BRONX, NY - The Tru-Ballaz Pre-High School Classic continued on Saturday at Frederick Douglass Academy III with two games taking place.
The first game featured players from Wings Academy against players from Frederick Douglas Academy III. The second game put the St. Raymond Ravens at odds against Iona Prep.
Wings fly by FDA III, 65-58
Like a bolt of lightning, Wings Academy jumped out in front with a 10-0 run as 6'4" senior JaeQuan Brown (14 points) led the charge for the Bronx based team. FDA would mount a comeback when Desi Rodriguez (22 points) and Victor Aisogun (20 points) scored buckets in transition, leaving only a 3 point gap to begin the second quarter.
Rodriguez continued to show star power, effortlessly banking a runner to give FDA their first lead. The lead would change hands frequently throughout the quarter. That is, until senior 3-point specialist, Marv Berroa (6 points) entered the game and like an energizer bunny, quickly put Wings up 27-25 with 2:33 left in the half.
Good penetration by Aisogun and inside, blue collar baskets by wide body, Davonne Ragin (8 points) would help Wings maintain a 38-33 advantage to start the third quarter.
Berroa and Brown along with impressive play by freshman guard Desure Buie (7 points) would build on the momentum shift, extending Wings' lead to 12 points with 3:41 left in the quarter.
Abruptly, Wings' momentum would be squashed like a bug. Late in the third quarter, a foul by Buie along with an inexplicable tech by Joe Mbisike would be a gift to FDA. The misstep would allow FDA III to pull within 4 points to start the fourth quarter; all from the charity stripe.
With Wings positive direction all but evaporated, FDA would eventually reduce their deficit to a single point with 5:01 remaining in regulation.
Fortunately, in the final moments, Wings would get up off the canvas as Brown again led the charge on the back end, scoring critical buckets down the stretch, securing the victory from the jaws of a possible defeat.
St. Rays stings Iona Prep, 58-53
The first era of head coach George Lopez's pre-season got underway but not without a few bumps in the road. With point guard, Jaquan McKennon sidelined due to a sprained ankle, it would be an uphill battle for a young St. Raymond team against the New Rochelle, NY catholic school.
The Ravens took it on the chin early as Iona Prep got instant offense from Brandon Williams (12 points).
On the receiving end of a 6-1 run, St. Ray's tried to mount a comeback but it seemed as if the stars were aligned against them. A last minute buzzer beating heave by Iona Prep would keep the team up by 8 points to begin the second quarter.
While Ray's is young, they do have some nice pieces to work with. One such player is 6'8" sophomore Luis Santos (16 points) who displayed his upside, scoring from both right and left while running the floor enthusiastically.
That being said, Iona Prep still managed to retain a 9 point lead with 3:08 left in the half as Tommy Cirpuano (15 points) drained treys.
Ray's would finally begin to responds late as Shawn Jones (12 points) nailed a three of his own. That and a basket by Brandon Adams (7 points) leave them only down 30-27 to start the second half.
A three-two zone would offer a different look to Iona Prep and with 7 minutes left in the quarter, Ray Pinder (4 points) gave the Ravens their first lead. Iona was shaken but not completely stirred and gave a quick to reply, tying the game on two occasions and taking a 43-42 lead into the fourth quarter.
Jones would retake the lead early and baskets by Santos and Kayvon Williams (6 points) would extend that lead to 8 points with 2:40 left to play. Iona Prep was a scrappy bunch as Alex Belbush (5 points) and Williams closed the game to three points with 28.8 second left in regulation but Santos would breakaway for a dunk in transition that would seal the deal for St. Ray's.