Tigers claw past Trinity to reach New York State Final

TODT HILL, SI-A day after eliminating Berkeley Carroll, Staten Island Academy kept its season going. They advanced to the New York State (NYSAISAA) Championship game by posting a 60-45 semifinal win over seventh seeded Trinity at O.J. Buck Gymnasium in Staten Island. The No.6 seeded Tigers will meet the tournament’s No.1 seed Masters in the final to be played Sunday at Fieldston (11 AM). Masters defeated Lawrence Woodmere by 11.

Staten Island Academy was led by the inside/out combination of James Morisano and Mike Langford. For the second consecutive day, Morisano paced all scorers with 20. The junior was a terror inside the paint, also grabbing 12 rebounds to post a double/double. They combined for 37 of the school’s 60 points. Andrew Bavaro also hit double digits with 15. Lionel Greene added eight.

For SIA coach Mike Mazzella, it was the same cast that did to Berkeley Carroll. As they had a day before, the Tigers jumped all over Trinity. They used an 11-4 start to put the No.7 seed behind early. Morisano scored twice inside. Greene finished a drive and Langford hit a trey. The senior guard had a strong game- setting up open teammates. Along with his 17, he had eight assists and five steals. Following three straight markers from Trinity’s Shiv Gidumal, Greene drained a triple as time expired. A tough double clutch that steered the Tigers in front by seven (14-7).

They continued to be the aggressor throughout. A 6-2 run featured Langford’s second three to put Staten Island Academy up 18-10 at the six minute mark of the second stanza. The Tigers clamped down defensively, holding Trinity to seven. They out hustled and out-muscled their Manhattan opponent, who didn’t get in sync until the second half. They led by 10 following a nice baseline reverse by Langford. Following a Trinity bucket, the Tigers closed the half on a 5-0 run. Langford drained a tough jumper and set up Bavaro for a three-point play with seven seconds left that put SIA in front 27-14.

The Tigers threatened to blowout Trinity. A pair of Langford free throws and a lay-in off a steal had them up 18 (32-14). But the Trinity Tigers started to get back in it thanks to Alex Rubin (18). He scored 11 of his team high 18 in the third. Rubin did most of his damage inside with Greene on the bench. Without their top defender, SIA let Trinity back in the game. Rubin scored their first seven out of the locker room to cut the deficit to 13 (34-21). They outscored SIA 9-2- ending the quarter within six (36-30).

Rubin did the bulk of the work, hitting a couple of contested shots including a turnaround with the shot clock running down. Adrien Auburn banked in a three from the key that pulled them within 10. They upped the ante defensively, forcing the Tigers into some mistakes. Two more scores including an extra pass for a lay-up made it a contest.

At the start of the fourth, Mazzella reinserted Greene. He wasted no time nailing a deep three that sparked a 9-2 spurt. Staten Island Academy did it exclusively from downtown. Langford was the distributor, finding Greene and Bavaro twice to turn a six-point game into 13. They led 45-32 with six minutes to go. Out of a timeout, Morisano scored only his second field goal of the second half- widening the gap to 15. He scored seven straight for the Tigers, who used a Morisano three-point play to go ahead 52-38 with 2:44 remaining.

Trinity hung around thanks to the trio of Rubin, Gidumal (9) and Auburn (10). They were forced to foul. Langford sank a pair from the charity stripe and his pass at mid-court found Morisano for the exclamation point.


Boxscore via Staten Island Advance reporter Kevin Flood.

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Staten Island Academy ends Berkeley Carroll season

TODT HILL, SI-The Berkeley Carroll School’s season came to an end yesterday against a familiar league rival. Staten Island Academy held off Berkeley Carroll 69-64 in the New York State Quarterfinals to advance to a semifinal match up against No.7 seeded Trinity at 5 PM today after they upset Trevor Day School.

Junior James Morisano led a balanced Tigers attack, pacing all scorers with 23. That included seven free throws in the deciding fourth quarter where SIA did most of its damage from the charity stripe. They held a decided edge for the contest, converting on 24 of 28. Conversely, Berkeley Carroll made nine of 12. The Lions had six more field goals (26-21) for the game including the same amount of three-pointers (5) as their Staten Island opponent. Ultimately, the difference was the the Tigers’ assertiveness. They attacked the basket and were rewarded.

Four different players reached double figures for both teams. For victorious SIA, Morisano got plenty of help from teammates Mike Langford (16), Andrew Bavaro (17) and Lionel Greene (11). Langford hurt the Lions with his speed, frequently getting into the lane and drawing contact. He sank nine of 12 from the line and also scored on a pair of driving lay ups and a trey early at the start of the third quarter, increasing the Tigers’ lead to 29-21. Greene did most of his damage in the fourth, netting nine of 11 including six for six from the line. Of Bavaro’s seven field goals, three came from downtown. He made some timely hoops throughout.

