Seward Park holds their own vs. city’s top team

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From left, Gabriel Jacquez, D’Andre McLamb, Xavier Jennings, Drew Billingsley and Kevin Won at Senior Night at Seward Park High School. Photos by robbieleephoto.com

BY RICHARD KUSHNER | It’s more than just a basketball team. Wallace Simpson, the coach of the Seward Park High School boys varsity team, has made it more a family than a team. When a kid is in trouble or needs support of any kind, Coach Simpson has developed, over the years, a safety net that these young men can rely upon.

Last week, on Thurs., Jan. 28, the Bears hosted a game against Thomas Jefferson High School. Jefferson is rated the No. 1 team in the city this season. Since it was Regents week, there were no scheduled games, so Assistant Coach Ed Lau dialed up an old friend, Lawrence Pollard, head coach for PSAL AA Division Jefferson High School.

Jefferson is led by Shamare Ponds, a 6-foot-1 guard who was one of Chris Mullins’s top recruits this year. He will be attending St. John’s next year and was rated one of the top 40 high school players in the country. Also on Jefferson, Rasheem Dunn, a 6-foot-3 standout player, is headed to St. Francis, another Division 1 school, right here in Downtown Brooklyn.

The gym was packed even during Regents week, which was unexpected. Seward Park’s D’Andre McLamb had a good game against Ponds, with 14 points. Xavier Jennings led Seward Park with 19 points, Drew Billingsley scored 15, and junior center Dean LaBoy had 10 points.
For Jefferson, Ponds netted 16 points and Dunn had 11.

Seward lost, 81-71, but losing to the No. 1 team in the city by just 10 was quite an accomplishment.

The St. Francis coach was at the game. Wagner, Monroe and St. Francis are all looking at McLamb. Cloud County Junior College in Kansas and Howard College in Texas — another two-year college — are both looking at X. Adelphi and New York Institute of Technology are looking at LaBoy.
Playoffs are in about two weeks. Will keep you all posted.