A long day of basketball ended with a bitter defeat to the Playaz Club (N.J.) in the quarterfinals of the iS8/Nike Fall Tip-Off Classic and all Mike Taylor and Antione Slaughter had in mind was getting back to Brooklyn.
Taylor was fueling up at a gas station, about to get on the highway, when Slaughter came up with a plan when he heard the 2010 Howie Frajberg Metro Classic was starting late after the girls game went to double overtime.
“Mike said the game started at 5:30 p.m. I said let’s just go, its halftime,” he said. “What if they’re down, you and me come late and the team can come back.”
That’s just what the Boys & Girls duo did. After navigating themselves through Queens to Archbishop Molloy HS, they helped lead the Boro team to a 120-116 overtime victory against the Burbs at Jack Curran Gymnasium Sunday night.
“I had to take my anger out on this game because I was made we lost at iS8,” Slaughter said.
The Burbs built up a 50-43 halftime lead when Taylor and Slaughter walked into the gym. The Boros’ deficit ballooned to 18 in the third quarter, but Slaughter scored seven of his 13 points in the final minute of the third, igniting a spark that carried over to the fourth quarter.
That’s when Christ the King’s Omar Calhoun took over. The junior guard scored 16 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of free throws to get the Boros to within two, 99-97, with 2:55 left.
But the Burbs battled back. St. Mary’s guard Chavaughn Lewis (22 points) and Long Island Lutheran star Achraf Yacoubou, a pair of New York City natives, knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the Burbs lead to 105-97 with 1:48 remaining.
“If we would have hit free throws, we would have won,” said the Villanova-bound Yacoubou, who had 18 points and 18 rebounds.
Indeed, four missed free throws in the final 54.6 seconds proved deadly for the Burbs as Calhoun exploded for consecutive 3-point plays to cut the Boros deficit to 108-105 with 31 seconds left.
“My adrenaline was pumping, the crowd was going crazy, I just wanted to win so badly,” said Calhoun, who earned MVP honors and was 6-of-10 from 3-point range. “I couldn’t let the Burbs come in and beat us.”
After Mount Vernon’s Khalid Samuels missed a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left, Lincoln guard Shaquille Stokes (24 points) sent the game into overtime with a corner 3-pointer with four seconds remaining in regulation.
“That was a big shot,” Stokes said. “I’m used to those shots.”
It was a shot Slaughter said he’s seen before, Stokes capped a remarkable comeback for the Boros, which trailed 108-97 with 1:10 left.
“That’s the same exact spot and shot he took when we were up three at our home against Lincoln and he hit that same shot to send the game to overtime,” he said. “Once it left his hands, I already knew it was good.”
Even though the game was tied, the Burbs were deflated heading to overtime.
“We had it, but I don’t know what happened,” Lewis said. “Shaquille hit a big shot in the corner and that just dropped us.”
A 3-pointer by Robeson’s Darrell Lucky with 3:07 remaining in overtime gave the Boros its first lead of the game and one they wouldn’t give up.
The victory gave the Boro squad some area bragging rights, made the ride back to Brooklyn for Taylor and Slaughter much nicer and gave Calhoun a nice belated birthday present for his father, Omar Sr.
“We knew they’d be late because they had an iS8 game,” Calhoun said of Taylor and Slaughter. “They actually came and stepped up for us.”
©2010 Community News Group
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