Berkeley Carroll was led by junior Shane Pearley and freshman Jimmy Council. Each finished with 16. After being held to six the first three quarters, Pearley scored 10 in a wild fourth that saw the Verrazano rivals combine for 52 points. He did most of his work in the paint on a bevy of drives. That included five straight featuring a three-point play that cut the deficit to 48-47. Everytime they got close, the No.6 seeded Tigers had the answer. Greene went glass on a three to put SIA back up four. Morisano scored the next five to give the Tigers a nine-point lead. But the Lions didn’t go away. Council scored on a couple of putbacks to inch them closer. He also made his only three-point attempt of the season with less then two seconds left that cut it to 67-64. But two more Academy freebies put it away.

The Lions got a strong effort from senior Dondre Benson. In his final game of a four-year high school career, Benson scored 11 off the bench. That included a pair of trifectas along with an and one. Freshman Ryan Hubbs contributed 10. Coach Carmine Giovino started Hubbs and junior Josiah Murrell in the second half in place of Richie Palacios and Chris Harper. Murrell was inserted to help the Lions on the glass. He had three, including a nice finish.

Despite using six different scorers to SIA’s four, Berkeley Carroll lost for the second time at the Tigers’ gym. The No.3 seeded Lions were the visitors due to not having enough room to host the NYSAISAA quarterfinal. After a 4-0 start off a Pearley steal and lay-in and Council lay-in, they fell behind by 12. SIA stringed together a 16-0 run. Morisano was responsible for half and Langford added four including a driving hoop before the shot clock expired.

The Lions struggled on both ends. Pearley picked up two quick fouls including a charge. Berkeley Carroll was called for three in the first, which hurt their momentum. Once Academy took control, the Lions rushed their shots forcing Giovino to burn two timeouts. They settled down in the second- using a 17-4 spurt to surge ahead 21-20. BC was more aggressive. Attacking the rim, they got Morisano in foul trouble. SIA coach Mike Mazzella didn’t take any chances, sitting his leading scorer with two.  Once he was on the bench, the Lions turned it around.

A Pearley driving finish along with a Council bucket off a steal drew BC within 20-15 with 3:40 left in the first half. Mazzella called for time. The Lions scored the next six. That included consecutive three-point plays from Benson and Council to take only their second lead. But James Mahoney answered back with an outside jumper that was part of a 6-0 SIA run to close the half. The Tigers used a pair of Langford free throws and a Bavaro putback before the buzzer to take a 26-21 lead into intermission.

There wasn’t much separating the rivals in the second half. In fact, each side scored the identical amount in the last two quarters. That proved to be too much to overcome for Berkeley Carroll. Hubbs provided a lift in the third, scoring five. He dialed up long distance twice and finished off a nice Pearley pass to pull the Lions within 38-36. As they had all day, the Tigers replied back by scoring the next five including a Bavaro trey that put them up 43-36 with 17.3 seconds left in the quarter. A Hubbs lay-in made it 43-38 at the end of three.

In the fourth, Hubbs made two jumpers including a three that answered SIA scores. That was the trouble. Whenever BC came close, the Tigers responded. They led virtually the whole way. The Lions only held the lead twice. Playing from behind didn’t work to their advantage. It was their undoing in what was a good season.

Notes: Sophomore Kashaun Hicks scored eight. … Mahoney added three for SIA. … Berkeley Carroll finished with a 14-8 record. They graduate seniors Benson and Josh Rosas. … Junior Will Reagan missed his third consecutive game due to a concussion. He also plays baseball for BC coach Walter Paller. The baseball season begins on 3/9 with a scrimmage at Susan Wagner.

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Lions drop thriller to Dwight

PARK SLOPE, BK-Everyone was talking about this one. Thankfully, the first showdown between Berkeley Carroll and Dwight lived up to the hype. In what was a home game for Dwight at the Athletic Center in the Slope, the Lions dropped a heart breaker to their Manhattan rival 69-66 before a packed gym. The game featured several lead changes, runs and a wild conclusion that should have people talking until their next meeting at the end of the month.

It also featured two great individual efforts from both sides. Dwight was led by guard Kieran Hamilton, who scored 25 of his game high 35 in the second half. It was his sixth consecutive game of 20-or-more. He outdueled Berkeley Carroll junior guard Shane Pearley, who produced 23 of a team best 31 following intermission. This was an old fashioned duel between two players who did whatever they could to win. Unfortunately, there had to be a loser. Hamilton had a little more support with Pee Wee Kirkland chipping in 13 and Jeremy Bonifacio adding nine, including the game-winning free throw after the Lions rallied to tie it.

Early on, it was the visiting Lions in their maroon red uniforms who jumped out 7-0 and 9-2 halfway through the first quarter. Slashing forward  Kashawn Hicks knocked down a three and center Jimmy Council scored inside twice. But before you blinked, Dwight stormed back with an 11-0 run to go ahead 13-9. During it, Hamilton hit a long trey from the right corner and a Dwight steal led to a transition dunk that got the bench rocking. It was a seesaw quarter with Berkeley Carroll getting the last five, including a lay-up from Chris Harper off a splendid Pearley dish to put the Lions up 14-13.

