WAYNE, NJ - On Friday, pool play finished up at the Playaz Basketball Club's Spring Fling Phase III.
The tournament, held at the Wayne P.A.L. Center, was chock filled with New York teams and players. NYCHoops.net was on hand to check out the do-or-die pool play game as well as quarterfinal action.
NY Gauchos eliminate NY Panthers, 71-57
Two 2-0 NY teams faced each other with the winner advancing out of the 17U pool and into the playoffs. The Panthers would initially fight from down under and take a 31-30 at the half as 6'0" rising seniors Wes Myers (12 points) from Boys & Girls HS and Travis Flagg (11 points) from Hudson Catholic HS (NJ) came up big.
The second half however would be the Taquan Givens show as the rising junior 5'10 point guard from Mott Haven HS dropped 18 points along with a host of assists. Givens ran the show masterfully either scoring or penetrating and dishing to his bigs. Cardozo's 6'6" Ta'Jay Henry (14 points), Molloy's 6'6"Marko Kozul (14 points) and South Shore's 6'7" Kwanique Martin (13 points), all rising seniors, were Given's primary beneficiaries, scoring in the paint and from midrange. As a result, the Gauchos were able to retake and extend their lead to advance.
Choz undone by Rens in Quarters, 60-54
It seemed as if the NY Gauchos run were going to continue in the quarterfinal round as Taquan Givens (22 points) banged down back-to-backs, giving the Bronx, NY squad a 10-5 advantage. The Choz kept the pressure on but a loaded New York Rens team even without Jermaine Lawrence began to creep back in to the game.
According to Lawrence's spokesperson Alexes Hargrave, the rising senior forward will not be available to play until school is over in June. Nonetheless, with 8:06 left in the first half, a sweet pass from Thaddeus Hall to 6'6" South Shore senior Wayne Martin (10 points) would eventually give to newly formed Rens a 16-14 advantage. That lead would hold fast as Bishop Loughlin's rising junior Elijah Boone (9 points), L.I. Lutheran's rising senior Anthony Pate (10 points) scored. Point guard Terrence Samuel (11 points) would push the pace and the Gauchos remained down 32-28 at the half.
In the second half, the Gauchos would regain the lead as Ta'Jay Henry (8 points) pounded his way in for hard earned buckets but Pate would tie the game at 39 with 10 minutes left to play.
The Rens would never look back as Kentan Facey (10 points) came to life above the rim. Other than Givens, none of the Choz scored double-digits and the Rens would advance to the Semis.
In other quarterfinal action:
Team Takeover took over Raising Champions, 73-48
NY Lightning strike down Connecticut Select, 69-65
Semifinal and Championships take place on Saturday