BAYSIDE, N.Y. - Although the season is not quite here, local high school players got in some preseason floor time on the gymnasium hardwood at Marie Curie Middle School 158 (Queens, N.Y.) for the M.S. 158 Back-to-School 2K13 Basketball Tournament on Friday.
The tournament pairs squads that normally would not meet during the regular season. These preseason contests serve as a great means of prepping for the upcoming season because the players get to match up against other players from different basketball styles and cultures. Last night, there were three games featuring usual powerhouse programs of New York City and Long Island.
Let's take a look at the contests.
Dozo (A) Smothers Molloy, 65-56
Dozo (A), consisting of players from Benjamin Cardozo High School (Bayside, N.Y), had more physical and aggressive threats on the floor than Archbishop Molloy H.S. (Briarwood, N.Y.), as the ball was shared and nicely moved around causing Molloy to chase opponents. Molloy's Jason Cethoute ('14) helped his team stay above water with a 12-point first half effort en route to a team-high 19-point performance. As a result, the squads appeared to be evenly matched as Dozo held a slight three-point advantage by halftime, 27-24.
Though Molloy worked to keep the deficit down, coming within two points, 29-27, in the opening ticks of the second half, a 3-pointer by Cardozo's Ray Salnave ('16) at the 18:46 mark of the second half would eventually bring Dozo up by six points, 34-28. Another play created by Salnave - this time on an assist to a teammate - gave Dozo an eight-point lead, 36-28.
Molloy, noticing the momentum building of Dozo, cut the water off long enough to come within six points. Still, recent transfer from St. Raymond HS, Jaquan McKennon ('15) restarted the offensive with a toughness basket under the rim with 14:55 on the clock. A soft-touch, teardrop floater by McKennon gave Dozo a nine-point lift, 40-31.
Teammate Salnave followed up the plays with a physical basket of his own at the rack. Because of its suffocating pressure defense, Cardozo was able to secure extra opportunities in transition and continue its offensive grind, crowning what became a 10-3 run with a 13-point lead, 44-31.
Dozo went on to earn as much as 17-point advantage, 55-38, with 3:48 left in the game. Molloy's C.J. Davis ('14) attempted to save the sinking ship, but his 10-point, second half effort was not enough to heave his team out of the deep hole Dozo dug.
Dozo (A) saw superb contributions from McKennon, who scored a game-high 21 points, and Salnave, who netted 19. Molloy's Davis finished with 14 points, while teammate Gabriel Kilpatrick ('14) added 11 points.
Holy Cross Dominates SJB, 61-48
Holy Cross (Flushing, N.Y.) shot off to an early 5-0 lead, and was later able to extend that advantage to six points, 11-5, at the 9:40 mark of the primary stanza. SJB, which comprises players from St. John the Baptist H.S. (West Islip, N.Y.), sliced the deficit to two points, 15-13, about two minutes later.
Still, Holy Cross built on its momentum with major assistance from 6-foot-4 middle man Marshall Louis ('14). Louis had a dominating performance posting 14 of his team-high 21 points in the first half. His efforts aided Holy Cross in earning as much as a seven-point lead, 26-19, with about a minute remaining in the half.
SJB's 5-foot-9 guard Tavon Ginyard ('15) matched Louis' first-half offensive production, with 14 first-half points of his own en-route to a game-high 25 points. Just before the close of the half, teammate Brendan Erhart ('15) chipped in with a deuce to slow Holy Cross' pace, but Holy Cross still went into the break with a three-point lead, 26-23.
In the second half, Holy Cross was able to effectively force SJB away from the interior. Despite Ginyard and, at times, teammate Kevin Crockett (Xaverian H.S. (N.Y.) '14), forcing shots down, Holy Cross went on a 19-7 surge that left SJB down by 15 points, 45-30, with 11:29 on the clock.
SJB trailed by as much as 17 points, 59-42, with about two minutes remaining in the game.
SJB's Crockett had nine points in the loss.
LuHi Nixes Wings, 48-36
The last nightcap matchup between LuHi, which consisted of players from Long Island Lutheran High School (N.Y.), and Wings, comprising players from Wings Academy (Bronx, N.Y.), was the most competitive contest of all the games. LuHi and Wings bumped heads from the outset, playing tight defensive sets and keeping the scores low on both ends.
Although LuHi held a slight early lead, Wings came within one point, 13-12, when Desure Buie ('15) netted a bucket, earned the and-1, but missed the opportunity to tie the game. Wings played strong defense on LuHi in the backcourt. However, when LuHi missed shot attempts, Wings failed to get the needed boards to get a rhythm going. Instead, LuHi's Marvin Prochet ('15), a recent transfer from Boys & Girls HS, was there to help clean the glass and stick in putbacks.
When Wings had the possession, some players did not move around to create space for their point guard to pass, pick or pop. And, as a result, he got stuck on the perimeter in a trap or dribbled into traffic.
Lack of rebounds and turnovers led to Wings trailing by 11 points, 25-14.
By the 14:04 mark of the second half, LuHi had increased its advantage to as much as 16 points, 32-16. Despite a 15-point, second half effort by Buie, Wings could only chop down the deficit to as low as nine points, 36-27, on a bucket by teammate Foday Sankaray ('14) with 6:40 left in the game.
LuHi's Prochet recorded a team-high 14 points, while teammate Tim Quashie ('14) added 10 points in the win. Wings' Buie posted a game-high 18 points, while Sankaray finished with 10 points.