The second quarter was back and forth throughout as the teams went toe to toe. Dwight outscored Berkeley Carroll 13-8 to go ahead 23-21 with a couple of minutes left in the first half. That featured another trey from Hamilton, who was just getting warmed up. So was Pearley, who at one point scored 14 of 16 to keep the Lions in the game. It started with consecutive buckets to steer his team back in front 25-23. They closed the half scoring the last six with sophomore guard Richie Palacios drawing a double before kicking inside for a Josiah Murrell finish. Hamilton got off a desperation three that wasn’t close, allowing the Lions to take a four-point lead (27-23) into halftime.

The game changed in the second half. Dwight became more aggressive, attacking the basket offensively and stepping up the defensive pressure. They forced the Lions into costly mistakes, which the bigger school took advantage of. Hamilton came out hot scoring the first five of the third, making two free throws to tie it 28-28 a minute and a half in. While Hamilton got in gear, Pearley was a one man wrecking crew. With Hicks and Council in foul trouble, coach Carmine Giovino started the third period with Hicks on the bench with three fouls. He was replaced by freshman guard Ryan Hobbs. The first-year Varsity player played with spunk, providing a lift with seven. He scored inside and showed no fear against tough competition, getting to the foul line.

Dwight outscored Berkeley Carroll 19-14 in another up and down quarter. Pearley scored 10 of his team’s 14 while Hamilton countered with 11, including a free throw edging Dwight ahead 42-41 after three. It set up an electric fourth.

The first half was controlled by Dwight, who continued to attack the Lions in the paint and clamp down defensively. They really hurt Berkeley Carroll on the offensive glass, getting extra possessions for crucial put backs. With Hamilton scoring inside and out for 14 of his team’s fourth quarter output (27) and the Lions going cold (one field goal in four and a half minutes), they seemed in control. A Kirkland jumper had them up nine (56-47) with 3:39 left. But a determined Pearley wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. He made a couple of contested jumpers and saved his best for last.

Giovino saved two timeouts for the frantic fourth. His team never panicked. They quietly chipped away, keeping an energized atmosphere into it. With time running out, the Lions dialed up long distance three different times to give themselves a shot. Hicks made his second trey from the left key with under two minutes to play cutting into the deficit. A Pearley steal and lay-in suddenly made it a three-point game. Berkeley Carroll’s late pressure caused problems for Dwight but they were able to get a huge transition bucket to surge ahead by five with over a minute remaining.

Pearley found an open Palacios for a three from the right corner with Giovino using his final timeout. The problem was they fouled Hamilton, who hit from the line to put Dwight up two possessions. All Dwight coach Matt Lewis’ team had to do was not foul. But in high school hoops, anything’s possible. Another Palacios corner trey saw him get fouled for a potential four-point play. He missed the free throw but the Lions were only down two with under 40 seconds to go. They fouled Hamilton, who finally gave them a break by missing both free throws in the double bonus. Pearley coolly hit a runner from 15 feet to tie it 66-66 with under 20 seconds remaining. But they got victimized by their pressure, allowing Bonifacio to draw a foul. He made one of two to put Dwight up a point.

Here came the Lions with a chance to steal one. Pearley drew a double and kicked for Palacios whose three went off the rim. The Lions got to the loose ball and had Hobbs for a potential lay-in that might’ve won the game. However, after a head fake he missed it, forcing them to foul Hamilton with 2.5 seconds left. He made both free throws to make it 69-66. Out of timeouts, Berkeley Carroll still was able to get the ball to Pearley, who got off a desperation three that fell short- allowing Dwight to celebrate a hard fought win.


Notes: Despite fouling out, Hicks finished with 10. Palacios had eight including two huge trifectas that made things interesting. He also distributed the ball as did Pearley, who still found open teammates. … Harper had five. … It was the Lions’ second straight loss in league play. They also fell at Friends Seminary last month by a point. Their two defeats have come by a combined four points. … Berkeley Carroll visits Brooklyn Friends for a JV/Varsity double tomorrow before returning Thursday to host Leman. Start times are 4:15 and 5:30. … The rematches against Friends Seminary and Dwight are 1/30 and 1/31 at the Lions Den.

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Pearley leads Lions past Tigers

PARK SLOPE, BK-Whenever Berkeley Carroll and Staten Island Academy get together for high school hoops, the games are always interesting. Never lacking in intensity, every possession is fought aggressively with the Brooklyn and Staten Island ACIS League rivals giving maximum effort. Yesterday was no different at the winner’s gym with the Lions holding off the pesky Tigers 65-56 behind a game high 27 from junior guard Shane Pearley. The fourth year Varsity standout was instrumental, netting 16 second half points including 10 big ones late to preserve Berkeley Carroll’s perfect home record. They still haven’t lost in league play, improving to 3-0.

