By PETER ABRAHAM The Journal News MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- There were only 37 fans at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center yesterday morning to see the Mount Vernon boys basketball team take on St. Raymond's. Well, 38 if you count the Dominos Pizza driver who watched the first quarter after delivering his pies to the concession stand. The 11:15 a.m. game in the loser's bracket of the Beach Ball Classic didn't draw a fraction of the attention it would have back in New York, where the two schools, only eight miles apart, are annually among the best. "Nobody was here but it was a great New York basketball game,'' Ravens coach Gary DeCesare said after his team outlasted the Knights 76-69. "That was a game both teams got a lot from.'' More so St. Raymond's, which took the lead for good midway through the fourth quarter. The Ravens (5-4) came in having lost three straight and played with an ounce or two more of urgency than the Knights (4-4). "The only thing I'm disappointed in is the outcome,'' said Mount Vernon coach Bob Cimmino, whose team went 0-3 in the Classic. "We made some mistakes down the stretch and we missed an opportunity to put them away earlier in the game. But I think we're a better team now than before this tournament.'' The matchup brought together the top two contenders for New York player of the year honors in 6-2 Mount Vernon guard Ben Gordon and 6-6 St. Raymond's swingman Julius Hodge, who drew each other defensively. Call it a draw. Gordon (20 points, six rebounds, six assists, four steals) outplayed an often-tentative Hodge (10 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals) but the Ravens won the game. "It was fun to watch those two go at each other,'' Mount Vernon junior Will Cherry said. "There were a couple of times it got personal.'' As the two senior stars battled, Cherry scored 27 points. He hit five more 3-pointers yesterday and finished the tournament with a record 15. "It feels great to set a record in a big-time tournament,'' said Cherry, who averaged 24 points in the three games. "I never would have expected it.'' The Knights led by as many as eight points early in the third quarter and seemed primed to pull away. DeCesare grew so desperate for a solution that he benched Hodge. "Julius' shot was flat and he was dragging,'' DeCesare said. "We've played a lot of games lately and there is wear and tear.'' The Ravens played better without Hodge as junior Davonne Folks scored eight of his 15 points in the third quarter. Another young player, sophomore guard Daon Merritt, had five points as the Ravens closed to within 54-51 going into the final eight minutes. "The third quarter was probably where we lost it,'' Gordon said. "Our basketball I.Q. sometimes isn't very high and we let things get away from us.'' Hodge returned 44 seconds into the fourth quarter charged with defending Gordon. He did the job, holding his rival to one field goal in the quarter. "That's all I asked Julius to do, keep Ben from beating us,'' DeCesare said. "I think he did that.'' St. Raymond's took the lead when Merritt (17 points) scored inside with 4:40 to go. Hodge followed with a 3-pointer and the Ravens were up 63-59. The Knights never got closer than two points from there. Mount Vernon had its chances but made only 10 of 16 free throws in the fourth quarter and committed several ill-timed turnovers. "The free throws hurt us,'' Cimmino said. "You can't beat a team like St. Ray's if you make mistakes like that.'' The most telling factors were strength and depth. The Ravens grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and turned them into 12 points. St. Raymond's also outscored Mount Vernon 28-8 off the bench led by Folks and Anthony Epps (12 points). Notes: The game was the first meeting between the Ravens and Knights since the 1991 Class A Federation final, won by the Knights. Gordon finished the tournament with 53 points in the three games on 19-of-53 shooting. "I'm a little concerned about my percentage,'' he said. "I need to take better shots and not force as many.''
12/23 Gaucho Classic
Four boys games four blowouts. The first blowout was between Paramus Catholic (NJ) and Frederick Douglass Academy. Abdoulaye Fall, cousin of Boys & Girls star Amadou Fall, is indeed at Paramus Catholic. Sophomore Malcolm Jones fromerly of Holy Cross is also at Paramus Catholic. Anyway the game was over quickly and Frederick Douglass went on to win by about 35. Sophomre Jakiem Washington looked like the best player early on for FDA. Junior Alonzo Brown also played very well for FDA. The second game featured "Showtime" Hill of Cardozo, I will no longer refer to him as Darryl after finally seeing him at his best. Showtime was coming of a 50 point game and a 42 point game. Showtime was responsible for the Judges first 15 points, with 11 points and 2 assists. He had 17 points at the end of the half and Cardozo led over Columbus 38-34 at the half. Senior Jermaine Harris playver very well for Columbus in the half. Cardozo broke the game open to start the second half going on a 15-0 run to put the game away. The only thing left to decide was if Showtime would get his 3rd straight 40+ point game. The answer to that question was yes, he ended up with 41 and about 8 assists. On one play he stumbled backwards to the floor and still kept his dribble behind his back before getting the timeout. Cardozo won the game by over 20. The 3rd boys game was a matchup between Eastside (NJ) vs. Robeson. Robeson had what is the closest to their whole team of the season, and because of this they looked like the team that many were predicting would win the not just the PSAL but the state championship. Gary Ervin, Kenny Adeleke and Anthony Williams all dominated in this game. Ervin scored 9 in the first quarter and Adeleke had 8 at the end of the quarter. Adeleke ended the half with 15 points and 3 blocks. I'm not sure how much Williams had but he got to the basket when he wanted to. At the end of the game Adeleke had 25 points 15 rebounds and 4 blocks. One kid on Eastside played very well but I don't know his name, he wears #44, so if anybody knows his name please email me. The final score of the game was 84-59. The final game was supposed to be the best and most evenly matched game. The game pitted Lincoln against All Hallows. The first game was a boring half as the score was only 23-19 in All Hallows favor. John Quintana scored 10 or 12 of Lincoln's first half points. While the Freshman phenom Sebastian Telfair was held scoreless and shot the ball terribly. Marvin McCullough played very well in the half scoring all of his 7 points in the final 4 minutes of the 2nd quarter. Junior Kiril Washman also played well for the Gaels scoring 8 points in the half. The pace of the second half picked up which would seemingly favor Lincoln but that was not the case as Telfair continued to mis-fire and Quintana couldn't hit a shot. All Hallows began forcing turnovers with their press and they handled Lincoln's press the entire game. Bobby Santiago and Soliva played well in the second half, as the Gaels routed Lincoln 73-48, outscoring Lincoln 50-29 in the second half. Telfair ended the game with about 6 points for Lincoln. All Hallows has gotten two big wins this week, 1 over Xaverian who beat Bishop Loughlin on Friday, and now this blowout over Lincoln. This is a good game for Lincoln as they now know they can't play bad and win. But the chances of Quintana, Telfair, Sam Mielnik and Doug Robinson all having bad game in the same game again are very unlikely. 12/22 St. Anthony vs. Cardinal Hayes
This game was a blowout from the start, the only time the game was tied was at 2, then St. Ant's went on a 17-1 run to end the quarter. Elijah Ingram scored 11 of the 19 points. Ingram continued his stellar play in the second quarter scoring 8 of his team's 12 points, while Dwayne Lee scored the other 4. Ingram and Lee combined to score 27 of the 31 points St. Ant's scored in the first half, to take a 31-12 lead with 2 quarter to play. At one point early in the 3rd quarter, Lee had as much as Hayes, 12, and Ingram had them by 7 with 19. St. Anthony would win the game 60-38, because of the 8-0 run Hayes went on with about a minute left in the game. Ingram finished with 22 with 4 3's and didn't play in the 4th, while Dwayne Lee scored 15.
12/18 James P. Sullivan Classic
The Boys & Girls vs. Manhanttan Center was a tough game to watch, because of the 49 turnovers committed by the 2 teams combined, and the low score of 40-32, with a lot of missed layups. On the first play of the game Tommie Eddie missed a 3 but on his way down he turned his ankle, and would sit out the rest of the quarter. Manhanttan Center was able to take advantage and took a 14-7 lead into the second quarter. The second half was a very sloppy quarter as was pretty much every other quarter. Amadou Fall played excellent in the quarter bringing Boys & Girls within 3 at the break 21-18. Eddie tookover in the 3rd quarter hitting a couple of 3's and making a layup inside to give the Kangaroos a lead going into the final period. Manhanttan Center never could regain the lead in the 4th quarter, because of many missed layups and many turnovers. Manhattan Center lost 40-32, Malik McCullough scored 12 to lead them. Eddie scored 14 and won the MVP of the game, Fall added 12 for Boys & Girls. In the best game of the day Wadleigh took on John Jay. John Jay came out in the first quarter bombing 3's mainly by Nerol Wilson who finished with 19. Wadliegh hurt themselves early on as Chauncey Shirley was looking to dunk everytime he touched the ball, and not just take the simple layup. As a result of this he cost Tigers at least 6 points. John Jay built a double digit lead in the second quarter before Jason Romer caught firer for Wadleigh. At one point he scored about 11 straight points for the Tigers on jumpshots to pull them within 2 at the break, at 31-29. Romer had 17 at the half. The teams basically traded baskets for the whole second half, so with 4.6 seconds left John Jay led by 2 with Wadliegh having to go the full length of the court. But if anybody can get up the court in that time it's Kendell Provet. But Kendell didn't even need that much time, he got the ball up the court in about 3 seconds and dished it off to Shirley who slammed it in at the buzzer to send the game to overtime. Wadliegh took over in the overtime and went on to win 69-66, the final score was made on a 3 with about 6 seconds left. Romer led all scores with 22, and Shirley scored 21. Wilson led John Jay with 19 while Herbert Kee added 13. In the first high school game, Gompers defeated St. John the Baptist 43-42. 12/17 James P. Sullivan Classic
The first game of the high school tournament was Boys & Girls vs. Gompers. After a free throw by Tyrell Cruz, Tommie Eddie would be the only one to score for the Kangaroos for the rest of the first quarter. His 14 points in the quarter gave Boys & Girls a 15-10 lead at the end of the 1st. Eddie would end up scoring 20 of the team's first 26 points before coming out the game, at which point they lead by 12. Donnell Hunt would pick up the slack by scoring 8 points in the quarter, to help Boys & Girls maintain a 12 point lead at the half. In The second half Boys & Girls opened up an 18 point lead before Gompers went on a run to cut the lead 9, but they could get no closer and the Kangaroos would win by 13. I left at half time of the Roosevelt vs. Wadleigh game with Roosevelt up by 16 at that point. The main reason for that lead was Kendell Provet did not get to the game until the end of the first quarter, and did not play until 2 minutes into the 2nd quarter. Ed Berrios and Mark Felder played very well in the first half, both scoring in double digits.
12/16 St. Dominic @ St. Ray's
St. Dominic started the game off on a 10-0 run and looked as if they were going to run St. Ray's out of the their gym. Mike Grinnon scored the first 6 points of the opening quarter run on 2 3's. The Bayhawks led by 11 at the end of the first 17-6. Julius Hodge came out firing in the second quarter, scoring 14 of the Ravens 28 points in the quarter as he ended the half with 18. A Hodge 3 made the score 26-23 in favor of St. Dom's but they would go on a 8-0 run to make the bring the lead back to 11. At the end of the half St. Dom's led by 8. St. Ray's started the 3rd quarter on an 11-0 run to take their first lead of the game. But to the Bayhawks credit they never folded, and stuck with St. Ray's for the rest of the game behind Mike Grinnon who finished with 22 points and 7 rebounds, and Tim Doyle who had a triple double with 23 points 12 rebounds and 11 assists, but he also had 13 turnovers. In the closing seconds of the 4th quarter St. Dom's trailed by 3. Grinnon of course was the man who had the ball in his hands at the end. Grinnon went around a screen and canned the game tying 3 to send the game to overtime. Once again the overtime came down to the last shot by Mike Grinnon and once again he was able to score. This time it was a baseline 10 footer which sent the game to a second overtime. In the second overtime Grinnon fouled out for the Bayhawks and Allan Ray fouled out for the Ravens with a solid 13 points. Trailing by 1 and with the ball St. Ray's went to Chris McRae (9 points) who hit a 3 to give them a 2 point lead with around a minute to go. St. Dom's would answer to tie the game up. For the first time St. Ray's had the last chance to win the game and of course they went to Hodge who couldn't connect on a difficult 3-point shot. In his first game with St. Ray's Daon Merritt was in the game when it mattered. He played the whole 3rd overtime and did a great job, scoring 3 points and having an assist in that overtime period, he ended the game with 7 points, and ran the point solidly in the 4th quarter and overtime periods.. Tim Doyle had an excellent 3rd overtime scoring the Bayhawks first 5 points. Trailing by 2 with under a minute to go, Daon Merritt took the ball to the basket and threw up a wild layup which spun around the rim 3 times before dropping to tie the game up. St. Ray's would get the ball back with about 30 seconds left with the score still tied. Hodge despite having just 3 points in the overtimes up to that point had the ball in his hands. Hodge started his move to the basket with about 7 seconds left on the clock, as he went to pass the ball to an open Anthony Epps for the 3, he was fouled and sent to the line with .9 seconds left. Hodge calmly sank both free throws to give St. Ray's a 89-87 lead. Hodge ended the game with 33 points and 13 rebounds. Jay Harper also played well for St. Ray's scoring 11 points. In the JV game St. Dominic blew away St. Raymond by 18. Miguel Garcia and Wesley Wicks played well for the Ravens. #14 on St. Dominic played well but I do not know his name. 12/10 Dianne Brennan Invitational @ Fordham University
To my surprise the first game of the day was unable to bring in the big crowd. At tip off there were less than 100 people in the gym. I for one was not going to miss the chance to see the best 3 point shooting backcourt in the city with Sebastian Telfair and John Quintana. I was not dissapointed as both hit 2 3's in the first quarter. At the end of the first half Quintana had 15 points and Telfair 10 and Lincoln led LaSalle by 10.Doug Robinson did not play in the first half but started the second half. The first possesion of the half Robinson hit a 3, which was 1 of his 4 int he second half, as he scored 17 in the half. Quintana and Telfair continued to score as they ended with 24 and 22 respectively. Sam Mielnik also played well for Lincoln with 3 dunks and about 10 rebounds. Anthony Strong, Olabode Olukanni and 6'6 senior forward Robert Badger all sat out for various reasons. Watching this game I realized Famous Brown was better as an 8th grader than he is now. He isn't even a division 1 calibur player anymore, I won't be surprised if he goes to a division 1 school because he used to be one of the best. In the girls game Christ the King won easily 79-40. Clare Droesch was the MVP with 22 points. Molloy and St. Dominic met in what was probably the most evenly matched game. Tim Doyle came out on fire for St. Dom's with 12 points in the first quarter. In the second quarter St. Dom's began to pull away as they opened up a 34-19 lead. But Molloy was able to go on a 10-1 run to close the lead to 6 at the half. The Bayhawks opened the second half on a 6-0 run but that run was answered with a 6-0 run by Molloy. The early portion of the 4th quarter was controlled by Doyle and Mike Grinnon. With slighthly under 2 minutes left Molloy trailed by 10 and finally woke up. John Sikeric and Kevin Diffley combined to hit 3 3's in that time and somehow were able to force the game in to overtime. The Bayhawks started the overtime with a 6-0 run seemingly putting the game away. But Jamaal Wagner hit a 3, and another Stanner basket made the lead just 1. Molloy had the chance to take the lead but Wendell Gibson missed a layup but the Stanners were able to grab the rebound and called timeout. The play was designed to go to Gibson but the entry pass was stolen and St. Dom's went on to win 70-66 as Tim Doyle was named the MVP scoring 23 points, Mike Grinnon added 17. Brian Houlihan also playe well for the Bayhawks. Diffley led Molloy with 18, Gibson and Sikeric added 15 and 14 respectively. For some reason Marlon Smith and John Jemmott did not play that much at all and Kevin Hamilton barely played in the second half. The final game of the day was St. Ray's vs. Bishop Loughlin. St. Ray's entered the game without Daon Merritt who will play Friday against St. Dominic, Elijah Muldruw and Paul Nickerson who both should will also play on Friday. Less than half way through the first quarter Julius Hodge picked up his second foul and had to take a seat before taking a shot. Chris McRae picked up the slack scoring 13 points in the first half. Hodge would only score 5 in the half. For Loughlin Curtis Sumpter came out looking better than I have ever seen him. He was being very aggresive but in the first half he really couldn't find his shot although he scored 10 in the half. The score at the end of the 1st quarter was 18-17 on a Jay Harper 3 at the buzzer. St. Ray's would get another buzzer beater at the end of the second quarter when Davonne Folks hit a deep two to give St. Ray's a 1 point lead. Ted Munford also played well in the first half scoring 11. Chris McRae came out firing in the 3rd quarter putting up 10 in the quarter. But Curtis Sumpter fired just as much scoring 9 in the quarter. But the biggest number in the quarter was the 0 next to Hodge's name. St. Ray's took a 1 point lead early in the 4th quarter before Loughlin went on a 10-0 run capped by a Teddy Munford 4-point play. Julius Hodge woke up too late as he scored 9 points in the 4th quarter on 3 3's. But it was too little too late as Loughlin won the game 77-66. Timeke Mitchell played very well scoring 15 points and grabbing about 12 boards. After the last two days I am convinced that Mitchell is the best offensive rebounder in the city, including Kenny Adeleke. Sumpter finally showed the killer instinct that seperated Lenny Cooke from him. If Sumpter continues to play like this all I have to say is the rest of the city better look out. Teddy Munford won the MVP of the game with 21 points. Chris McRae looked like the player everyone expected him to be last year, so if he continues to play like that and Hodge can play his "A" game St. Ray's will have no trouble repeating as CHSAA champions. 12/9 Kingsmen Shootout @ Nazareth
The marquee game of the day was Bishop Loughling vs. Grady. Loughlin fell behind 24-16 before going on a 9-0 run to take a 25-24 lead at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter was a different story, Loughlin could not keep up with the pace. Grady went on a 14-0 run to take a 38-24 lead and took a 50-32 lead in to the half. Loughlin played Grady tough in the second half but could never recover from the second quartera nd fell 88-78. Timeke Mitchell scored 29, Ted Munford had 21 and Curtis Sumpter scored 18 in the loss. Woody Souffrant scored 29 on six 3's and got 15, 14 and 12 from Tyquawn Goode, Quincy Douby and Mike Clarke respectively. Cory Cromer also played an excellent game with his handling of the press. Loughlin was able to play with Grady for 3 of the 4 quarters but that 2nd quarter when they were outscored by 19 was too much to overcome. Boys & Girls took on St. Edmund in the best game of the day. For much of the game St. Edmund looked as if they would win, with Andreas Pope looking like the Pope of old, and Chris Bernard and Matt Vitale playing well. But at the end of the 3rd quarter Tommie Eddie began to find his stroke. He hit 3 straight 3's over the 3rd and 4th quarter. The game came down to the end with St. Edmund leading by 2 with 7 seconds left when Boys & Girls got the ball. The ball ended up in Donnell Hunt's hands and he nailed the game winning 3 at the buzzer. The next game was just a showcase for Rashad Bell as he put up 38 points in many different ways. He hit 3's made shots in the lane, offensive put backs and hit many free throws. The game wasn't close as St. Francis won by over 20. The Robeson vs. Poly Prep game ended up being much better than previously thought. The first half was a battle between Kenny Adeleke and Keith Williams. Williams showed no fear of Adeleke knocking jumpshot after jumpshot in his face ending the half with 14. Adeleke was too strong in the post grabbing offensive rebounds and putting them back. At the half Robeson led by 5. The 3rd quarter was all Robeson as Williams faded scoring 0 in the quarter. Robeson built a double digit lead. In The 4th quarter Daniel Green tried to bring Poly Prep back scoring 8 in the quarter and finished with 19. Gary Earvin hit his free throws down the stretch and Robeson won by 10 but the game was closer than the score. 12/3 Junius Kellogg Classic
In the second game of the Junius Kellogg classic Molloy took on Amittyville. Amittyville jumped out to an early 9-2 lead behind 4 points from Jason Fraser (6'9 C). But those 9 points would be the last points they would score for a very long time as Molloy went on an amazing 24-0 run ignited by a Marlon Smith (5'10 PG) 3. John Sikeric's (6'4 SG) outside shooting and the inside play of Wendell Gibson (6'7 C) and John Jemmot (6'4 PF). The run lasted about 7 minutes over the first and second quarters. During the run Amittyville had many chances to score but could convert on open 3s and free throws. However Tristan Smith (6'1 PG) would bring his team back and they would trail Molloy by 10 at the break. In the third quarter the two teams exchanged baskets. Amittyville was still led by Smith int he second half and Molloy was led by Sikeric and Jemmot. Molloy would pull away in the 4th quarter in order to win 68-55. The third game was between Rice and Kennedy. Kennedy despite not having Lou Rodriguez (6'4 SF) (who will be cleared to play on Monday) mangaed to play Rice very tough in the first half. Samuel Moise (6'4 SF) and Shariff Shittu (6'4 SG) played excellent for Kennedy. Shittu from the perimeter and Moise showed no fear of 7'2 Shagari Alleyne by taking the ball to him time after time. In the first half Keydren Clark (5'8 PG) Andre Vanterpool (6'4 SF) and Alleyne played well for Rice. Rice led by just 6 at the half 36-30. The second half was different story as Rice pulled away behind Clark, Jason Wingate (6'0 PG) and domination down low from Alleyne. Alleyne ended the game with at least 5 dunks and 18 points as he gained MVP honors for the game. Rice won the game 72-54. Kennedy showed they will be tough to beat once they get Rodriguez. The first game I didn't get to until the 4th quarter because I had prior engagements. Bishop Loughlin won the game 68-52 over Manhattan Center. From what I heard about the game J'son Stamper (6'5 SF) opened a lot of eyes. Teddy Munford was the MVP of the game. 12/1 Amittyville vs. JFK Catholic (Scrimmage) By Matt Grasso
On Thursday at Amityville H.S. JFK Catholic scrimmaged the defending state champions Amityville Warriorrs. It was a big game for both schools considering they are both two of the top 5 class "B" teams in NYS. The final after 4 quarters of first team against first team was JFK 59- Amityville 49. Both teams went at each other as if it was a real game. Both teams looked good and will probably be back to Glens Falls. The scoring was led by Donnie McGrath of JFK with 25 points and at least a dozen dimes, Jason Fraser of Amityville finished with 20 points and about 10 boards at least. Other major contributors in the game were: JFK- Brian ODonell with 17 points, and great defense on Fraser by Bob Serafin. AMITYVILLE- Tristian Smith distributed the ball well and finished with 10 points. This game proved a lot for JFK. They showed they are one of the top teams in the metropolitan area and that they will contend for the state championship. Amityville showed many good signs as well. Fraser looked as good as ever. He probably had 10 blocks. After the game I spoke to Fraser and he said his favorite schools so far are UNC, Duke, Cincinatti, and Illinois. Tristian Smith is a good division 1 prospect as well. McGrath of JFK likes St Johns, Notre Dame, University of Virginia and others. Odonell and Serafin are also division 1 prospects. It should be a fun season for both teams.
11/25 Kangaroo Classic
The first game of the Kangaroo Classic was Canarsie vs. Bishop Loughlin. The first quarter was slow paced with the score at the end of the quarter 8-6 in favor of Canarsie. Curtis Sumpter picked up his second foul in the quarter and would not play much in the second quarter but when he did come back he picked up his 3rd foul on his first defensive play. After Sumpter went back out Canarsie took control of the game and went on a 11-2 run to make the score 25-18 with 30 seconds left in the half. Loughlin would score the final bucket to make the score 25-20 at the half. Loughlin came out in the second half with Curtis Sumpter on the line up and ripped off 10 straight points to take a 30-25 lead and would never trail again. Loughlin received great inside play from Timeke Mitchell who scored 14 points and grabbed 8 boards in winning MVP honors for the first game. Canarsie received great play from point guard Rob White, who didn't have spectacular numbers but it was clear when he had the ball in his hand Canarsie was in much better shape. In the 3rd quarter when Canarsie was outscored by 15 they often failed to get the ball to White in the half court set and led to many turnovers. The highlight of the game came from Curtis Sumpter when he dunked a Canarsie player on the break. The final score of the game was 63-44 with Loughlin on top. After watching this game it is clear to see that Loughilin is a much different team when Sumpter is on the court. In the first half when he was sidelined with foul trouble they trailed by 5, but with him in the game Loughlin outscored Canarsie 43-19. In the second game the home team Boys & Girls met Nazareth. I thought this game would be a blowout from start to finish but Nazareth was able to take control of this game early on behind great play from Doug Jesse-James who scored about 12 of their 21 in the first half. Boys & Girls trailed 19-12 in the second quarter before going on a 7-0 run to tie the game before Nazareth scored right before the buzzer to take a two point lead into the break. Tommie Eddie played well in the first half scoring 8 points and grabbing about 7 rebounds in the half. I didn't stay for the whole game so I dont know who won.