Teams show razzle-dazzle in East-West showdown

M.A.T. vs. I.S. 89

I.S. 89 had the home court advantage in Battery Park City last week, but a slight disadvantage in that their opponents from Chinatown play with A and B teams, and their coach had to scramble at the last minute to create two teams.  And his team did him proud.  Starting with a smooth play by Rudy Lavanture, and followed by teammate Sonny Fortenbaugh skating right through the key for basket number two, 89 dominated the Manhattan Academy of Technology A-team. 

They stayed under their own basket for four consecutive rebounds before Lavanture scored again.  Ryan Porcaro tried to overcome the 6-0 lead with a great move, passing to Philippe Cox, but the shot went in and out of the basket.  Lavanture was unfazed by the M.A.T. defense, stealing moves from the pros and going in, around and up for his third of seven baskets.  Cox stole the ball, took it coast-to-coast and was fouled in the process.  His one successful free throw put M.A.T. on the board. His teammate Tyler Rohan rebounded 89’s next attempt to score, and passed to Porcaro, who faked and passed to Nicholas Lawrence, who scored the first field goal for M.A.T. But 89, a team organized and coached by Manhattan Youth, persevered under their own basket again, this time with five consecutive rebounds before Coby Levinson hit pay dirt and brought the score 19-3.  Douglass Stapler added one for M.A.T. when his assist from Porcaro went in, despite being fouled by his old P.S. 234 friend Simon Miles.  In the next M.A.T. possession, Porcaro passed it to Rohan, whose behind-the-back pass to Stapler brought the score to 19-7 after the first quarter.

 The M.A.T. B-team fared better in the second quarter, led by strong defense by Greg Mack. Rohan put M.A.T. in the lead for the first time with a basket, right before teammate Tyler Adams was fouled. Mack made his first of several steals, but Levinson, still in for 89, ended up with the basket.  Mickiah Butler of M.A.T. was fouled and made one free throw, but 89’s number 55, towering over most of the players, was fouled as well, and sunk one shot.   The second quarter was characterized by several loose balls, which resulted in lots of diving bodies and rugbyesque scrums for the ball.   When the whistle blew for half time, referee Blake Hepburn had called more jump balls than points, and 89 kept a big lead, 22-10.

 In came the A-teams for more rough play.  Stapler made an awesome pass to M.A.T.’s Sammy Marciano but the ball teetered in and out.  Lavanture made a behind-the-back pass to himself, but his shot was blocked by Marciano.  I.S. 89 continued to play very aggressively, using a full court press and adding 8 more points to M.A.T.’s 2, and Stapler was out with a jammed finger.  Truman Dunn scored for M.A.T., and Porcaro a second basket, but the gap remained wide at 33-11. Lawrence answered with some strong defense for M.A.T., and fans on both sides witnessed many exciting plays with bodies flying everywhere!  M.A.T. had problems protecting the ball, and 89 was able to make good with the turnovers, and Drew scored four baskets for his team.  The third quarter ended with a 39-14 lead for 89.

 The fourth quarter highlighted the tenacious play of M.A.T.’s “Killer B’s.”   Coach P switched from zone defense to full court press and the havoc paid huge dividends. I.S. 89 had trouble breaking out of their own zone and there were numerous jump balls, traveling calls and intercepted passes. Jump ball after jump ball was called as both teams operated the full court press.  Adams, in a move only previously seen in the Rohan living room, slid the ball to his teammate, and Rohan sunk the three-pointer.  Rohan followed that up with a behind-the-back pass to Butler, who scored his first of six baskets in the quarter with a running baby hook shot.  Adams followed with his own 2-pointer, and the score was 39-20. In a key play, Mack forced a double-dribble, took the ball out at the M.A.T. basket, and passed to Adams for his second basket.  Butler scored again, and the M.A.T. fans went wild. Dante Secada-Oz blocked a shot and passed to Rohan, whose slide pass to Adams was fun to watch but resulted in no basket.  The rebound went to 89’s number 9, who scored.  On the next possession for M.A.T., Butler scored a three-pointer, followed by another field goal for Rohan, who led the team in steals with eight.  Adams stole the ball again, and passed to Sean Barton.  Ben Karam rebounded it and kept the ball near the M.A.T. basket, but Fortenbaugh forced the ball out of bounds.  His throw-in was deflected by Butler, who got the rebound, spun and laid it in for a layup in traffic.  When the whistle blew, the B-team “Tigres” were still ready for action, but time had run out.  The final score was 48-41, I.S. 89.