The Lions came in off their closest win- by eight over St. Ann’s Tuesday. A league rival who Academy had their lone loss to. None of that mattered when they took the floor. Both teams played at the trademark frenetic pace, looking for any advantage. Pearley got started early, draining a three to put the Lions on the board. He and junior forward Josiah Murrell combined for 13 of BC’s 18 in a high flying first quarter. That included some nice backdoor feeds for easy Murrell finishes. The Tigers countered thanks to the play of forward Andrew Bavarro, who was tough to stop around the basket, doing most of his damage in the paint. He paced SIA with 21.

The Lions took an 18-12 lead into the second. They controlled the first portion, using seven points from microwave Ryan Hobbs to increase the margin to double digits. Hobbs’ three buckets came on a trey and two driving hoops with Murrell on the bench with two fouls. Foul trouble would be a theme for coach Carmine Giovino, who leaned on a deep bench to withstand the Tiger pressure. Trailing 30-19, the Tigers made a push, closing the half on a 10-4 run to pull within 34-29. Bavarro scored inside and had help from guard Mike Langford, who along with Connor Frescatti reached double figures. They provided coach Mike Mazzula with balance. One aspect they excelled at was attacking the Lions’ aggressive 1-3-1, putting freshmen Shawn Hicks and Jimmy Council on the bench with four fouls during the second half. Most notably, SIA made BC pay by cashing in at the line- converting 19 of 23 with the speedy Langford hitting six of seven.

After intermission, Berkeley Carroll surged ahead 43-29. They built a fourteen point lead on improved defense and a key adjustment from Giovino that involved Council. Set up by teammates, the first-year center delivered some clutch baskets, scoring all eight in the third stanza. However, as quickly as they led by 14, that’s how fast the Tigers came back. An 8-0 run predicated on a 1-3-1 press that allowed the guests from Staten Island to score in transition, forced Giovino to call timeout. Academy closed the quarter 15-7 to trail 50-44. That included a long two from Khalil Hyde that beat the buzzer.

Hyde wasn’t done, draining a triple at the start of the fourth to pull the Tigers within three. But a determined Pearley found enough wiggle room to score on a tough leaner. It was his play that prevented SIA from prevailing. Pearley came up with huge plays down the stretch. Every time the Tigers were on the verge of tilting the game in their favor, he made a big play even if the Academy coaching staff disputed a missed charge. It wasn’t the only call that didn’t go their way with the officials allowing Berkeley Carroll senior Dondre Benson’s desperation trey to count after an apparent shot clock violation earlier. They still received many calls but couldn’t overcome Pearley’s heroics. He was the only Lion to score double digits, including 10 in the deciding fourth.

When he returned, Hicks lent support with a crucial bucket and two free throws. His length caused problems for the undersized Tigers, who were hurt on the glass. The Lion trio of Hicks, Council and Murrell got to offensive rebounds while also getting their hands on Academy shots. Definitely an x-factor in the win that kept them undefeated in league play. They also received solid play from starting point guard Richie Palacios. Palacios finished with five including a trey along with a sparkling assist while on the floor for a Pearley lay-in. The sophomore did a nice job running the offense.

Academy never gave up, making things interesting. Bavarro scored inside to make it 56-53 with over two minutes left. Mazzula quickly called for time to set up his defense. The Lions passed the test. Nursing a three-point lead, Pearley escaped the baseline for a runner that put the Park Slope school up five. A missed three-pointer on the other end allowed them to transition to Pearley, who was fouled from behind. It was an intentional foul. While technically right, it wasn’t a popular one. Especially in a close game with a minute left. The Lions’ leading scorer accomplished a rarity by sinking both free throws. Berkeley Carroll went a dismal 5-of-18 with it nearly costing them. Council struggled (2-8) and sub Will Reagan missed a pair.

The effort was good enough to pull out a hard fought victory over a good team who’s well coached. The rematch is January 25, 2013 at Staten Island Academy’s more spacious gym in Todt Hill.

Twin Towers boost JV: It must be nice to have a luxury like the one first-year JV Boys coach Stephen Palidimio has. Size. His two sophomore returning players from last year’s championship team powered the younger Lions to a 65-59 win over the Tigers in the first game of two Friday.

Danny McCormick and Eugene Clarke prevented an upset with dominant play in crunch time. The Twin Towers combined for 18 points, at least 10 rebounds and four blocks in the pivotal fourth quarter of a seesaw contest between Verrazano rivals. It was back and forth throughout with the Tigers breaking Palidimo’s trapping press for points in transition. Academy placed three different scorers in double figures. They turned around the first half by outscoring the Lions 17-12 in the second. Not surprisingly, it was anyone’s game tied 29-29 at the half.

