New York High School: Muhammed Ahmed

Bronx/Queens teams sweep Mayor's Cup

March, 30, 2012
The bragging rights in the Public Schools Athletic League will be in the Bronx and Queens for the year, as the Bronx/Queens teams defeated the Manhattan/Brooklyn/Staten Island squads in both the boys and girls game in the Mayor's Cup on Friday night at City College of New York. The Mayor's cup pits the best seniors in the PSAL against one another.

Girls: Bronx/Queens 65, Manhattan/Brooklyn/Staten Island 60: While JFK's Deaisia Acklin took home MVP honors, it was the play of Morrisania's Ogechukwu Uwanaka that had one of the team's coaches, Francis Lewis' Stephen Tsai, raving after the game.

"I have no idea how we win without her," Tsai said. "She had to play a majority of the time as she was our only legitimate size but she was quick enough to go against the other team's size as well. Deaisia also had to play a majority for us and while she won MVP, (Uwanaka) did so much for us in terms of rebounding, blocked shots, loose balls. It was so impressive."

The Bronx/Queens team fell in a 19-6 hole early but it pulled itself back into the game by using a zone defense and took the lead. The Manhattan/Brooklyn/Staten Island team made a late charge but Tsai said the Bronx/Queens team made some incredible shots that he would guess some of the girls didn't even expect to go in.

"The event was better than I expected," Tsai said. "The turnout was incredible, Mayor (Michael) Bloomberg was there and taking pictures with everybody, it turned out to be a great event and for the boys game it was even nicer. I was so impressed with how everything turned out. It was a great event and great to be a part of."

Boys: Bronx/Queens 122, Manhattan/Brooklyn/Staten Island 121 (OT): The Bronx/Queens team capitalized on two missed free throws by arguably the best player in the league, Leroy "Truck" Fludd, and scored a late basket to squeak out the win in overtime and complete the sweep for the boroughs.

The Bronx/Queens team took a lead on a layup by JFK's Muhammed Ahmed following Fludd's misses, and the Manhattan/Brooklyn/Staten Island team had a chance to win the game late but couldn't connect.

Eagle Academy's Najee Senior was named MVP for scoring 15 points while Wadleigh's Basil Harley scored 26 in a losing effort. Senior scored all of his points in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime.

"It was a cool event," said Wings Academy coach Billy Turnage, who was part of the winning staff. "You got to see the AA players with the A players and B players. These guys never had the chance to play together before, and I had never seen some of them, and these lower level guys are talented and can ball out."

Wadleigh coach Mike Crump, who was on the losing staff, called it an "A1 event" and had a fun time meeting Mayor Bloomberg following the game.

"We took a picture with him and I was going to give him rabbit ears," Crump joked. "He had security detail there and I didn't want to spend a week in the pen so I ultimately didn't do it."

Borough finals recaps

February, 11, 2012
While Jefferson vs. Boys & Girls headlined the borough finals, three other champions were crowned on Saturday. Here are the recaps from the other games that decided the Public Schools Athletic League borough champions.

BRONX FINAL: JFK 59, Wings Academy 54: The last time these two teams met, it was Wings’ Justin Jenkins who put the final dagger in JFK with a buzzer-beater three-point shot. This time, Wings took its shot a little too soon as there was 12.8 second left on the clock after Marvilio Berroa put his team on top, 54-53.

On the next play, Muhammed Admed drove the lane and got the go-ahead layup with just 1.8 seconds left that put JFK up, 55-54, on its way to an eventual 59-54 victory to take the Bronx borough title Saturday at York College in Queens.

“I kind of had a flashback to the last game when he hit that shot because that's what caused us the loss,” Ahmed said. “I told everybody to keep their heads up, the game was not over. This time we played through it.”

JFK is hoping that this victory will propel it to success as the last time it won the borough title was the same year it went all the way to the championship game at Madison Square Garden.

Bashir Admed led JFK with 13 points and his brother, Muhammed, had eight. David Hardy had 11. Jenkins had a game-high 19 points for Wings and Jaequan Brown had 11.

MANHATTAN FINAL: Wadleigh 75, Manhattan Center 60: With Manhattan Center missing a few players who were at a senior trip, Wadleigh easily handled it, winning 75-60 to take its sixth consecutive Manhattan Borough Title.

Wadleigh coach Michael Crump was upset that Manhattan Center didn’t field an entire team and also said he’s not content winning more Manhattan titles.

“That game unsharpened our pencil,” Crump said. “We had Kennedy, we went to Wings, we've been on a high note and then we go see them, a depleted team that we already beat, and our guys didn't even want to play.”

On the Manhattan title, Crump said: “It's gotten to the point where we don't keep track of it. We have to worry about the city championship. We’ve got to get out of the quarter finals. We've never been to the final four.”

Freshman Llunga Kadisha got a chance to showcase his skills, as he led his team with 22 points. Kenneth Thomas had 16, and Stephen Turner and Basil Harley each had 12. Manhattan Center’s Khalil Hamer led the game with 26 points.

QUEENS FINAL: Cardozo 69, LIC 58: Cardozo faced off against one of the biggest surprises in the borough finals and almost let a 15-point lead evaporate before getting pulling together a 69-58 victory.

Unlike Crump, Cardozo’s head coach Ron Naclerio refuses to take this title for granted despite winning many of them, including three in a row. His team underwent a tough transition this season when it lost star Jermaine Lawrence, who transferred midseason.

“Do we really get the applause for running Queens? People think its accepted, but I know how hard it is,” Naclerio said. “It's great for the kids because a lot of the kids heard in school, ‘we're not going to be this or not going to be that without Jermaine.’

“When they walk into school Monday they know that they are the Queens champs.”

Tajay Henry led Cardozo with 21 points and Kyle Credle had 10 big points. When Cardozo’s lead shrunk to four, Credle picked his game up, scoring seven points in a one-minute span that put distance between Cardozo and LIC.

LIC’s Sadji Camara and Arthur Santana each had 17 points and Kevin Green Jr. had 13.