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Van Buren forfeits league game to Magnet

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The Van Buren boys basketball team forfeited a game against Campus Magnet, which was for second place in Queens II-A, because the team refused to travel to the St. Albans school under the threat of violence.

Mel Goldstein, the PSAL boys basketball commissioner ruled in favor of the Bulldogs, which are currently tied with the VeeBees for second place with identical 8-2 records.

"Van Buren chose not to go despite the promise of security," Goldstein said. "The Van Buren principal was assured it would be safe by the Campus Magnet principal but ignored it. The threats were made on hearsay. We can't run a program on hearsay. "

According to Van Buren head coach Perry Dortch, the confrontation between the two schools started when players from Van Buren and Campus Magnet fans exchanged words after the VeeBees 74-63 overtime win at Van Buren on Dec. 15.

Dortch also said that several players from his team informed a Van Buren school official of addition threats made against them, saying they would be "jumped" if they showed up at Campus Magnet for the rematch on Jan. 18.

"We wanted to play, but in the long run it really doesn't matter," Dortch said. "It would have hurt a lot more if one of my kids got hurt."

"I thought the [PSAL] decision was ridiculous," he added. "What should I have done? My principal didn't think it was a good idea to play the game. We're all concerned about the health, safety and welfare of my players."

Campus Magnet head coach Chuck Granby could not be reached for comment, but seemed confused about the entire issue in a published report.

"There's no animosity whatsoever between the schools," he said. "Their boys didn't come, but their girls came for a game the very next day. And we have Van Buren in our Thanksgiving tournament."

Campus Magnet and Van Buren each have three games remaining in the regular season. The two schools, along with Bayside, are jockeying for playoff positioning behind first-place Cardozo. The VeeBees and Bulldogs are not scheduled to play again until next year.

Gompers 59, Jamaica 53. In what will no doubt be regarded as one of the least memorable games of the PSAL season, Gompers defeated the Beavers Saturday at the second annual Goat Classic at Wadleigh. Both teams struggled throughout from the field and the line. The Panthers (11-6) were led by John Polanco, who scored a game-high 21 points. Nathanial Parker and Jon Towles scored 10 apiece for Jamaica (12-9), but Parker, a 6-foot-7 junior, fouled out with 5:08 left to play and the Beavers ahead 43-42. It would be Jamaica's last lead of the game.

Balford McLeod added 12 points for Gompers and the Beavers backcourt of 5-foot-5 Dave Brown and 5-foot-5 Orlando Biggers had eight points each. Brown, however, a senior point guard, missed four shots in the final minute.

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