The Lions closed the half with four straight, including a driving hoop from starting point guard Davis. He put together another strong outing, scoring and finding open teammates while pacing the school with 20. Nine came in the second half with a personal 6-0 run spanning the end of the first half and beginning of the third quarter to put Berkeley Carroll up four. The Lions outscored the Tigers 16-13 to take a three-point lead into the fourth.

With SIA in position to hand them their second loss of the season, McCormick and Clarke took over. They were needed after guard Christian fouled out. He scored eight of 10 after intermission, including a contested trey that hit nothing but net. The Lions went to their big men, who were relentless. Both McCormick and Clarke destroyed Academy underneath, using their size and strength for crucial put backs and extra possessions. It wasn’t the prettiest game due to frequent whistles. But when the chips were down, the Twin Towers delivered some clutch play on both ends. One sequence saw Clarke scramble for a loose ball and set up McCormick for a lay-in. McCormick wasn’t done, using fancy feet to slip Tiger defenders for an off balance lay-up that energized the crowd.

Clarke then recovered to make a clean block, earning chants of “Euuu,” from the Varsity who enjoyed the action. He blocked another shot as did McCormick, who scored 12 of his 16 in the final stanza while Clarke had half his dozen. Despite a great effort from SIA, it was enough to hold up.

Notes: Zach Llewlyn and Kyle Graber provided Giovino with valuable minutes which allowed him to keep Hicks and Council on the bench. … The JV Boys and Varsity Lions return to action when they visit Friends Seminary for a league doubleheader Tuesday. Scheduled tips are 4:15 and 5:45. … Monday, the Lady Lions host Packer at 4:15 PM.

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Knicks put up 68 in half

At the half, the Knicks have reached 68 against the Lakers. They lead LA 68-49. It was nearly 70 but Ray Felton’s two came after the buzzer with replays confirming that the ball was still in his hand before he released it.

They got a bit sloppy in the second quarter. Following a long trey from sharp shooter Steve Novak that put them up 55-32, New York relaxed. They allowed the Lakers to cut the deficit to 15 and forced some shots which Mike Woodson didn’t like. His team still shot the lights out from downtown, hitting eight-for-fourteen. Melo has three trifectas to go with 26 on 9-of-13 shooting. He’s plus-13 thus far.

For Hollywood, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard have combined for 29 of their 49. The second half is about to get underway.

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Lady Lions dealt first loss to Holy Child

PARK SLOPE, BK-The Berkeley Carroll women’s varsity basketball team ran into a buzz saw earlier today when they hosted Holy Child. The Westchester school was too much for the Park Slope hosts- posting a 52-14 win in Brooklyn this afternoon. It was the Lady Lions’ first loss, which snapped a two-game winning streak.

Following a delayed start, Berkeley Carroll struggled mightily against Holy Child’s full court pressure. Sloppy play led to plenty of turnovers, which Holy Child was only too happy to take advantage of. At least half their 30 first half points came in transition due to undisciplined play from the Lady Lions. Unable to break the press, they had trouble even making routine passes which drew the ire of first-year coach Eileen Herr. She used an early timeout following an 8-0 run from the visitors to try settling her team down.

Instead, mistakes continued for her shorthanded club that only dressed eight. Maggie Welsh led a balanced attack for Holy Child, who had seven different scorers. Welsh, Elizabeth Curcio and Tyra Cureton combined for 22 of their team’s 30 during an onslaught that saw them jump out to a 22-0 lead before BC’s Sarah Paller banked in a trey that Herr didn’t want. She was urging her to run the offense. It summed up a lopsided first half that saw Herr shout at her chargers for allowing too many second chances and not hustling to loose balls.

While the Lady Lions continued to stumble, Holy Cross executed offensively, doing damage in the paint where they used their size to finish inside. The Westchester school ran some backdoors and scored on driving lay-ins. They took a 27-point cushion into intermission.

Following the break, Herr’s club played better in a more competitive third stanza. They competed harder defensively, forcing their opponent into two shot clock violations. The effort also paid dividends in their half court set led by Paller, who scored nine of her game high 14 in the quarter. That included a three along with a nice finish off a great feed from junior Becca Bender which drew enthusiasm from the Lions’ gym. Paller also had a steal and bucket coming off strong, aggressive D. Something the Lady Lions did well with senior leader Margo Miller doing a good job rebounding and junior Liv Saleh fighting hard. Saleh also had a couple of close calls on the offensive end but couldn’t get one to go down off a nice in bounds pass.

That kind of effort is exactly what Herr was looking for after a dismal opening 16 minutes. Berkeley Carroll didn’t give up. Mia Kellman played tough defensively. It wasn’t an easy situation but one they can learn from. Especially with a big home game tomorrow against league rival Martin Luther. All three squads will be in action as part of a tripleheader. The JV Boys who picked up their first win over the weekend at a tournament hosted by Martin Luther, start at 3:45 with the Lady Lions to follow at 5:15 and the Lions scheduled for 7 PM. All versus the same school during a big week at the BC Athletic Center.

