In the first Friday night of action at the 2010 iS8/Nike Tip-Off Fall Classic, a few teams with big names didn't bring their games. The results saw undersized teams with less buzz knock off teams with more star power and bigger reputations.
Bunky Reid Sends NIA To Paris
"Come on, let's get these guys out of here!"
The pre-game words coming from the NIA Prep bench would have one assume that they were in for a leisurely victory against a smaller and less prospect heavy Bunky Reid All-Stars team. Instead, the spring semi-finalists received a 73-67 loss and a postcard that read "From Paris, with love" in their first game back at iS8. A solid collective effort from the Long Island based Bunky Reid unit was only outpaced by a 34 point typhoon from 6'2 shooting guard Paris Abrams.
"People come to iS8 with talented and high powered teams", said Bunky Reid Head Coach Mike Jackson. "We may not have the most talent, but I make sure I coach the talent I have in a way that I can get the best out of them."
Abrams (a former Westbury HS standout) wasted no time getting buckets, foregoing his long range tendencies for buckets around the hoop. He was matched by an even more explosive start from NIA guard Deon Maddox, who put points on the board in a variety of ways to keep things even. Maddox got some help from Shaquille Thomas, who gave NIA a 13-12 lead with a thunderous dunk and would display a crisp mid-range touch throughout the second quarter to keep the game within reach. But after he tied the game at 21, NIA would never hold a lead again. Bunky Reid exploited the track meet pace and clamped down the New Jersey squad defensively, as Thomas was the lone threat for the remainder of the first half. Meanwhile, Abrams thawed out his trademark three pointer while 6'4 senior wing Chavaughn Lewis (St. Mary's HS) began to stab through the defense with a series of tough glides to the hoop. His St. Mary's teammate Charles McCann secured a hefty helping of offensive boards for the undersized Bunky Reid, and after 16 minutes, NIA's pre-game jeer wasn't looking all too prophetic.
The super-athletic NIA conjured up a quick 8-0 run -capped by a mean (and posterizing) dunk from strong guard Kelvin Amayo- to start the second half and quickly pulled themselves out of the nine point ditch they went into the locker room with. However, despite pulling within a point (38-37), they never got over the hump. A knock down trey from Shamoy McIntosh (Floral Park HS), a stop and pop mid-range jumper from Abrams and a free throw a piece from McCann and Lewis made it an 8 point game again, and before the period ended, NIA received more bad news from Paris. A corner three from the sharpshooter secured a 54-41 Bunky Reid lead -their largest of the game- and the LI team's zone defense and ability to scrap for rebounds presented a snafu for NIA.
An explosive fourth quarter from Amayo was enough to keep the game interesting, and NIA were able to pull within five, 61-56. But it was none other than Abrams who cashed in with another huge corner three and pair of key free throws (in an otherwise abysmal fourth quarter from the stripe for Bunky Reid) to stifle NIA's momentum. McCann took a big charge and St. Mary's PG Dante Agnew doled out a pair of key assists, both of which were also factors in pulling Bunky Reid out of danger. The LI unit would continue to be aggressive and get to the line as time wound down as well. The results were tepid -Abrams would've either reached or come a hair within the 40 point mark had he sunk all of his freebies- but they were enough to keep NIA at bay and nullify their foregone conclusion.
"My guys came to play tonight", said Coach Jackson. "This is big win for us, (NIA) were in final four last spring."
Abrams had solid help from his Bunky Reid teammates Lewis (17 points), McCann (11 points and a large helping of rebounds) and McIntosh (8 points). Amayo led NIA Prep with 17 points (13 of which were in the fourth quarter), while Thomas added 16.
Riverside Sinks New Heights Gold
In similar fashion, the early game saw an undersized but defensively sound and hard working Riverside unit get the best of New Heights (Gold), 55-51.
Riverside drew first blood with an early 11-3 lead, earned by a potent zone defense and a willingness to hustle that trumped their size and athleticism disadvantages. But the game would become one built on a conflicting mix of sloppiness and runs, and New Heights Gold began to reap the benefits of their press to make an 8-2 run to close the first quarter.
Neither team could escape the turnover bug or a scoring drought, and Riverside's hustle would cancel out NHG's press. However, NHG got some mid-second quarter juice from their press-induced turnovers, and Davontay Dunham (Bishop Loughlin) was able to convert a flurry of steals into transition buckets to the tune of a 10-0 run. NHG secured a 28-16 lead, but the pendulum would swing back to Riverside by half's end. Ryan Frankel (Collegiate HS) and Grady Smith chimed in with some much needed three point shooting -with the former's trey coming at the halftime buzzer- and Riverside made it a 28-24 game.
Bradley Gifford -one of Riverside's few players over 6'0- came out possessed in the second half, fighting feverishly for boards and pounding in points in the paint. Dunham, Joel Ansus and Rice's Emmanuel Andujar all chipped in to keep NHG afloat, but Riverside continued to hustle and inch back into the game via a 9-0 run. A flurry of turnovers, poor shots and sloppy possessions kept things even, as the teams canceled each other out to close the third period.
Both teams would continue to go tit for tat in the fourth quarter, with neither unit leading by more than three points. For every key NHG bucket, the 5'9 Frankel would answer with a back breaking three-pointer to cool things off. His third trey of the quarter was the biggest of the game, as it tied the match at 50 with 35 seconds left. NHG PG Tyleik Kimbush was whistled for a double dribble with 27 seconds left, but Riverside was again bitten by the turnover bug and failed to capitalize. Kimbush went 1-2 from the stripe to give NHG a 51-50 lead with time running down, but Dunham unwisely fouled Gifford shooting a desperation three pointer. The mistake cost NHG the game, as Gifford sunk all three clutch free throws and converted a lay-up for good measure to close out the contest.
Gifford's 15 points and Frankel's 14 led Riverside. New Heights Gold were led by Dunham's 13 points, Ansus' 12 and Andujar's 11.