Blazers and Mavs battle to the buzzer
In another exciting down-to-the-buzzer contest, the Mavericks faced Josh Leitners Blazers at P.S. 234 last Thursday night in a Manhattan Youth league game in the fourth and fifth grade division. The Blazers jumped out ahead with the first jump ball, when Oliver Michaud used his height and bounce to tap the ball directly to Gabe Leitner, who turned around and scored before the Mavs had a chance to defend.
A few moments later, Tyler Adams (last weeks high scorer for the Mavs) evened up the score with a fine layup. The first quarter continued with very aggressive play, plenty of fouls, and some fancy dribbling and defense from the Blazers Douglass Stapler. High-scorer for his team with eight field goals and two free throws, Stapler wove in and out, assisted by Leitner who set the picks consistently. Kamron Landry also pitched in with tough defense, holding the Mavs to only four points at the end of the first.
Michaud, doing his best Bill Laimbeer impression, was en fuego in the second quarter, scoring a total of 11 points and taking advantage of his proximity to the basket with countless offensive rebounds. If not for the Mavs Aidan Ostermaier persistently defending the key, Michaud may have tossed in upwards to 20 points. Tyler Rohan showed good hustle, especially on defense, and ended the two-week drought with a basket and a free throw for the Mavs. Teammate Trevor Goldsteins shots dipped in and then right back out, frustrating the Mavs, but brother Will never lost his cool, persevering until he heard the swoosh. The Blazers Wayne Mok showed some style with a great bob-and-weave but came up short on his field goal attempt. But the Blazers were still able to move ahead 19-9 by the end of the second quarter.
The stampede continued in the second half, with both teams hustling and inadvertently fouling each other. Although ahead by nine, the Blazers continued to fight to hold their lead, including smart passing by Hillel Rosenshine, as the Mavericks Alex Nimura and Jim Huynh worked with their teammates to close the gap.
In the fourth quarter, Stapler and Michaud continued to dominate, and in one play took turns shooting (and missing) and rebounding, until Rohan snagged the ball and took it down to Adams, who scored his fourth basket of the evening. The Mavs slowly but surely crept up, including two baskets from Trevor Goldstein, until an awesome bounce pass through the key from Adams to Will Goldstein brought the Mavs ahead for the first time, 31-30. His subsequent free throw made the score 32-30, but the Blazers wouldnt give up that easily.
Stapler brought the ball down and deftly tossed up a baby hook á la Magic Johnson in the 1987 N.B.A. finals against the Larry Bird-led Celtics. Behind again, the Mavs tensed up, and Michaud was fouled. His second shot hit pay dirt, and time ran out for the Mavs. Will Goldstein, high-scorer of the week, ended up scoring a total of 14 points in the game, and substitute coaches Alex Sierra and Chris Rohan were proud of the Mavs for their great effort in overcoming a ten-point halftime deficit. Unfortunately for the Mavs though, they couldnt close the deal, and the final score was Blazers 33, Mavericks 32.