When it was all said and done on Sunday at the iS8/Nike Spring H.S. Classic, the Harlem Pride of New York would live up to their name against a stacked Playaz Club Juniors team.
Their primary hindrance would be them believing in themselves. Unfortunately, when they finally figured out that they could compete with the team from New Jersey they were already too deep into a hole, ultimately losing by twenty points.
The Playaz Club would go on an 8-0 run before Kareem Green would score from the charity strip for Harlem Pride.
In the warm up quarter at iS8, Dominic Cheek and the entire Playaz Club squad was doing just that. Getting hot. Very hot.
With 3:10 left an 8-0 run was followed by a 27-4 Playaz Club run as Harlem's pride was being severely challenged.
Playaz Club's Malik Wayns was a blaze from the perimeter while his teammate Tamir Jackson adeptly ran the offense. Biggs, Austin Johnson and Dylan Bulger, were also effective at cleaning up the boards and altering the Harlem Prides shots inside.
Chad Dunn would finally score for Harlem Pride as the first quarter ended with the Playaz Club up by an overwhelming 28 points.
The second quarter was slower offensively for the Playaz probably due to the preponderance of buckets scored in the first.
The Pride did seem to shake off the jitters by the middle of the second quarter as Malcolm "Snoop" Pope got hot from the outside while 6'8 Green banged in a few from inside the paint.
Wayns razzled dazzled for a lay-up followed by a three ball but by in large the Playaz Club became a bit complacent, thinking this game was in the bag.
Harlem Pride, on the other hand, became more physical as Kendell Craig got called for a flagrant foul while imposing himself on Johnson. A move which seemed to pump up the Harlem-based team.
Craig would then score a bucket on the inside and with 1:26 left, David Joseph would score an and-1 followed by a lay-up for the Harlem Pride.
Although still down 52-32 at the half, the Harlem Pride represented well in the second quarter and went into the locker room with a sense of 'pride' and accomplishment.
The Harlem Pride would come out in the second half and knock the Playaz Club's lead to 16 off of a three ball by Michael Lloyd.
The smallest man on the court, Gene Valeur, would strip Wayns clean at half court for a bucket as Pride was clearly into the game and surging.
Cheek would calm things down temporarily scoring two quick perimeter buckets and a lay-up to extend the Playaz Club's lead back up to 28.
Pope would score a jumper with 55 seconds left in the third which was preceded by yet another pick pocket and easy bucket by Valeur, this time on a surprised Dom Cheek.
Down by 23 points at the end of three quarters meant that if they would've played to their potential in the first quarter, the Harlem Pride might have been in this game with the Playaz Club by now.
Unfortunately, with one quarter left in regulation, 'pride' might be the only thing that would be salvageable by the Harlem Pride.
With 6:48 left, the Playaz Club was up by 18 points as the Pride was still pressing the action but big man Austin Johnson was countering in the paint for the NJ squad while Cheek was still stroking it well from the three point range.
With 2:50 left, and the Playaz Club still up by 20 points, there would simply not be enough time for Harlem Pride to comeback and time would finally run out with the final score being 106-86
Dominic Cheek led all scores with 33 points for the Playaz Club and Pope would put down 25 points for Harlem Pride in their losing effort.
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