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Poly Prep boys hoops falls to Riverdale in title game

Brooklyn Daily
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Poly Prep will have to wait another year finally bring home a title.

The second-seeded Blue Devils fell 67–63 to No. 1 Riverdale at the private school Class B boys basketball final on Sunday at Fieldston. Poly has now lost in its last three trips to the title games and has not won a championship since 2004.

This year may have been its best chance, as five-time defending champion Collegiate was knocked out in the first round. However, the Falcons, who were regular season Ivy League co-champions with the Blue Devils, knocked them off.

“We worked so hard during the season, everybody is working so hard, it’s just that in the end we didn’t come out with a win, it sucks,” said freshman Najee Taylor, who scored a game-high 18 points.

Poly (17–9) was down just three with the ball and five seconds remaining in the game. The inbounds pass was thrown to Taylor, who was immediately fouled by Riverdale (19–5). He hit 1-of-2 free throw attempts to cut the deficit to 65–63, but two more free throws from Nicholas Raven, who scored 17 points, iced the game for Riverdale.

“We felt like it was going to be a game down to the end,” Blue Devils coach Bill McNally said. “We were hoping to have a little luck, because that’s what you need in the postseason.”

The game could not have started better for Poly Prep, which opened on an 11–0 run in the opening two minutes. Senior captain Charlie Marquardt scored six of his 17 points for the game in the opening minute.

Although it appeared to be a possible rout in Poly’s favor, Riverdale came storming back, cutting the Blue Devils first-quarter lead to just two as the quarter concluded. Riverdale took a 23–21 lead with just over four minutes remaining in the second quarter and Poly Prep could never regain the lead.

“Defensively I felt like we fell off a little bit,” Taylor said. “They started making shots, and then that was the ball game.”

The Blue Devils were led by underclassmen in this game, which bodes well for the future of the team. In addition to Taylor having a strong game, freshman Wolfgang Novogratz contributed 17 points, including 11 in the second half. Sophomore Kyle Goldfarb added nine points. This experience in a championship atmosphere with such a young roster is valuable to eventually bringing home title.

“This is going to push me and motivate me to go harder every time we step on the court,” Taylor said.

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewski@cnglocal.com. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.

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