Following a 10-9 third period, Holy Child played everyone during the final stanza. Starter Tyra Cureton who had six of her eight in the second half, sliced and diced her way to the hoop for four of her team’s dozen. Shannon O’Connor added six off the bench. Welsh tied for the team lead with Curcio and Josie Amerson with the trio all finishing with 10- accounting for more than half HC’s total. Seven different players scored.

In the game’s final minute, Paller converted her final bucket on a nice play where she came off a screen for a baseline jumper. It concluded a long day.

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McCormick sparks Lions to quarter win over Tigers

PARK SLOPE, BK- Sometimes, you never know who’ll step up in a big spot. For the Berkeley Carroll Boys JV Lions, it came from an unlikely source. Danny McCormick’s 14 and 10 rebounds off the bench sparked first-year coach Terrence Caufield’s chargers to a 53-36 home quarterfinal win at the Lions Den this afternoon. The top seeded Lions advanced to a semifinal which will be played at 2 PM on Saturday at Packer.

It’s never easy to beat the same opponent three times. Staten Island Academy provided a challenge to Berkeley Carroll, who swept their league rival during the season. Playoffs are a different animal. In the early going, a focused SIA came out of the gate quickly, scoring five of the game’s first seven points. They took advantage of a tight start from the Lions, who were guilty of several turnovers.

Not surprisingly, the Tigers came out with better intensity and benefited from the hot start of guard Mike Lambiasi. He scored seven of a team high 13 in the opening stanza that saw SIA and BC exchange leads. He got help from Gunner Morales (trey), who notched his four in the quarter. The Tigers did a sound job denying the paint, forcing the Lions into sloppy passes and ill advised shots. They were more aggressive, pleasing their coach.

Despite the sluggish beginning, Berkeley Carroll eventually got it going led by twin brother tandem Andrew and David Colon. Each were unfazed by their opponent’s intensity. They combined for 13 with David getting all nine in the opening 16 minutes. Both sank jumpers and David set up open teammates as four of BC’s five starters scored in a closely fought first that SIA led 11-10.

For 10 minutes, Staten Island Academy stayed with Berkeley Carroll. However, the Lions’ decisive bench edge kicked in during a statement second quarter. Caufield’s club outscored their Staten Island foe 22-4 led by McCormick, who was a load to handle inside. Using his size, McCormick wreaked havoc in the paint, netting eight of 14 during the run. Three came on putbacks and the other off another offensive board that saw him get the rock back for an easy finish. His inspired effort got the bench up and provided a huge lift.

Prior to McCormick’s eruption, a key hustle play by Zach Llewlyn really got the Lions going. All tied at 13, he ran down a loose ball- making a diving save to teammate Chris Harper. Harper did the rest blowing by three Tigers for a great finish that steered BC back in front. That was the turning point, allowing the Park Slope hosts to settle down. Their defensive pressure picked up, forcing SIA into miscues. The Tigers also couldn’t buy a basket, which allowed the Lions to run.

Harper played tenacious in both ends, forcing turnovers. It was McCormick who scored off an offensive rebound on a missed free throw that was right in the middle of the 18-point difference in the second. While he provided the grunt work along with Llewlyn, the Colons, Harper and Izzy David contributed.

The Lions went from a point down to 17 up, leading the Tigers 32-15 at intermission. Caufield rewarded McCormick’s hard work by starting him for the second half. He opted to rest Andrew Colon, who scored four of his six in the first half.

The third quarter was more even with the break giving a short SIA bench a chance to recover. Nick Smarsch scored all 11 during the second half. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to offset the Lions’ balance. McCormick continued to do damage inside with three more easy baskets. There also was a sweet dish by David Colon to for a wide open David trifecta.

The Lions still led by 20 after three which allowed Caufield to give David the rest of the day off. He subbed frequently, also getting a nice contribution from Kyle Graber, who came in for a foul plagued McCormick and sank a 14-footer from the left baseline.  

It was that kind of day for the Lions, who look to advance to the ACIS championship with a semifinal win Saturday. If they make it, Monday will be for all the marbles at the Packer gym.

David and Harper each finished with 10 while the Colons (David-9, Andrew-6) combined for 15. Llewlyn and Graber had two each. McCormick paced everyone with 14.



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Lions fall to St. Ann’s on Senior Day

PARK SLOPE, BK- It was another special day at Berkeley Carroll with five seniors getting honored prior to their final regular season home game against division leader St. Ann’s. Though they came up short in a 53-35 loss at the Lions’ Den, it was still a memorable moment. Seniors Mike Andria, Duncan Hardy, Cole Kitchen, Adam Kochman and team captain Joe Longo all marched out with their parents as coach Carmine Giovino introduced them to a nice ovation. Flowers were presented and then they had an important game to play against a good team.

