Volume 17, Number 43 | March 18 - 24, 2005

Cougars coast in rematch with Greenwich Village team

By Zachary Roy

The I.S. 89 Cougars extended their remarkable record to 13-1 Thursday at home with their second victory Greenwich Village Middle School in as many weeks.

Last week the two teams battled back and forth for one-and-a-half quarters before the Cougars used to their trademark full court press defense to coast to a 20-point victory. But G.V.M.S. coach Patrick Sillup said his team drilled their offense all week in practice, and was poised for a better showing.

The G.V.M.S. backcourt of Brian Ramos and Karim Obaid had more success in breaking it this time around. Despite the hot outside shooting of Cougar guard Tyler Sinclair, the hosts had little margin for error as the lead changed hands several times in the first half.

Cougar leading scorer Grits Gittens was held to just four first-quarter points after having scored 25 in the previous game. Whereas in the previous meeting I.S. 89 held a commanding double-digit lead, this time they were only up 26-20.

Hepburn expressed disappointment with his team’s effort defensively and on the boards, as the bulky G.V.M.S. forwards created many high-percentage shots. “We were walking back on defense. Our energy was low in the paint, and that’s where (G.V.M.S.) was staying in the game, but our backcourt overpowered them,” he said. “At halftime I told them ‘don’t let up, move the ball, make the extra pass, hands up on defense.’”

In the beginning of the second half, Sillup sat Ramos on the bench for a few minutes of rest, but without their star guard, the visitors’ offense sputtered and the Cougars press was able to force turnovers at the same rate as it had in the first match up.

Gittens broke out of his scored eight of his 14 points in the opening minutes of the half, leading a 12-0 run. Sinclair also finished with 14 points as the Cougars won, 50-39. Ramos tallied 14 and Obaid added eight in the losing effort.

“We played hard, but when we got down by six, we lost focus for a few minutes and you can’t do that against a talented team,” Sillup said.

This Thursday I.S. 89 plays at home against I.S. 140 at 4 p.m., followed by the Cougar girls squad, who will host Salk Middle School of Science.

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