basketball Edit

W.H.E.E.L.S. Runs Over Lions

Jeremiah Davis, Randy Crosby & Justin Soto
Jeremiah Davis, Randy Crosby & Justin Soto (M. Wingate)

NEW YORK, NY - The undefeated Brooklyn Collegiate train has been on a steady path as it plowed through teams since the start of the season. On Sunday, the Lions came into Brandeis HS as the marquee game of the Real Scout New Year’s Jamboree to face off against the W.H.E.E.L.S. Wolves, a PSAL Class AA team from Manhattan, with the agenda of adding an 11th notch on its string of victories.

The Wolves not only missed that memo but had a well planned agenda of its own that resulted in a 76 – 70 upset win over the #2 ranked Lions. “We came out and I thought for us to be the best team, we could be we’d have to play 32 minutes of man-to-man defense and we did,” said W.H.E.E.L.S. Head Coach Josh Krinsky. “We went toe-to-toe with them and we beat them.”

There were early warning signs that Brooklyn Collegiate did not see the boulder on its track blocking its way. Playing a 2-2-1 zone type defense against the Wolves, the Lions proceeded to get skewered from the perimeter by Jeremiah Davis ’20 and peppered mid-range by Randy Crosby ‘21.

The Lions had a decided height advantage over W.H.E.E.L.S. and used it effectively in the warm-up quarter as Jahmere Tripp ‘22 and Amahrie Simpkins ‘20 attacked the paint. Ahead by seven points to begin the second quarter, it appeared as if the coast was clear and it would be another smooth sail for the Brooklyn power.

“I told the team before the game, I said Let’s play a little Houston Rockets game. I wanna shoot forty threes tonight.,” said Krinsky. “I didn’t say that for no reason. We have really good shooters.” Expecting Brooklyn Collegiate to use their length to press, Coach Krinsky used his teams shooting ability to counter that strategy.

Where Davis and Crosby got hot in the first quarter Justin Soto ‘20 stepped up in the second quarter, proving he was also a dead-eye shooter as well. Mixing a perimeter game with hard and unexpected drives to the basket seemed to soften the Lions resolve and midway through the second, the Wolves were in front and took a 34 – 33 lead into the locker room”

In the third quarter, Brooklyn Collegiate looked vulnerable for the first time this season. Majesty Johnson ‘20 and Tahron Allen ‘21, who are usually the driving forces for the Lions didn’t leave much of an imprint. That and good spacing by W.H.E.E.L.S. left the Lions chasing their tails at times.

The Wolves smelled blood, increasing its lead to 7 points as the fourth quarter got underway. As opposed to living and dying by the jay, W.H.E.E.L.S. was living and thriving by the jay. Knocking down 10 three-balls as a team, unranked Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School aka W.H.E.E.L.S. would go on finally stop the Brooklyn Collegiate locomotive, handing the PSAL Brooklyn Class AA squad its first loss.

While the win against Brooklyn Collegiate wasn’t considered an in-league game, Coach Krinsky said he and his players understand the importance of the victory. “This was obviously a big win. Anytime you beat a double "A" Brooklyn team, it’s a big win and especially these guys. [Brooklyn Collegiate] went half a season without losing a game. That speaks for itself.”

Crosby led W.H.E.E.L.S. with a game high 31 points with Davis adding 21-points (7 treys) and Soto contributing 18-points. Brooklyn Collegiate was paced by Allen and Simpkins with 14-points respectively.