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Judges finally solve Magnet mystery

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The head coach of the Cardozo High School boys’ basketball team watched as a 16-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter dwindled to just four over Queens rival Campus Magnet in a PSAL ‘A’...

By Dylan Butler

All Ron Naclerio could think was, “Here we go again.”

The head coach of the Cardozo High School boys’ basketball team watched as a 16-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter dwindled to just four over Queens rival Campus Magnet in a PSAL ‘A’ second-round playoff game at Hunter College last Thursday.

After all, the same scenario played out two months ago when the Judges blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead in a 71-70 overtime loss to Campus Magnet at St. John’s University.

Daryll Hill didn’t have to be reminded about that loss. “I felt real bad, I can’t really describe how I felt.”

And Hill was determined not to close out his high school career with a third loss to the Bulldogs as the senior point guard scored a game-high 31 points, including seven of his team’s final 10 points, as Cardozo defeated Campus Magnet 68-58.

“We made sure Daryll took over the ball,” Naclerio said. “I feel we have the best player in the city, pound for pound and inch for inch. He told me before the game, ‘Coach, we’re not losing.”

Hill made sure his bold statement rang true.

Leading by just four, 53-49, and with the momentum squarely in Campus Magnet’s corner, Hill drove along the baseline for a critical layup. Following Devon Ray’s putback, he dished to Dimitri Dimitropolous (17 points), who drained his fourth three-pointer of the game to give the Judges a 58-51 lead with 3:32 left in the fourth quarter.

“I definitely felt [we were panicking], but we’ve been through it so many times,” Naclerio said. “I thought [we’d be fine] if we could just work on the delay — we do have the guards — and get the ball to Daryll.”

Hill made sure his teammates did just that. The ball was in his hands in the final three minutes of the game. Trailing 58-53 with 2:11 left, Hill went 6-for-10 from the charity stripe in the closing moments to clinch the win.

“At first I thought we were going to lose it because we started panicking,” Hill said. “But we calmed down, I told them I got [the ball] and that we’re not going to lose.”

Of course it helped that after a 13-1 run brought eighth-seeded Campus Magnet (19-5) to within four, 53-49, the Bulldogs went cold from the field, going 2:12 without a field goal.

“They were the better team today,” said Magnet coach Chuck Granby. “They outplayed us. They got out in front of us, but we didn’t quit and we came back.”

Cardozo led 20-13 after the first quarter and took a 31-20 lead with 3:56 left in the second quarter when Hill’s 20-foot jumper from the top of the key capped an 8-0 run. But led by Ray, who scored 13 first-half points — including nine of his team’s first 13 points — Campus Magnet cut the Judges’ lead to 34-27 on Elvis Belone’s trifecta.

But Ray picked up his second and third fouls two seconds apart and sat for the final 1:29 of the half as Cardozo went into the break ahead, 38-30.

Ray returned in the third quarter and drained back-to-back jumpers, but after that he was not nearly as effective. He scored just seven more points to finish with a team-high 24 points.

John Adams 55, Bronx Science 52. Donte King continued his post-season tear with 22 points and four assists as the 12th-seeded Spartans upset No. 5 Bronx Science Saturday at Lehman College. King had 35 points in a 66-59 win over No. 5 Comprehensive Studies last Wednesday at Elmcor. Adrian Smith added 12 points and 10 assists for John Adams (15-10) which takes on No. 8 Thurgood Marshall in the PSAL ‘B’ semifinals Sunday at 10 a.m.

Bronx Science 70, Townsend Harris 51. Jaquone Miller spoiled the Hawks’ first post-season appearance by scoring a game-high 37 points for Bronx Science in the 19-point win last Wednesday at Elmcor. Philip Marmon-Halm led No. 13 Townsend Harris (18-5) with 19 points.

Banneker 62, John Bowne 55. Anthony Gutierrez’s driving layup tied the game at 35 in the third quarter, but Kareem Lloyd and Jawanza Barron led Banneker in a 6-0 run in the Wildcats’ (15-10) second-round loss last Thursday at Lehman College.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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