As the NYC Hoops #8 ranked Kangaroos of Boys & Girls High School clung to a one point lead heading into the fourth quarter of Tuesday's showdown with the #2 ranked Lincoln Railsplitters, it was apparent that someone from either team would have to step up and take over the game.
Most would think it would be Lance Stephenson who already had more than half of his teams points heading into the final period; or Darwin Ellis who has hit numerous clutch shots during his three plus seasons at Lincoln. However, the player who rose to occasion was arguably the most unlikely of heroes.
That unlikely hero is Tyler Young.
The 6-foot-6 senior forward scored 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter as Boys & Girls defeated Lincoln 71 to 61. Young who averaged a shade under seven points per game entering Tuesdays contest got plenty of open looks from the foul line vicinity in the fourth quarter and he made the Railsplitters pay for leaving him open. "In the fourth I looked at the scoreboard and it was a close game. We wanted this win and we had to do what it took," Young told NYCHoops.net. "I stepped up but the rest of my team also stepped up. I didn't do it by myself."
Young's ability to step up was possible because of the hot shooting by teammates Anton Dickerson (13 points) and Mike Taylor. Taylor (19 points) was on fire in the first half scoring 15 points on five three pointers. In the second half, Lincoln tried to stop the sweet-shooting sophomore guard by reverting to a box and one defense. However, other players stepped up and made shots. "We knew they (Lincoln) would play that kind of defense and we practiced against it so our players were very comfortable with what they were seeing out there. It was nothing new to them," said Kangaroo assistant coach Elmer Anderson.
The Kangaroos were never flustered in the contest. Even after falling behind 12 to 4 as Stephenson (37 points) opened the game scoring the first 12 points for his team; Boys & Girls responded with and 13-5 to tie the game. They would trail by two points at the end of the first and by a single point at halftime thanks to a Lamount Samuell (10 points) lay-up to beat the first half buzzer.
Stephenson opened the second half strongly as he did in the first scoring the first four points for the Railsplitters to give them a five point lead. Kangaroo head coach Ruth Lovelace then called a timeout and her team responded with a 7-2 run to tie the game at 39. The two teams traded baskets for the majority of the quarter and Boys and Girls took a 50 to 49 advantage into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth with the box and one defense, seemingly working against Taylor (four points in the second half); Young made his presence felt. With 4:34 left to go in the final quarter, Devante Cutler found a wide-open Young under the basket for an easy dunk to give the Kangaroos a five-point lead. After a Stephenson dunk the other way; Young slipped behind the defense again for another easy dunk. However, the senior forward did the majority of his damage knocking down jumpers from 15 feet away. "I stay focused and that's what I was working on before the game. I was practicing my jumpers from the foul line because I knew I was going to get that all day," said Young. "They probably don't believe that I am a good shooter but as you can see I proved them wrong.
The Railsplitters practically gave Young the 15-foot jump shot and his ability to hit that shot with consistency throughout the game. However, his shooting consistency did not shock everyone. "I knew he was shooter and I saw him play in the summer," said Stephenson after the game. While everyone knew Young had great athletic ability; nobody knew that he was capable of the clutch shooting performance he displayed on Tuesday.
Regardless, the Kangaroos (6-1) are excited for Young's performance and the opportunity to hand Lincoln (5-1) their first PSAL loss of the season. "I knew they were capable of doing this," Lovelace said of her team. "It is a very important win but as I told my team, don't come out and have a let down on Thursday (versus South Shore)."
Tuesday was anything but a let down for the Kangaroos; yet it means nothing if they do not build on an uplifting victory.
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