BAYSIDE, NY - Going into Thursday's PSAL "AA" 2nd round playoff game against the Boys and Girls Kangaroos, Bayside was still feeling a bit disrespected.
Some felt that they weren't treated fairly by the seeding committee, having to play the 3 time defending city champs in their first game. Not only that but the Commodores kept hearing chatter that the Kangaroos were going to come to Queens and win. It was disrespect, and they weren't going to have it. After a sloppy opening half they took control in the 3rd, taking the game to Boys and dominating the champs, knocking them out in convincing fashion, 58-50.
"In a way I felt like we got the short end of the stick. A lot of people were writing us off and saying they were gonna come to Queens and beat us, so we wanted to make a statement," senior guard Brandon King said.
King's sentiments were popular amongst the Bayside players and coaching staff leading into the game. Most felt that Bayside, which won the Queens Borough title over Cardozo, got the tougher matchup having to face Boys and Girls, while the Judges got a meeting with JFK, a team Bayside already handled in the non-league.
"Boys and Girls weren't an 11 seed, but there isn't anything you can do about it. It's like the NCAA tournament. What you get is what you get," Bayside coach Cory Semper explained.
What they got was a tough Brooklyn team in Boys and Girls, but neither team at the start looked ready to play. It was sloppy, with poor shooting on both ends. Cantrell Barker was the only Bayside player who looked strong in the early going, breaking traps, and getting to the hoop. Courtney Solomon though was about to drain a left win 3 and Boys was up 9-8 early on.
Bayside started the 2nd on a 9-2 run, but the Kangaroos came back with 5 straight from Wesley Myers who finished the quarter strong to see the 3 time champs take a 22-20 lead at the break.
Semper though said that even being down at the half, he wasn't concerned.
"It wasn't that we were down, it was that we just weren't making shots, but I knew they would start falling. My only worry then was that we had to stop them from making shots too."
The coaches thoughts came true when at the start of the 3rd Bayside came out hot. They were able to beat Boys and Girls out in transition, plus they started making shots with Barker and King each connecting from long range. It was part of a 20-5 3rd for Bayside that saw the 2 point halftime deficit turn into 40-27 lead through 3.
The lead ballooned to as many as 19 in the 4th for the Commodores before Myers single-handedly started chipping away. He hit from deep, got to the basket and finished with ease, and seemed in control of all facets of his game. Bayside allowed Boys to get within 6 with bad passes and missed turnovers. But King was able to seal it late as Bayside proved to be the stronger team holding off Boys and Girls 58-50.
Barker led Bayside with 18 points, while King added 16. Austin Williams was relatively quiet on offense being held to just 3 points, but his defense and ball control skills were big down the stretch.
Myers went out with a bang in his last H.S. game finishing with 24 points for Boys and Girls, 18 of which came in the 4th quarter. Solomon also chipped in with 11 for the Kangaroos.
While most people didn't give Bayside a chance, but the Commodores let everyone else talk, while they remained confident. Because according to Semper, this team is a family.
"All my kids, they all grew up together. Except for big man Gagandeep Singh all these guys have been playing ball together forever. They have been playing with the Panthers together, and Austin and Brandon were backcourt mates at J.H.S. 231 together, so we are a family," Semper said.
It's a family at Bayside, and this family doesn't just want to win one game, they want and believe they can do special things.
"We are trying to make history. It's my senior year and we want to win everything and we believe anything is possible," Barker said.
Anything is possible, and for Bayside, which is making its first trip to the PSAL Quarterfinals ever, it's Curtis up next, and Semper knows the game plan for that one already.
A tough task, but with the family atmosphere and the confidence they have, it's time to take Bayside as a real and serious threat.
Other PSAL "AA" 2nd Round Scores
#1 Lincoln 98- #16 Wadleigh 53
#2 Thomas Jefferson 90- #18 Thurgood Marshall 66
#3 Curtis 63- #14 Manhattan Center 54
#4 Wings Academy 65- #13 Brooklyn Collegiate 54
#5 South Shore 63- #12 James Monroe 45
#7 Cardozo 79- #10 JFK 70 OT This game was played without the services of Judges Coach Ron Naclerio who was suspended 2 games by the PSAL for his actions after the Queens Borough Championship game against Bayside.
#8 Transit Tech 62- #9 Gompers 59
PSAL Quarterfinal Schedule- 3/2 @ St. John's University #3 Curtis vs. #6 Bayside- 11am #2 Thomas Jefferson vs. #7 Cardozo- 1pm #4 Wings Academy vs. #5 South Shore- 3pm #1 Lincoln vs. #8 Transit Tech- 5pm
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