BROOKLYN, NY - Thursday's game should've been money in the bank according to South Shore head coach Mike Beckles. "We played down to our competition," he said. The result was a game that was heading for an upset as the East NY Transit Tech Express were outhustling the NYCHoops.net #9 ranked Vikings. It would take an explosion by Shamiek Sheppard to finally put South Shore over the top.
The Vikings 59-51 win could just as easily turned out to be a loss as the Express came out ready to play rushing the ball and pressuring the passers. Leading 14-13 to start the second quarter, Transit Tech extended their lead to as to 8 points as 6'5" senior Richard Williams (14 points) and Fabian MacDonald (10 points) provided the lion's share of the offense. It also didn't help that South Shore shot 13 of 26 from the free-throw line.
With 2:30 remaining in the first half, the smell of upset had begun to fill the air but Sheppard had his own brand of air freshener. Back-to-back-to-back emphatic dunks by the dynamic junior sparked a 10-0 Vikings' run that left Express inhaling vapors as they were suddenly in a 28-26 hole at the half's end.
Williams, who scored 12 first half points, quickly tied the game at the onset of the third quarter but Express head coach Mike Perazzo inexplicably took the senior out for the remainder of the game citing "lack of defensive intensity."
A new aroma permeated the air as the sweet smell of momentum shifted downwind to the home team. Buckets by Sean Taylor (5 points) followed by more baskets from Wayne Martin (13 points) and PG Ayodele Akinmola (4 points) and just like that, with 4:20 left in the quarter, the Vikings had established a 10 point lead .
Still ahead, 44-34, to start the fourth quarter, South Shore would never look back. The Express would make one last run, knocking the lead down to 5 points but Martin and Sheppard would dash all hopes of a Transit Tech comeback, re-extending the lead back to eight as time expired.
Sheppard finished with 19 points (11 point in the first half).
"The guys decided that they wanted to play," said Coach Beckles when asked what was responsible for the turnaround and the win. "[Transit Tech is] a scrappy team; they play hard. We had to play harder than them."
Other Top Ten Game Results :
#1 ranked Abraham Lincoln escapes Robeson, 55-53.
#3 ranked Boys & Girls whup Westinghouse, 61-45
#4 ranked St. Raymond defeats Fordham Prep, 61-53. (Larry Graves, 20pts; Shane Rector, 17pts)
#6 ranked Wings Academy rock James Monroe, 78-43. (Justin Jenkins, 25pts & 8assts; Steven Gomez, 21pts & 9 rebs)
#8 ranked Thomas Jefferson beat Grady, 76-64 (Jaquan Lynch, 30pts; Thaddeus Hall, 25pts)