BAYSIDE, NY - The Beacon 158 Back-to-School Tournament had a marquee matchup on Thursday night as Boys & Girls faced off against the H.S. of Construction.
The Brooklyn boys were out to show the new Queens "AA" squad that the AA isn't so easy, but even without one of their top players, Construction controlled the game for the most part and came away with the impressive 72-63 victory.
Boys and Girls got off to a quick start with Gianni Ford scoring 9 of the Kangaroos first 22 points as they were up 22-13 with 8:40 to go in the first half. Construction was missing the services of guard Justin Wright-Foreman, who was out with a hip injury, and the Red Hawks struggled in the early going without him, but once they got it going late in the opening half, they never really looked back.
Marlon Alcindor, who struggled to get free in the opening few minutes, was able to find space and connect from long range, and transfer Jr Machado hit on a floater, followed by a long deuce from the left wing to help Construction go on an 11-0 run to take the lead 24-22.
Justyn Gardner, who is a much improved 6'6" big man inside, scored on a nice dunk off a beautiful feed from point guard Jordan Wright, and right before the half Alcindor nailed a three ball from the right side to see Construction go up 33-29 at the half.
All the momentum that the Red Hawks had to finish the 1st half they carried over into the 2nd. Gardner was dominating the paint, controlling the glass and scoring in 2 easy putbacks inside, and Wright was picking up a lot of the scoring load, slashing into the lane and showing good control while working his way inside. Construction opened the half on a 14-2 run to take a commanding 47-33 lead on the Kangaroos.
Jamie Killings scored on a bucket backing his way inside going lefty to break up the Construction run, and get Boys and Girls back into the scoring column. Gardner though continued his scoring touch inside as he was able to find good positions to score in the paint, but maybe more impressive was his ability to step out and knock down the midrange jumper, as his versatility offensively helped the Red Hawks go up 60-41 with 7:40 to go in the game.
Construction did seem to take their foot off the gas a bit as BJ Soyemi was able to score in transition as the Construction defense wasn't as crisp late. Ford and Soyemi applied heavy pressure in the closing minutes to cut the game to single digits, but in reality this game was all H.S. of Construction as the Red Hawks led for most of the game, taking the 72-63 win.
Gardner led all scorers in the win with 22 points for Construction, with Alcindor and Wright each adding 16 for the winners as well. The Kangaroos in defeat were led by the 19 points of Ford, with Killings chipping in with 15.
Eagle Academy squeeze Cardozo (Orange), 60-49
Cardozo got out to the quick 7-2 start, but Eagle quickly got back in it and took a 28-19 lead with Juwan Chapman using his strength at the guard spot to muscle his way in for 8 points during the Eagle run. The Judges didn't back down though with Marzuq Jimoh, usually known for his perimeter skills, finding open driving lanes to the rim and Cardozo was down just 34-31 at the half.
The 2nd half was all Eagle though with Chapman and >b>Dontel Henry doing an excellent job exploding down the lane for easy baskets, as they effectively broke down the Cardozo trap and found easy buckets in transition. Sandy Beras was a valuable weapon from beyond the arc and he connected on 3 triples in the 2nd half, and Jaquan Strong was smart and steady when he got his opportunities, doing a nice job slashing in, and hitting on a pair of runners down the lane.
Tareq Coburn was a bright spot for Cardozo in the 2nd half with the young sophomore showing good range, hitting on a pair of threes from the wings, but the Judges were held to just 18 points in the 2nd half as Eagle cruised for the 11 point win.
Four Eagle players were in double figures with Chapman leading the way with 14. Henry had 13, and Strong added 12 for the victors. In the loss Cardozo was led by the 16 points of Jimoh, with Coburn putting in 13 as well.
Far Rock ran by Berkeley Carroll, 60-57
The last game of the night was a barnburner that ended in wild fashion. Shane Pearly hit a runner in the lane with 2.7 seconds left to tie the game at 57, but Sharif Fordham got the ball off the ensuing inbounds, took two dribbles, and put up a long heave from just inside midcourt that was nothing but net, and Far Rockaway celebrated on the court with the 60-57 victory.
Fordham led Far Rockaway with 20 points in the win, with Williams Ovedo and David Bastien adding 13 and 10 respectively for the winners. Kashaun Hicks paced Berkeley Carroll with 24 points in defeat, with Pearley chipping in 17 as well.