of the ball under pressure, leading to the former outscoring the latter 22-4 in the third quarter. Banton (21 points) showed his ability to score in bunches, but South Shore was too deep and balanced for Transit Tech to make the game itself interesting.
Shakur Spencer led South Shore with 14 points, but the balance in the stat book was evident: Doudmy St. Hilaire scored 13, Donnell Clayton netted 10, Terrence Samuel and Alrick Ashley scored 8 a piece, and David Tait and Shamiek Sheppard scored 7 each.