WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, NY - On Sunday, two undefeated high school division team face off against each other and someone's "0" would have to go.
While many players are participating in out-of -state tournaments, the battle between Harlem Children's Zone (5-0) and the NY Gauchos (5-0) in the Tri-State Classic on 145th St. and Lenox. When the dust settled, HCZ would not let up and topped the Choz, 59-54
In past years, the NY Gauchos (17U) were on out of town playing in the highly completive Nike circuit. Now because they are relegated to local tourney, they have been deemed the team to beat. So far, that was not a reality.
With their undefeated records on the line the score remained next and next throughout most of the game.
At the half, HCZ held a 32-26 lead as rising junior point guard Taquan Givens (Mott Haven) razzled dazzled with contorted drives to the rim and clever passes.
The Harlem Children's Zone countered as Stan Cespedes (Satellite Academy) adeptly slashed to the rim Baltimore import, Iakeem Alston (Taag Academy) approached scoring from the air, while seemingly able to jump in the air, pause for a hot second and then slam it home with authority.
The Gauchos would fight back and attempted to put their opponents on their heels but frontcourt turnover and poor free-throw shooting spread the gap to 7 with six seconds left. A last minute heave at the buzzer would bring the Gauchos lost to 5.
Cespedes led Harlem Children Zone with 14 points with Alston adding 10 points. Givens was the high man for the Gauchos with 14 points.