T.M.A. Soars Past Eagle Academy
NEW YORK, NY - If there is ever such a thing as a must win game in the month of December, Thurgood Marshall Academy had one on Friday evening when they hosted Eagle Academy in an important league contest.
The Panthers lost to W.H.E.E.L.S. on Thursday while playing without star forward Amarveer Singh '16, who was severely under the weather. Still sick on Friday, Singh played anyway, and he helped TMA fight back from a 5 point halftime deficit to grab the 72-64 victory, but it was guard Jalin Suber '17 who really burst into the spotlight in the win.
Losing on Thursday set Singh's sights squarely on the game on Friday. The 6'7" wing said he has not eaten solid foods in days, but in his eyes, this was a game that he could not miss.
"Yesterday we lost and it's not good our league record if we lost today, so this was very important," Singh stated.
It was important for TMA, but for unbeaten in league play Eagle Academy, they were the ones who came out with something to prove it seemed.
Justin Jones '15 came out early and showed his range knocking down a pair of early triples as Eagle Academy was extremely confident in their perimeter shooting, being able to go inside/out and really get good open looks. When the looks weren't there, it was Jaquan Strong '15 who was able to weave his way through traffic and dominate in the open floor to hell give his squad an early 7 point lead.
The Panthers would bounce back and never let the deficit get too far away from them, but each time they got it to 1 or 2 it seemed an Eagle player came away with a big shot. Marquis DuBose '17 and Malcom Martinez '16 each had important buckets, especially in the 2nd quarter to really stem any momentum TMA could gather, and after Singh picked up his 3rd foul with just over 5 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter, he was put to the bench, and Eagle seemed comfortable once again as they were able to continue the pace of play and take a 33-28 lead into the half.
At the half, Singh said he knew it was time for him to say something to his team. He was on the bench for a long stretch in the 2nd quarter, but he knew he was coming back in, and he wasn't playing this game as sick as he was to lose, and that's exactly what he let his teammates know.
"I said to the team that I'm laying it all out there. I'm so sick and can't eat anything really, but I'm coming out and putting it all out for you," Singh passionately said. "I will pass out before we lose this game."
Thurgood Marshall coach Darryl Washington said he understood that Singh was fighting through the illness to be out on the floor for his teammates, but he felt confident someone would step up in the 2nd half, telling Singh to just go out and do the best he can.
"When you have a player like Veer, guys really depend on him, but with him being really sick I said just ride, it's going to be ok" Washington said.
All Singh had to do was be out there because the 3rd quarter ended up belonging to the young point guard Suber for TMA as he came out and knocked down 4 threes in the quarter, with each one seemingly bigger, and deeper, than the last. Singh also showed a nice perimeter touch, and Bryan Assie '16 used his strength and physicality to do a great job inside, but it was truly Suber who was the man, and he said his huge 2nd half was really due to his teammates confidence in him.
"The guys all gave me the confidence by saying if you got it, shoot it, so that's what I did," Suber said.
TMA turned a 5 point halftime deficit into a 10 point lead after three on the back of 14 points in the quarter from Suber to help put them over the top.
Eagle Academy did have their moments in the 4th quarter as a stingy press, and continued strong play from Strong helped get the Bronx based team within 6 on. Pair of occasions on the 4th, but clutch FT's from Singh, and a huge late pull up jumper by Suber, ended all hope for Eagle as the Panthers came up big when they needed it most to close out the 72-64 victory.
Suber had 23 points to lead TMA, 19 of which came in the 2nd half, while Singh and Assie each had double-doubles. Singh had 19 points and 10 rebounds, with Assie adding 16 points and 13 rebounds to help the Panthers have a commanding edge on the glass en route to the win.
Strong was the high man for Eagle Academy with 19 points, while Martinez and Jones each had nice games adding 11 and 10 points respectively in the loss.
The Panthers get the huge win they needed, and a huge star may have been born in Suber so all in all it was a great day for TMA who are still without the services of guard Daquaan Washington '15. The team is starting to come together, and with so many newcomers to the team, they are still trying to all come together, but when it does, and Washington believes it will, watch out, as he had a message to the rest of the league who may be watching his team.
"Anybody who wants us better get us now because we are young. But when the youngsters get more seasoned, and we get Daquaan back, it's going to get a little tougher for everyone else."