Downtown Basketball League highlights
76ers vs. Blazers
In a Manhattan Youth basketball league game in the sixth and seventh-grade division last Friday, the 76ers took the lead when Justin Wenig was fouled and scored one free throw. But their 1-0 lead was lost immediately afterwards, when the Blazers initiated a full court press and Carlton “The Artful Dodger” Esdaile intercepted the ball and scored one basket, then duplicated the same play and scored again. His teammate Jake Cook got into the action with a fine steal, passing it to Carlton again for his third consecutive hoop. Coach Lamont Williams called a time out and instructed the 76ers to continue playing their great defense. Then Tyler Rohan was fouled, and scored one of 2. Esdaile continued weaving in and out of the 76ers, passing to Niall Gallagher for a basket. Esdaile was fouled in the next play and added another notch to his scorecard. Max Ripps rebounded a missed Blazer basket and passed to teammate Tullock, who went down court, up and in. At the end of the first quarter, the score was 15-7, Blazers.
Rohan started the scoring in the second quarter with an assist to Alec Tullock, who was fouled in the act of shooting and scored one. Esdaile made another unbelievable steal, to the delight of the bleacher crowd, most of who were rooting for the Blazers. His basket was followed by a steal by Rohan, who took it down the court, shot and missed. Tullock grabbed the rebound and sunk it, and the gap was narrowed, 15-10. When the half-time whistle blew, Esdaile had scored 12 of the Blazers’ 18 points, and the 76ers were not far behind with 12.
In the top of the second half, Alex Hirsch’s defense trapped Tullock in the backcourt for a 10 second violation. Kyle Goldfarb took advantage of the turnover by scoring his first basket for the Blazers. Matthew Weldon came alive, rebounding a shot and going coast-to-coast for his first of eight baskets. Tullock answered with the same. Ripps stole the ball and passed to teammate Rohan, whose floater brought the score 24-14. Goldfarb answered with another great shot for the Blazers, and opponent Rohan made another great basket. Goldfarb was fouled and made one, then Graham Nelson, who had been quietly playing amazing defense and supportive offense, made his first of two baskets for the 76ers.
Tullock started the fourth quarter with a swish, and teammate Wenig made many field goal attempts for the 76ers, but the ball seemed to skate over the rim each time, much to the chagrin of the three 76ers fans in the stands. The 76ers’ short bench (no subs) caught up to them in the final minutes of the game as the Blazers pulled away. An injury (wrist) to star player Mack Velle had kept him out of the last few games. But now that he was finally healthy, he was unable to make it to Friday’s game. Fan gold medal goes to Luke Carson of Park City, Utah, who flew in on his own to watch and cheer his friends playing for Manhattan Youth. The final score was Blazers 46, 76ers 36.
Kings vs. Suns
The Suns also suffered from a low head count; in fact, Tyler Rohan of the 76ers played the entire first quarter before the Suns’ Walter Bernath rushed into the P.S. 89 gym for game two of the tournament. Six seconds into the game, though, Zach Pine started the rally for the Kings with his first basket. Teammate Douglass Stapler made his patented “rainmaker” shot, and the Kings were ahead 4-0. Nathan Goldberg put the Suns on the board when he was fouled shooting a layup, and made both throws from the foul line. Will Merrill kept the action going for the Kings with a basket, and Stapler plucked Pine’s rebound to make it 10-2. Goldberg scored his second basket, and Griffin made great jumping plays for the Suns, but they continued to struggle. Rohan stole the ball and passed to the Suns’ Tyler Adams, who was caught in a jam but was able to fire it back to his friend for a basket, and the score was 12-8 Kings after the first quarter.
Now with five yellow jerseys, including Greg Mack, the Suns were ready to rumble, but the omnipresent Gabe Leitner made a great block for the Kings and stopped them cold. Stapler scored again, then sunk another shot from the corner, and made it 16-8. Goldberg threaded the needle and scored again, but Leitner answered by grabbing his own rebound and landing it. Goldberg’s drive narrowed the gap by 6, and at halftime the Kings were ahead 18-12.
Missing great shooters and defenders Liam Fuerst, Sonny Fortenbaugh and Sal Derogatis, the Suns did their best without subs to catch up to the eight Kings’ players, but the final score was Kings 48, Suns 25.
Celtics vs. Nets
In the last game of the evening, Ryan Porcaro’s 14 points helped put the Celtics over the Nets, 53-47.