Tyler Sinclair of the I.S. 89 Cougars dribbles against Academy of Environmental Science last week. Before the game the Cougars and their coach accepted a trophy last week for winning a tournament at French Lycée school.
I.S. 89 Cougars trap too much for Eagles
By Zachary Roy
The I.S. 89 Cougars boys basketball team used suffocating defense and two insurmountable scoring runs to put away the Academy for Environmental Science Eagles, 58-43, on Thursday at the I.S. 89 gym.
A tall and fast team, A.E.S. traded baskets with the Cougars (10-1) throughout the first quarter, before a pair of free throws by I.S. 89 power-forward Robbie Duran put the hosts up 15-10.
An early second-quarter lay-up brought the Eagles to within three, but the Cougars, coached by Manhattan Youth, responded with a 3-2 trapping defense that forced turnover after turnover.
The trapping defense is something we started running after our only loss of the season, head coach Blake Hepburn explained. Im just lucky to have the kind of athletes who can implement different defenses.
With the defensive spark, the Cougar offense caught fire. After a Tyler Sinclair three-pointer and a four-point play by Duran who was fouled while making a long-range jumper and swished the free-throw the team took a 33-20 lead into the half.
The Eagles countered with a full-court press defense, creating a second half filled with turnovers and transition baskets on both sides. A.E.S. drained a three-pointer late in the third quarter to cut the I.S. 89 lead to 39-29, but that was as close as they got. The Cougars responded with an 11-0 run that effectively clinched the win.
We moved the ball around a lot and found open people, said Duran, whose 15 points led the team. Our biggest strength is playing as a team.
Sensing complacency from his players, that he believes to be caused by being on the winning end of so many blowouts, Hepburn hopes to schedule a rematch with Lab, the only team to defeat I.S. 89 this season.
Cougar Jenny Yu pushes the ball up the court.
Immediately following the boys contest, Cougars girls squad (5-5) battled Tompkins Square Middle School at home. Both teams shined defensively in a first half that ended with Tompkins on top 8-4.
I was really pleased to see how aggressive we were on defense, head coach Cecilia Dobbs said. The girls are usually timid, but they got some fouls, which was a good sign.
The game opened up in the second half, with each team heating up from the field. While the Cougars hit a high percentage of their shots, they were unable to match their opponents size inside. On the strength of multiple second-chance points, Tompkins Square rallied for a 27-13 win.
The second half was the opposite of the first, Dobbs said. We moved the ball better and we started to hit our shots, but we didnt get enough shots and we let the other team score too easily.
With I.S. 89 on spring break this week, neither the boys nor the girls will see action until the following week with games that have yet to be scheduled.