HARLEM, NY - The SMARTball Classic started up on Monday evening with the first two Round of 16 games. Round of 16 games will continue Tuesday through Thursday this week before the quarterfinals are played next Monday and Tuesday.
The semifinals will be held next Wednesday, with the championship game scheduled for a week from Thursday, with all games held at Lincoln Park in Harlem. Monday's games promised to be good on paper, but the outcomes of each were decided early on.
#9 Cardozo Vandalizes #8 Scanlan, 60-35
Both teams were playing somewhat shorthanded, with Cardozo missing the services of new Judge Jaquan McKennon, while Scanlan was without their facilitator George Pena. Because of Cardozo's depth at the guard position, it was Pena who was missed a lot more as Cardozo jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead behind 4 points from super sophomore guard Ray Salnave, who was aggressive getting to the basket, and seemed right at home on the court in his first taste with the Judges varsity team. Ball pressure was really the key for Cardozo in the early going as without Pena, Scanlan seemed lost breaking the tough trap that the Judges applied. Elijah McNeeley and Marzuq Jimoh were also an offensively handful and Cardozo almost kept the Crusaders off the scoreboard completely, leading 15-2 after 1.
The 2nd saw Scanlan look at bit better with sharpshooting Peter Kiss connecting in a pair of threes in the quarter, but surprisingly, they struggled when getting the ball inside, with Jonathan Nwankwo and Emmanuel Chukwu, a pair of dangerous 6'9" and 6'8" bigs, struggling to find positions to finish inside. Cardozo though seemed to slack off on defense, with head coach Ron Naclerio screaming from the sidelines to pick up the intensity, knowing his young team couldn't afford to let their feet off the brakes. Scanlan cut the lead to 9 a couple times late in the half, but McNeeley and Salnave each came up with a pair of nice finishes getting around the Crusader big men to take a 29-16 lead at the half.
Cardozo came back to what got them the big lead to begin with, defense, and really started to control the game again. McNeely punctuated the play with an and 1 going straight at Nwankwo, finishing off the beautiful play. The Judges also had 6 steals in the 3rd, proving to be a handful on both sides of the floor. Another impressive weapon for Cardozo was Francisco Williams, a rising senior who transferred back to the school from St. Dominic's on Long Island. At 6'5" he was a versatile weapon who hurt Scanlan inside and out. Cardozo controlled the pace of play and was on cruise control after 3, going up 47-23
The 4th saw a bit more life from Nwankwo, who threw down a pair of thunderous dunks on putbacks, but Cardozo was just too quick, too aggressive, and too unafraid, as they went right at the Scanlan interior and dominated the play going to the rim, easing by Scanlan, 60-35.
Salnave led all scorers in the game with 16 points for Cardozo, while McNeely and Jimoh each added 14. In the loss, Kiss led Scanlan with 11, while Nwankwo and Chukwu struggled to find a rhythm finishing with just 6 and 2 respectively.
#1 South Shore Bombs #16 Manhattan Center, 73-24
This game started out bad and got worse as the game went on. With only 7 players on attendance for South Shore, there was not much relief for Manhattan Center, as many of the top players had to go the full game. South Shore was up 39-7 at the half behind Ryan Preston, and tough 6'7" rising junior big man who looked comfortable in the midrange game, finishing off a number of short jumpers from the wings.
Doudmy Saint Hilaire and Tavid McIntosh also were solid on the perimeter, with Hilaire doing an excellent job controlling the pace, while McIntosh was an impressive glue guy, who rebounded surprisingly well, while adding a tough offensive weapon both on the perimeter, and on the interior when needed.
A bright spot in an otherwise tough game for Manhattan Center was Abubakay Sanoe, a tough and rangy 6'1" guard, who was much more aggressive and confident in the 2nd half. South Shore just had too much to stop though, dominating the play and taking down the easy win.
Preston led all scorers with 16 points, Hilaire had 15, and McIntosh had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Sanoe in defeat had 12 points for Manhattan Center.
South Shore and Cardozo will now meet in one quarterfinal next Monday night, for a right to move on to next Wednesday's semifinals.