BROOKLYN, NY - Through overcast skies and dodging raindrops, the Conrad McRae Youth League got most of their games in on Sunday.
There were 3 games of note that stood out going in, and with some big names hitting the court, it was a good day of hoops on the blacktop.
Abraham Lincoln obliterates Monsignor Scanlon 73-37
The Railsplitters were without the services of Isaiah Whitehead, who was out on the west coast playing in the Under Armour camp, but even without him, they looked like a well oiled machine en route to the easy victory.
Early on it was rising senior Desi Rodriguez who was lighting things up for Lincoln. He threw down a thunderous one handed dunk early on, earning himself the title on Dunking Desi. Elijah Davis used his athleticism to power his way inside for a couple easy baskets early on, and the backcourt of rising senior A.J. Williams and rising sophomore newcomer Rakym Felder was explosive and quick to the rim as Lincoln took control early on.
George Pena, a very bright 5'7" rising sophomore floor general for Scanlon, was not afraid to get into the middle, driving and dishing, and though they struggled to finish as a team, Pena's court vision and understanding of the game shined through. Scanlon featured a pair of big kids in 6'9" rising junior Jonathan Nwankwo and 6'8" rising sophomore Emmanuel Chukwu. Nwankwo was more aggressive around the basket and the stronger of the two, but he struggled to finish in the paint as Lincoln would regularly throw 2 bodies at him and make him think a bit too much. Chukwu is more lanky and against the physicality inside of Lincoln, who was undersized, but very strong, he struggled to find a handle and against contact he couldn't finish.
Lincoln was up 15-9 after one, and ended up opening an 18 point lead up after 3. Felder, who played his H.S. ball in South Carolina last season, and is the younger brother of former Thomas Jefferson guard Davontay Grace, looked like he fit in well, especially in the 3rd, where he attacked the rim and showed beautiful finishing skills with both hands. Rodriguez, while not dunking much in this one, as not afraid to go at the Crusaders bigs, showing fearlessness and determination at the rim. He didn't shoot from the perimeter much, but clearly didn't need to.
Shaquille McFarlan had a big 2nd half as well showing he will be the lethal perimeter threat this season for Lincoln knocking down a couple of long treys as the Railsplitters continued to pull away and coasted home for the 73-37 win.
Rodriguez and Davis each had 18 a piece, with Felder and McFarlan adding 16 and 14 winners. Scanlon had just one in double figures with Nwankwo putting in 19 points and grabbing what must have been at least 12 rebounds.
Wings Academy clips Xaverian 40-35
This was the last game to finish before the rains ended the day, and while not a high scoring game, his game had a lot of energy and good defense from start to finish.
It was back and forth to start with Clippers rising junior Sayon Charles getting to the basket for an impressive finish early on, while Foday Sankaray, a strong and versatile wing for Wings, hit on a nice jumper off glass on early stages. The back and forth contest saw Wings up 12-10 after 1.
Desure Buie came on with determination driving in, finish against the Xaverian defense driving in, but not to be outdone, Rob Rossiter a tough 6'4" undersized 4 man for Xaverian, was putting in short putbacks on the inside, running up and down the floor well and was an all around pest for defenders. Buie hit a couple big shots late, and backcourt mate Corey Pierce also was able to do a nice job attacking the basket as Wings held a 3 point lead at the half.
Wings came out of the break though and opened it up. Buie and Pierce led the charge being aggressive on ball defenders and creating turnovers and finishing strong in the open court. Wings went on a 7-0 run and opened up a lewd as big as 12 late in the 3rd. Nyonty Wisseh, a good looking rising sophomore guard was able to hold his own though and stem the tide as Xaverian fought back to be down 10 after three.
It looked like Wings was in control but the Xaverian pressure defense stepped up and led by Charles, they dug their way out of a whole and got the game back to 3 with two minutes to go. Pierce hit on a big drive going lefty though to up it to 5 and it was too much to overcome then. In the closing seconds the rain started to fall a bit harder and the game was ended with Wings taking the 40-35 victory.
It was a true tam effort for Wings with Pierce leading the way with 10 points. Buie played gritty defense and added 9 as well. Charles was the high man in the game leading Xaverian with 13 points in defeat.
Brooklyn Collegiate knocks off Eagle Academy 67-55
On paper this wasn't suppose to be a game, but Eagle made Brooklyn Collegiate earn the W in this one, giving the Lions all they could handle.
Craig McKenzie, an aggressive 6'3" wing was dynamic in the early going for Collegiate, he got the ball on the baseline and finished strong each time in the 1st. Cheyenne Nettleton, a rising junior like most of the players on this team, was a true playmaker finding open guys and also sticking the mid range jumper, getting his team out to an early 6 point lead.
Eagle Academy though was tough on the ball with rising senior guards Dontrel Henry and Juwan Chapman time and time again slicing through defenses, and though they didn't always finish in the 1st half, they showed Bk Collegiate they weren't intimidated. A late showing Davere Creighton helped Brooklyn Collegiate as at 6'5" he was able to post up the smaller Eagle squad and score easy inside, but he also stepped out and showed a silky jumper before the break. Collegiate was up at the half, but only by 4 against a scrappy Eagle team.
Eagle actually came out for the 3rd quartet and flat out dominated the play. They were quicker to the rim, more aggressive defensively, and they started converting their shots going inside. Chapman was able to switch hands and finish at the rim, while Henry was an all around solid finisher, going inside or pulling up and hitting from 10-12 feet. Eagle went on a 13-2 run and actually took a lead as big as 9 in the 3rd on Bk Collegiate. It looked like Eagle might pull off the shocker of the tournament so far.
It looked that way but it wasn't to be. Eagle started to press a bit and take unwarranted jumpers, while Creighton took more assertiveness and hit on a pair of floaters going in. Nettleton calmed the team down and was a defensive wizard as well, and McKenzie finished some big drives as well. They went on a 10-0 run to start the 4th and never really looked back. Eagle showed thru have to be taken seriously, but the trio for the Lions was just too much late, helping Brooklyn Collegiate to the 67-55 win.
McKenzie led all scorers with 20, while Creighton and Nettleton added 14 and 12 respectively. Eagle showed they can be a tough out for anybody as well with Henry putting in 19 and Chapman scoring 16 of his own on the day.