M.A.T. vs. Westside Prep and Anderson

In the first game of a double-header at the shared gym of Westside Prep and Anderson last Friday, the M.A.T. boys’ J.V. team faced a tough Westside Prep team, including a 5’8” player and a point guard who scored one-fourth of the total points.  M.A.T.’s A-team was down 12-0 after the first six-minute quarter, not only missing all of their shots, but also unable to protect the ball, resulting in many turnovers.  But after David Fontaine stole the ball and passed to Mickiah Butler for the basket, the B-team was on the board for M.A.T.  Butler scored again, and Julian Rodriguez added a basket, but Westside Prep was up 21-6 at the half.  The scoreboard was cleared, and Douglass Stapler scored a basket in the third quarter for M.A.T. Elijah Mateo was fouled after three consecutive offensive rebounds, adding a third point for M.A.T.  Ryan Porcaro drove the ball down and scored, bringing M.A.T. ahead for the first time in the game, 7-6.  Coby Caraballo made an excellent pass to Porcaro for another score, and in the fourth quarter, Fontaine nailed a three-pointer.  The final cumulative score was Westside 40, M.A.T. 21.

 In game two, Porcaro ignited the fire for his M.A.T. team, scoring the first four baskets. Tyler Rohan made an excellent steal, passing to teammate Sean Barton, who drew a foul. Barton’s foul shot attempts were marked by encouraging words from both teams.  M.A.T. held the lead 12-8 going into the half.  Porcaro grabbed the tip at the top of the second, drove it and laid it up, but the shot careened out of the basket.  Porcaro proceeded to get his own rebound and lay it in.  Then he proceeded to steal the ball on Anderson’s next possession and score again for M.A.T.  Teammate Philippe Cox went down, up and in and M.A.T. held the 18-14 lead into the fourth quarter.   Forest Ruiz scored one for M.A.T. . Then Anderson’s Owen scored his fourth basket, and then M.A.T. had a technical foul called on them for a player not being listed on the score sheet.  With that one free throw, and quick follow-up basket, Anderson took the lead for the first time at 19-18.  But with just a few seconds left, Fontaine sunk one, and the final score was M.A.T. 20, Anderson 19.

76ers vs. Celtics

The 76ers (1-1) faced the undefeated Celtics (2-0) Friday night at the P.S./I.S. 89 gym in a Manhattan Youth basketball league game between sixth and seventh graders, but were immediately at a disadvantage with the absence of players Max Ripps, Mack Velle and David Olivo (and his brother, who is the coach).  Lamont Williams stepped in again as coach for the 76ers, and Matthew Weldon volunteered to play for the 76ers to complete the starting five.  Greg Elefterakis started a three-point marathon for the Celtics with a fine swoosh.  Weldon went under the basket for 2 to put the 76ers on the board.  Trevor answered with his 3-point contribution for the Celtics, and the score was 6-2 at the first time out.  Ryan Porcaro joined the club with his first and second of four three-pointers for the Celtics.  Sasha scored 2 points for the Celtics, and Tyler Rohan answered with a basket just inside the three point line.  Alec Tullock, coming straight from a Varsity game at M.A.T., added another two points for the 76ers, and at the end of the first ten-minute quarter, the Celtics were ahead 18-6.

 Jake Jiler, wearing board shorts from his Hawaii trip, scored two consecutive baskets, first after an offensive rebound, and the second, a nice coast-to-coast move.  Truman Dunn scored for the Celtics.  So many baskets went in and out of the net for the 76ers, until Weldon connected again.  The Celtics’ fans, accustomed to winning, continued to complain about Weldon’s participation, now that five true members of the 76ers had arrived.  But Lamont continued to use Weldon, not only to allow for one substitute, but to keep the game exciting and close. Tullock was fouled and made both free throws, and Elefterakis scored again. Weldon was fouled and made his first of six foul shots for his adopted team. Rohan stole the ball and scored another basket.  With the clock running out in the first half, Graham Nelson grabbed a rebound and passed it to Weldon, who beamed it to Tullock, who laid it in smoothly.  The score was 26-16, Celtics, at the whistle.

 At the top of the second half, Tullock made a great pass through the key to Justin Wenig for a basket.  Trevor rebounded and passed to Porcaro, and the Celtics tried to score, rebounding four times until Sasha scored. Tullock responded by going coast-to-coast and narrowed the Celtics’ lead by 8. Tullock scored on a pass form Aidan Rogers and was fouled in the act of shooting.  His free throw, plus Rohan’s swoosh brought the 76ers’ score to 25.

In the fourth quarter, Tullock’s baby sky hook and Weldon’s basket closed the gap even more, and the 76ers were only behind by two.   But Elefterakis was fouled, and made both free throws, followed by unanswered baskets by Trevor and Sasha.  Porcaro’s two consecutive three-pointers made a Celtics’ fan exclaim “Well, that should do it!” 

Despite two more baskets by Tullock (the team’s high-scorer with 15 points), he was right. The final score was 45-35, Celtics.