BAYSIDE, NY - The final three tickets for the quarterfinals were cashed on Tuesday night in the Beacon 158 Back-to-School Classic.
The intensity was high as each of the schools were looking to make names for themselves as the tournament heads down the final stretch.
Holy Cross Out Thurgood Marshall Academy 64-60
If you had just seen the first 8 minutes of this game, you would've figured the Knights has blown out the Panthers, as Holy Cross couldn't miss in the early going, with Jermaine Bishop and Jamel Horton knocking down shots from the outside, and Knights big man Marshall Louis, who while slightly undersized for the 4 spot, was doing a big time job, and Holy Cross got out to a 22-6 lead early on.
TMA did start to find a rhythm midway through the first half with Drissa Cameron scoring on a scoop lay up along the baseline, and versatile wingman Dimencio Vaughn started to get on track, hitting a floater in the lane, and then stepping out and showing his range from the outside in banging home a three.
Bishop and Louis helped maintain the double digit lead for Holy Cross, but they were becoming less comfortable against the pressure, and it seemed like the game was still up for grabs, though the Knights led 38-27 at the half.
The Panthers slowly but surely started to chip away in the 2nd half, and it was the junior Vaughn who carried his team back in it. At the urging of coach Darryl Washington, who kept yelling out encouragement to his star, Vaughn took over.
First it was a wing three, then it was a baseline drive, then it was a pump fake, and two dribbles to a pull up jumper. Vaughn was bringing his team back in it. Bishop didn't seem to get as good of looks in the 2nd half, and the ball pressure that Thurgood Marshall was applying was making it tough for them to get the ball inside. When Cameron finished a putback attempt with 2:40 to go, the Holy Cross lead was down to 56-53, and it truly looked like anyone's ballgame.
Fortunately for the Knights, the young sophomore Horton came up big on the next possession knocking down a pull up jumper from about 12 feet to put Holy Cross back up 5. TMA came right back and kept getting the ball into the paint, and were getting fouled. They could've taken the lead if not for missed FT's that doomed them late, but they still did have a chance down the stretch.
Down 60-58 with under a minute to go, the Panthers got the ball back when Louis missed on a pair if FT's for the Knights. They got a decent look inside, but Vaughn missed, and then Daquaan Washington got the ball near the FT line, but his floater was blocker by Louis. Louis was then fouled, but he again missed 2 FT's. TMA though made a bad pass up the court and Christian Wilson picked off the pass and was fouled with 15 seconds to go. He sank his pair of FT's and that really was the icing on the cake.
Each side hit a basket in the closing seconds, and the Knights held on for the 4 point victory, punching their ticket for Wednesday's quarterfinals.
Bishop paced Holy Cross with 21 points in the win, with Louis and Horton adding 17 and 14 respectively.
In defeat, TMA was led by Vaughn, who had a game high 22.
John Bowne Eliminates St. Mary's 65-57
St. Mary's has lost two dynamic players in the last couple weeks with Jessie Govan transferring to Wings, and Devonte Green leaving for Long Island Lutheran, but the team had to play on without them here, and they won their opening round game over St. Edmund Prep, but the Wildcats of Bowne were just too mud to handle as they fell in this one by 8.
The Gaels got off to a nice start as guard Javin Barton scored on a pretty runner down the lane, and big man Nick Richards, who just a freshman, threw down a big dunk inside and St. Mary's went up early 16-11.
Luis Hernandez came alive for Bowne though, hitting a pair of threes from the wings, which really sparked the Wildcats offense. Khari Ojeda-Harvey started to get out in transition, and his speed was on full display as he effortlessly was able to beat defenders to the basket and finish going in. The two guards propelled a 13-3 John Bowne run to see them take a 24-19 lead.
New offensive weapons were going to have to step up for the Gaels, and the one who came up biggest late in the half was senior Stephen Milhaven. He was able to drain a three, and then drive baseline when the Bowne defense pressed up to respect his shooting. His 7 points late in the first half helped propel St. Mary's to a 34-31 lead at the break.
Ojeda-Harvey was the offense for a large stretch of the 2nd half, as his quickness and slashing ability were really giving St. Mary's problems. The Gaels defense seemed to be having issues in stopping the dynamic lead guard. Bowne was able to take a 46-44 lead off an Ojeda-Harvey floater, and then they never looked back.
Hamadou Diallo made sure the lead was maintained by John Bowne, as he was a prolific finisher from the outside his great range. St. Mary's was able to get as close as 5 on a couple of occasions in the closing few minutes, but John Bowne hit the shots they needed when it counted, and the Wildcats advanced to the quarters with the 65-57 win.
Hernandez led John Bowne with 15 points for the winners, while Ojeda-Harvey chipped in 13 as well.
For St. Mary's in the loss, they were led by the 14 points of Milhaven, with Richards adding 13 of his own.
Wings Academy Disrupts Brooklyn Law & Tech 64-43
Wings was up with 11:26 left in the opening half, 20-16, when an argument of a close call between one of the referees and Law and Tech coach Kenny Pretlow led to the ref leaving the gym. There was a 10 minute delay for a new referee to show up, and then the game resumed.
Wings was sloppy for large stretches early, and star guard Desure Buie played sparingly, seemingly being rested in this one, as the Bronx power was up just 33-27 at the half.
The game got away from Law and Tech in the 2nd half, as Matt Scott struggled getting into the lane, and while Juan Ramos got off to a good start in the early going, he quieted down, and Wings took over. Foday Sankaray was hot with the midrange jumper, and Randy Corporan pushed tempo and helped Wings go in a 14-0 run to pull away.
With Wings up 21 with 3:32 to play in the game, another close call that went against Law and Tech saw Pretlow get rung up for 2 technical fouls, which led to his ejection. A heated argument between the ref and Pretlow after that caused the decision to be made to end the game at that point, and Wings were the victors, advancing to tomorrow's quarterfinals.
Sankaray had a game high 19 points for Wings in the win, and Corporan added a solid 11 as well.
Ramos had 14 points for Brooklyn Law and Tech in the loss, pouring in 4 threes in the defeat.
The quarterfinals for the Beacon 158 Back to School Classic are on Wednesday. The schedule is as follows: