BAYSIDE, NY - Thursday's game the against Campus Magnet Bulldogs was important to the Cardozo Judges' psyche.
The team had recently lost their go-to-guy, Jermaine Lawrence, who transferred out-of-state unexpectedly, and are in the process of redefining themselves. A convincing 78-56 win over the Bulldogs was a step in the right direction.
6'7" forward Ryan Yearwood, who notched a double-double (19 points & 10 rebounds) would be one of the key players in Dozo's first victory since losing Lawrence and acknowledged that he and his teammates will have to step up to fill the void left Lawrence. "I definitely have to be more aggressive," he said. "Jermaine would have like 20 (points) and 15 (rebounds) on a bad day so me and Tajay (Henry) have to really step up our rebounds, defense, offense, all around game." Henry scored 8 points.
Campus Magnet hung in there early in the game as they scored in transition but PG Edwin Sainvil (10 points) provided the early offensive to keep the Judges out in front. Tarik Raynor (15 points) would tie the game at six but Yearwood would set off a 9-0 run that would catapult the Judges ahead.
Samuel Durodola (14 points) would finish strong for the Bulldogs but they were still down, 19-13 to begin the second quarter.
Campus Magnet attempted to make a run as Raynor and Justin Harvey (4 points) got hoops but a dunk in transition by Darnell Holmes quickly put the momentum back in the home court. Durodola tried to answer but when he boinked his dunk attempt, the Judges pushed their lead to 11 by halftime.
Campus Magnet was talking trash," said Yearwood. "They were sayin' how they could beat us so we said when they come here, it's game time."
Dozo opened the second half with an 8-0 run and was ahead 58-37 at the start of the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs tried to close the gap with a 15-8 run but Cardozo finished strong as 6'5" big, Daniel Janel (12 points) did a good job cleaning house.
Yearwood has been thrust into a leadership position but said he intends to rise to the occasion. "I'm a senior," said Yearwood. "It's either now or never."
The emphatic win over Campus Magnet was a transformative point for the Judges as a team said Yearwood. "We [now] realize we can do this, with or without Jermaine."