BRONX, NY -There was the opportunity. Steven Gomez from Wings Academy saw the rim and jumped straight up.
Kennedy's Terry Larrier jumped with him. Gomez reached up and slammed the ball through the rim as Larrier fouled him and flew past him. When Gomez landed he pointed to his chest and said "This is my house!"
You know what comes next. The referee didn't say much except, "Technical foul". Gomez made his free throw with a bit of an attitude. Kennedy answered by making both technical free throws, but the tone had been set. There was no way NYCHoops.net #8 ranked Wings was going to lose to #9 ranked Kennedy and they held off a late push to win the game, leading wire to wire for a 56-50 victory.
Gomez led the game with 19 points. He finished with a double-double as he grabbed 12 rebounds and 4 blocks. The 6-7 senior sparked his team with that dunk, saying that he yelled at "number 35" because apparently he had been talking all game. So Gomez decided to remind him where he was at.
Wings dominated the scoreboard early. They jumped out to a 9-1 lead and were on top 28-13 at halftime. They held the Knights to 4 field goals in the first half. Wings wasn't much better as they looked just as clumsy as Kennedy on the floor. Both teams had an abundance of turnovers, countless travels, lots of bodies falling on the ground, players not listening to coaches, the whole enchilada. It was more rugby than basketball.
Despite that, 7 first quarter points from senior guard Justin Jenkins and two threes from Marvilio Berroa (12 pts.) in the second quarter gave the Wings their 15 point first half cushion. It took Kennedy until the middle of the fourth quarter to make a dent in their deficit when Jason Nunez scored 7 points, including a three from the left wing, cutting a 14 point lead in half.
After a few possessions and scores from both teams, guard Francisco Infante made a steal and found Gomez for a dunk at the end of the break. After a jumper from Muhammed "Bashir" Ahmed made it, Gomez dunked it again.
The dunk provides inspiration for his team. Jenkins was asked about his teammate.
"Every game, he's hype. He's ready to play", Jenkins said after the game. He was asked if the technical foul surprised him, but Jenkins said it didn't.
"Kind of used to it now, he always shows it after dunks like that. He's caught bigger ones before. Dunks like that just make a statement."
Jenkins said that Gomez has changed from a quiet guy last year, to a loud, more focused, smiling and confident player before games. Gomez made a conscious effort to be a leader on the floor.
"I'm a four year varsity player; I had to step up my game" Gomez said. "It's my time to shine. I'm not going to let my team down or my coach.
Jenkins didn't play as well as he can, even though he finished with points and five assists. He was asked why Wings let Kennedy back in the game after being up by double digits for most of the game. Jenkins said that his team hit a drought and it was something that they had to go through. Still, he doesn't want to make it a habit.
"Hopefully, as the season goes on, we will be able to control the droughts and prevent them from happening"
The win makes Wings record 4-0 in their division and gave Kennedy their first loss. The Knights were led by David Hardy, who scored 13 points. Nunez added 12.