BROOKLYN, NY - Jefferson, the number one PSAL school out of Brooklyn, met St. Anthony from Jersey City, a team that didn't lose any games last season, and came to Brooklyn with a 20-0 record. This game was the first of a double header at Lincoln High School in Coney Island. The St. Anthony basketball team, who is coached by a hall of famer in Bobby Hurley Sr., are also ranked #3 in the country. So Jefferson relished the opportunity to be the team to give them their first loss in two years.
Instead, after a promising beginning and an unexpected scuffle during the game, St. Anthony increased their record to 21-0, knocking off Jefferson 71-60 in the process. The game was close from the very beginning, with both teams running up and down the court filling up the basket. There wasn't much defense, or maybe the defense couldn't get stops. Whatever the reason, defense was non-existent and both offenses could get whatever they wanted.
St. Anthony was able to break Jefferson's press and once they got the ball to the frontcourt, they were able to finish with a high degree of success. The Friars didn't have much problem ending their drives to the hole with a score. A bank shot by Jefferson senior Thaddeus Hall made it 17-16 at the end of the first quarter.
However, mid-way through the second quarter, a fight broke out right behind Jefferson's bench. A player's parent was upset that head coach Lawrence "Bud" Pollard pulled his son out of the game. In a couple of seconds, the parent took a swing at Pollard and there was a break as order was restored.
At the time, the score was 27-23 in favor of St. Anthony, but Pollard said his team was comfortable with the way they were forcing St. Anthony to play the pace that they wanted them to. Kyle Anderson, one of the top high school seniors in the country and a McDonald's All-American, had just missed two free throws.
When they started to play again after about 5 minutes, Anderson went back to the line, and this time he made both. St. Anthony scored 8 more points while holding Jefferson to a single free throw. Just like that, by the end of the half, St. Anthony held a 37-24 lead. Jefferson played hard, but never got closer than 8 the rest of the way. Pollard didn't think the fight and the ensuing delay had anything to do with Jefferson losing the game.
"We just couldn't get over that hump. They got a lead on us, they got some early transition baskets," Pollard said in the hallway outside of the gym. "We kind of crowded the ball on rebounds and Kyle's a guy that just throws over that and made us pay for not being disciplined."
Jefferson got a heck of game from Hall and junior guard Jaquan Lynch. Both players scored 21 points in the game, and they got hot in the fourth quarter but it was too little, too late.
On the other hand, St. Anthony had 5 guys in double figures with Anderson leading the way with 13 points, while 3 had 12 points, an all-around performance.