In an earlier meeting, they led before falling at St. Ann’s. This time, the Lions played them on even terms during a tight first half before St. Ann’s pulled away with a strong second half. Jake Nidenberg scored 12 of his game high 20 and Dylan Lowther netted 10 of 12 after intermission, boosting St. Ann’s to the 18-point road win.

It didn’t come easy with the Lions responding to an early 4-0 deficit by running off the next seven, highlighted by a deep Shane Pearley trey and a nice baseline floater from Dondre Benson. Sophomore Ian Miller dialed long distance to help steer Berkeley Carroll ahead by two after one.

A couple of tough hoops from floor general Longo had the Lions thinking upset in the second stanza. But a bigger St. Ann’s squad tightened up defensively. Nidenberg’s physical presence was felt on the glass and in the paint where a couple of blocks helped stem the tide. To their credit, BC made life difficult on him by packing in their zone, forcing an ice cold Lowther to shoot from the perimeter. Unable to find the range, it allowed the Lions to stay even despite a poor finish to the half, with scoring drying up.

Berkeley Carroll still was in good position to get it done tied at 20. However, the next 16 minutes would be a different story. St. Ann’s came out quickly led by Nidenberg and third option Tim Seckian (12 points), who did most of his damage along with Lowther in the final two quarters. The Lions couldn’t just focus on closing out Nidenberg due to Seckian hurting them on some backdoor cuts and Lowther hitting from the outside.

They still hung around with Miller knocking down a three and Pearley working hard for his nine points. Kochman split a pair of free throws and Jasper Kitchen finished inside. In the first half, their zone forced St. Ann’s into sloppy turnovers with Pearley and Longo intercepting passes along with a hustling Kochman. But with more of a balanced attack to contend with, it was tougher. They still were within striking distance trailing 36-30 after three.

Any thoughts of a big win were erased by St. Ann’s, who outscored Berkeley Carroll 17-5 in the fourth. Nidenberg scored inside and Lowther drained a three to extend the lead to double digits. The effort was there from the Lions but the shots weren’t falling. They were beat by Seckian inside off textbook passing and Niedenberg controlled the glass, converting on putbacks.

Perhaps the Lions could’ve used a spark from Cole Kitchen, who sat out due to a technical foul picked up in their last game. Instead, Kitchen watched helplessly from the bench, which had to be heartbreaking. He wasn’t the only one out as Josiah Murrell also didn’t play. Being shorthanded didn’t help.  

BC went 2-1 the prior week, beating SIA and UNIS while falling to Brooklyn rival Packer.  If they won their regular season finale at Friends Seminary, Berkeley Carroll gets one more home game with a playoff quarterfinal against Dwight. Giovino’s club was sitting in third at last check. One more win and they get the same home court the Lady Lions will have the luxury of in an ACIS quarter rematch against Evangel Christian this Tuesday. Either way, it’ll be on the line when the postseason begins. They could see St. Ann’s or Packer again. 

Strong second half pushes JV past St. Ann’s: It wasn’t easy for Terrence Caufield’s JV Boys, who looked lethargic in the second game against St. Ann’s. However, better intensity produced a 27-18 second half as the Lions pulled away for a 55-40 win.

They never could break it open early due to some undisciplined play on both ends, which Caufield termed as ‘us playing like a first place team.’ At the break, he told them to play like they were in last. The desperation picked up with the Lions finally matching St. Ann’s hustle.

All five starters scored with Izzy David scoring 17, including three of his team’s seven trifectas on the day. The Lions had a decided edge from the outside with Chris Harper and David Colon also hitting a pair from downtown, which killed St. Ann’s hopes of a comeback. They hung around on the oustanding play of one player who notched a game best 21. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough as a 16-9 fourth erased any doubt with David and Harper combining for 13.

Harper also hurt St. Ann’s in transition en route to a team high 18 while David Colon was the third Lion to reach double figures with 10 while twin brother Andrew Colon had five. Zach Llewlyn cleaned up the glass while adding three off hard work. Emptying his bench late, Caufield saw Joey Shapiro contribute a deuce as the first place Lions get ready for their final regular season game Monday with tipoff at 5 PM in Park Slope.

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Lady Lions’ rally falls short in loss to Martin Luther

PARK SLOPE, BK- The effort was certainly there. But ultimately, it wasn’t enough for the Berkeley Carroll Lady Lions, whose rally fell short in a 60-50 loss to league rival Martin Luther.

A seesaw contest unfolded at the BC Athletic Center between two good teams. Martin Luther came out strong by scoring eight of the game’s first 10 points. Trailing 10-4, first-year coach Sydney Blumstein took an early 30-second timeout to regroup her club. It seemed to work with the Lady Lions responding with an 8-4 run to close the quarter. They were led by Morga Miller’s three steals and two baskets, including a nice score off a swipe that also drew a foul. She was unable to complete the three-point play.

