BROOKYLN, NY - Sometimes you find out what a team is made of most when they are faced with adversity.
On Thursday, South Shore faced adversity when Shamiek Sheppard went down with an ankle injury late in the 3rd quarter in their game against Boys and Girls.
Everything started to crumble for the Vikings. A 15 point lead when Sheppard was hurt evaporated, but South Shore fought back in the face of adversity and came back to pull out the win on the road in overtime 71-66.
The game started out well for South Shore, pressing and scoring easy baskets off turnovers, while also executing brilliantly in transition. They played at a fast pace looking to push anytime they could. Boys and Girls didn't seem to match the intensity though. Wesley Myers struggled to find space to get off his shot, and the Vikings were dominating the glass as South Shore seemed to be comfortably in control up 39-27 at the half.
It was 48-33 with 1:14 left in the 3rd with South Shore seemingly coasting when Sheppard came down awkwardly after driving down the lane going for a bucket. He stayed on the ground writhing in pain for a few minutes before being helped off. The lead was big, but it ended up not being big enough because the injury seemed to deflate the Vikings, and spark the Kangaroos, something PG Terrence Samuel noticed.
"We were a bit soft after that. We didn't have the same intensity."
Boys definitely brought a higher level of intensity with Myers and Keon Dickson able to dribble drive and beat defenders to the rim, and Romario Allen proved to be the biggest weapon of all scoring 8 points in the 4th including two huge corner threes. South Shore was still up 2 in the dying seconds, but Myers hit a tough turnaround jumper to tie the game up and send it into OT. Samuel admitted after the game that the Myers shot gave him flashbacks.
"Last year the same thing happened, the same scenario right here and we lost the game in overtime. We weren't going to let that happen again."
Doudmy St. Hilaire said that in the huddle before the start of overtime coach Mike Beckles just said one thing to his South Shore squad.
"Whoever scores the first basket will win the game, so make sure that's you. That's all he said."
The first basket would go to the Vikings as Hilaire was in perfect position to get a Samuel feed on the inside to finish with the foul. He hit the FT and Samuel would steal the ball in the backcourt off the ensuing inbounds and he got fouled. He made his FT and the lead for South Shore was quickly up to 5. Boys and Girls seemed tired while South Shore brought up the energy and took control of the game again.
The lead grew in the OT to as much as 9 for South Shore before Myers once again tried to reel the Kangaroos back into it, but his 5 late points were not enough as South Shore came back and fought hard for the 71-66 victory.
In the win Samuel led all scorers with 23 points while Hilaire added 18. For Boys and Girls, they were paced by Myers and Allen who each poured in 20 in the loss.
The win was made even sweeter for Samuel because its the first time the South Shore seniors had won at Boys and Girls.
"They knocked us out of the playoffs the past 2 years and having not best them here until today, it was special. I had to get one before I left." the UConn bound Samuel said.
Boys and Girls coach Ruth Lovelace could've been mad about how her team couldn't finish after fighting back, but took a positive point of view on it after the game.
"Last time we lost by 23 or whatever to these guys at their place so taking them to OT today, I'm kinda happy. Just need to close these kind of games out next time."
For Beckles and his South Shore game, it's a big win, but he understands more important games are coming.
"We can enjoy this one tonight but tomorrow we focus on Jeff."
With the status of Sheppard now up in the air as well, Beckles just sees it as an opportunity.
"We are not centered around one guy. Shamiek is important but all is does is give other guys the chance to step up if he is out because his health is our first priority."
In the end it was a great win for South Shore and its seniors being able to get their first win at Boys, but with a big win today comes another challenge right around the corner. Just another day in the Brooklyn AA.