SOUTH JAMAICA, NY - Four teams took to the battlefield to face one another at the Is8 Thursday night-the Rens, Learn the game, Ben Gordon All-Stars, and Team Price.
The first match-up between the Rens-a highly talented team stacked with Christ the King players-and Learn the Game ended in a blow-out fashion. The second match-up made up for the preceding game and ended in an exciting game between Team Price and Ben Gordon All-Stars a/k/a Mount Vernon HS
The Rens UN Learn The Game, 69-51
The first game started off with the Rens taking control early. By the end of the first quarter they found themselves leading 21-16 behind the tough play of big man Adonis DeLaRosa and teammate Jordan Fuchs. Learn the Game had no answers to the tough defense and high powered offense of the Rens and by halftime the game was a rout 51-29.
The second half was more of the same and the Ren's addition of Jon Severe-New York City player of the year-did not spell good news for the fate of Learn the Game. He'd go on to score 14 points in the second half alone and the Rens continued to attack the basket strong and their 2-3 defense contained Learn the Game to only 22 second half points. The Rens were led by De La Rosa with 18 points and Severe with 14. Learn the Game was lead by Jamaal Rosenburgh with 17 points.
Ben Gordon All-Stars Spent by Team Price, 55-50
In the second game of the night, both teams came out pressing hard in 2-2-1 zones. Early on, Team Price guards, Josh Mejia and Kyle Creadle, ran the show and dropped dimes to 6'8 big man Jaleel Charles< for easy buckets in the paint. Price continued to mix things up defensively by switching between a 2-2-1 press and a 3-2 zone. This made scoring for the high powered Ben Gordon squad problematic as the turned the ball over on several occasions. Ben Gordon All-Star's team leader, PG Josh Doughty expressed his frustrations on the court with his team's poor play and they found themselves trailing 26-19 at the half.
In the second half, Charles continued to man the paint by displaying an array of strong post moves, mid-range shots, and an unconventional, yet effective, stroke at the free throw line. Doughty, along with teammate Devonte Banner, continued to try to keep their team within striking range with their scoring. Doughty, late in the third quarter, scored off of a beautiful, Tony Parker-like, floater to make the score 36-32 with 2:00 minutes remaining.
The Ben Gordon All-Stars continued to keep the game close but had trouble making it over the hump to take the lead. As a result, they looked to a 1-2-2 full court press to change things up. In the final minutes, both teams took several charges against one another including one taken by the gigantic Charles which rumbled the Is8 floorboards. The Ben Gordon All-Stars picked up the intensity and finally tied the game with 4:00 minutes remaining off a goaltended lay-up scored by point guard, Traquan Scales. At this point it appeared that the Gordon All-Stars had all the momentum in their favor and would run away with the game but Team Price quickly recovered led by Charles' scoring, a few clutch mid-range shots by Cradle, and four key free throws down the in the closing seconds by Mejia which sealed them a victory.
Team Price was led by Mejia with 18 points and Charles with 15 point respectively. The Ben Gordon All Stars were led by Banner with 16 points and Doughty with 10 points.