Berkeley Carroll picked up the intensity in an improved second period. Their aggressive D forced Martin Luther into mistakes and some undisciplined shots. Senior captain Olivia Wilson scored half a dozen as the Lady Lions outscored their Queens opponent 14-8. They got solid D from Sarah Paller, whose steals and two buckets  helkped put her team in front 24-22 at intermission. Sophomore Olivia Saleh scored in transition and also made a nice pass for an easy Wilson finish.

However, Martin Luther turned it around with a 16-8 third that featured a 12-4 run to start. They were led by Octavia Campbell, who paced everyone with 20. She did most of her damage in the second half, getting 19 after intermission. Campbell was outstanding, taking advantage of sloppy BC mistakes for easy buckets while also hitting a trey from the right key. Her inspired play turned the game around. She scored more than half her team’s points, pacing them with nine in a strong third that saw Martin Luther take a six-point lead into the final stanza.

Two baskets from Wilson and a nice roll off a long two from Becca Bender kept Berkeley Carroll within striking distance as the third ended.

Early in the fourth, it looked like Martin Luther would pull away. They continued to get contributions from Campbell (10 in quarter) and teammate Lauren Nieves, who finished with 12. However, the Lady Lions weren’t done. Even with Wilson fouling out with still four and a half minutes left and BC on the ropes, Blumstein’s club fought valiantly.

Junior Mia Kellman caught fire from the outside. Having already sunk one three, she converted consecutive trifectas to pull the Lady Lions within 48-47. She scored nine of her 11 in the quarter- springing the bench to life as Martin Luther called for time.

Kellman also got help from Paller, who hit some timely hoops to keep BC alive. She finished with a team high 14, including eight in the fourth. However, a mistake on a critical possession didn’t help the Lady Lion’s chances. Trailing 52-50, Paller received a pass on an in bounds but wasn’t prepared for the pressure, turning the ball over.  Martin Luther cashed in with a lay-up to extend to 54-50.

Berkeley Carroll never came any closer. Five big points from Vanessa Richards salted it away. Martin Luther drew first blood with the rematch on their home court tomorrow at 4. It should be interesting.

Notes: Following the second meeting over four days with Martin Luther, the Lady Lions play host to Trevor Day as part of a double featuring the Varsity Men on Friday.

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Douglas inspires

The Knicks needed someone to step up in Chauncey Billups’ place last night. The answer turned out to be Toney Douglas, who inspired the orange and blue to an easy 107-88 home win over the uninspired Hornets.

Douglas, who now backs up Billups was told by Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony to be more assertive. The second-year guard out of Florida State had taken a step back since the trade, trying to fit in. That’s not what Mike D’Antoni wants from the valuable sixth man who’s instant offense off the bench. Cast into a starting role with Billups sidelined with a bruised hip, the ’09 first round pick exploded for 24 points on an efficient 10-of-13 shooting, leading a balanced attack to its third win in five during the New Era.

He’s deferring his game to the big three and you could see him and he’s not being Toney Douglas,” D’Antoni stated. “And Toney Douglas comes with a lot of good stuff, comes with some playmaking deficiencies, but that’s him. He has to accept that, try to get better at it, but he can’t all of a sudden become a setup kind of guy and not get into his game.”

Douglas started off by taking the rock strong to the hole for nifty finishes. He also dialed up from long distance, draining a pair of three’s for 10 first quarter points. It was part of a big night that saw him tie with Stoudemire with 24 while ‘Melo notched 22. Even better, Douglas also distributed the ball, pacing the Knicks with five dishes in a well balanced attack that saw all five starters register at least four dimes. The Knicks as a team had 28 assists to the Hornets’ 19. A nice ratio.

Rookie Landry Fields also hit double digits with 10, including a trey while picking up three rebounds and four assists. D’Antoni reinserted Ronny Turiaf into the starting lineup, allowing Shawne Williams to come off the bench where he’s more comfortable. Not surprisingly, the revelation had 16 including four triples in 27-plus minutes.

In his first game back in the Big Apple, Jared Jeffries didn’t score but did his job by pulling down six boards, including four on the offensive glass in 24 minutes. Precisely the reason the Knicks brought the gritty power forward back. He didn’t get much time in Houston. Now, the former Indiana standout gets a new lease on life with a coach he’s familiar with. It should be a great fit, that will benefit the team who needs more length and strength.

For the Hornets who’ve been an enigma this season, it’s hard to describe why they weren’t ready to go. Chris Paul isn’t happy and obviously wants to move to Broadway to team with buddies ‘Melo and Amar’e. But that’s still at least a year and a half away unless he forces a trade. CP3 is as gifted a point guard in the game but hasn’t been the same since an injury that sidelined him much of last season.

Given how well Billups is working with ‘Melo and Stoudemire, perhaps the Knicks should just stay put. Of course, Billups is older. So, there will be change in the future. But let’s enjoy Mr. Big Shot while we have him. As clutch a performer as the game has. Money.

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