Downtown basketball teams battle

The Manhattan Academy of Technology J.V. team waited with bated breath as their cross-town opponents entered the gym, but no such luck. I.S. 89’s Rudy Lavanture, Coby Levinson, Brendan Chan and Sonny Fortenbaugh were back, and seemingly taller than ever. 

Lavanture put the offensive pressure on immediately, but was thwarted by great defense by Jerry Juarbe. But Chan stepped in and put two points on the board for 89 and the game was on. 

In M.A.T.’s next possession, Lavanture stole the ball and went coast-to-coast, followed by baskets by Levinson and Chan, and I.S. 89, coached by Manhattan Youth, was in the lead 8-0. 

Douglass Stapler was fouled in the act of shooting a three-pointer in the next M.A.T. possession, and made one of his three foul shots, putting M.A.T. on the board. Down 8-1 and starting to kick it up, M.A.T.’s Coby Caraballo stole the ball and passed to Philippe Cox, but Lavanture knocked it out of bounds and started a great play for 89 which ended with another basket for Chan. 

But M.A.T.’s Ryan Porcaro answered with a swish from the three-point range. Stapler followed that up with an awesome behind-the-back pass to Sammy Marciano for a basket, and the score was 12-6. Stapler kept the momentum going when he stole under the M.A.T. basket and scored. With six seconds left, Lavanture made a three-pointer look easy, and 89 was ahead 15-9 and won the first quarter.

In the second quarter, 89’s height advantage won them the tip-off, but Dante Secada-Oz made a crafty steal and passed to M.A.T. teammate Tyler Rohan, who sent the ball in a fine arc for a three-pointer. 

Despite suffocating defense by Secada-Oz, Rohan and Tyler Adams, Fortenbaugh was able to score for 89, followed by a basket for Kenny Li, and two consecutive baskets by Alex Huang for 89. David Fontaine sunk one for M.A.T., but with Levinson and Chan’s two baskets, I.S. 89 increased its lead.

Marciano was fouled to start the third quarter, and made a free throw. But 89 answered with another basket from Levinson. Porcaro drove the ball in past defenders who towered over him, and the force of his basket brought him to the ground.

In a beautiful play that made the M.A.T. fans swoon, Lavanture passed to Chan, who passed to Levinson for the basket. Rebound King Stapler made his second basket for M.A.T. but Lavanture came through again for 89 with a smooth layup, and two successful free throws. Caraballo followed with a nice layup and was fouled in the act of shooting, adding three for M.A.T. Teammate Porcaro made another field goal.

I.S. 89’s Levinson joined the three-point club, followed by Porcaro’s second three-pointer for M.A.T. and another basket for teammate Caraballo.  With four seconds left, Caraballo scored his second basket of the game to bring the quarter’s score.

I.S. 89 was clearly the dominant team, leading in all three quarters, but the Killer B’s wanted an exciting fourth quarter to mirror the last time these two teams met. Li started off with a basket for 89, but Fontaine was right behind him to tie it up, and was fouled in the act of shooting, scoring another point for M.A.T. Levinson nailed his second three-pointer, and teammate Fortenbaugh added his fifth basket for 89. Fontaine scored again, closing the gap by one. 

In the next possession for M.A.T., Gregory Mack was the recipient of some great passing, scoring as he was fouled and putting M.A.T. in the lead for the quarter.  Sean Barton and Nicholas Lawrence joined the fight to put M.A.T. back in the quarter lead with great defense and a steal, but Fortenbaugh scored again. Ben Karam made an excellent pass through the key to Adams and the seesaw tipped the other way.

In the next possession for 89, the Tenacious D of the M.A.T. team resulted in a jump ball. Only five seconds remained, and M.A.T. was in the lead for the quarter, 12-11. Fontaine was fouled and made one of his free throws before 89 called a timeout. Fontaine made his second shot for the 11-point high score tally for M.A.T., and with two seconds on the clock, the B team came through for M.A.T. and won the quarter 14-11. The cumulative total was 58-44, I.S. 89.