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Queens uses 19-0 run to defeat C.W. Post

Gary DeBerry did not need to be reminded what was at stake Monday night. The Queens College sophomore guard knew that a win over C.W. Post would go a long way towards the Knights’ goal of hosting a New York Collegiate Athletic Conference quarterfinal playoff game.

So, the former Holy Cross standout from St. Albans scored seven of his 10 points during a critical 19-0 first-half run as the surging Knights jumped out to a 44-25 lead and held on to a 71-67 victory over the Pioneers at Fitzgerald Gymnasium.

“We just wanted to get out and bury them,” said DeBerry, who was one of five players to score in double figures for Queens. “We wanted to let them know who Queens is. They were picked third in the preseason and we were picked sixth. We came out with a lot of heart and intensity and the shots were dropping.”

The win over Post was the Knights’ ninth in 10 games and gives the squad sole possession of third place in the conference and increased its lead to two games over the fourth place Pioneers. Queens also sweeps the season series with Post.

“We want to be home the first round and this was a big win,” Queens College head coach Kyrk Peponakis said. “We just want to keeping winning and see where we’re at. As long as we host a first round game, I’m happy.”

But if Queens (14-7, 12-5) finishes in either second or third place in the conference, they avoid the possibility of playing undefeated Adelphi, the No. 1 ranked team in the country, until the finals. Both the semifinals and finals are at Queens.

“We’re not worried about Adelphi, we want to host a home playoff game,” DeBerry said. “But if we can get things together and get one of the top three seeds, that’s definitely pretty important.”

While he wasn’t as pleased with the effort of his team in the second half, Peponakis called his team’s first half, “one of the best halves we played all season.”

Queens attacked C.W. Post’s zone by getting out and running in transition. Leading 12-11, Knights senior forward Steve Sikiric scored his 1,000th career point on a baseline floater.

DeBerry, who checked into the game for Sikiric, immediately hit an eight-foot jumper, followed with an open three and scored on a gorgeous backdoor cut from Dave Trani.

Anthony Washington (15 points, seven rebounds) scored on a hook shot in the paint, Phil Lyons converted a layup, Trani slashed to the hole, Jurrell Bonaparte got a bucket from the left blocks and Sikiric’s two free throws capped the 19-0 run as Queens took a 31-11 lead. Frank Porter’s 12-footer finally ended a 7:26 scoreless draught for Post.

Queens shot a blistering 62.5 percent from the field and went 3-for-3 from three-point range in the first half, while holding the Pioneers to just 34.5 percent from the field and 25 percent (2-for-8) from beyond the arc.

“We got out in transition and just pushed the ball,” Peponakis said. “We didn’t give up any second shots [in the first half]. We had five guys crash the defensive boards and just run and got some pretty good looks.”

Queens led by 20, 56-36, on a three-point play by William Hooks, who had a solid second half, scoring 12 of his 13 points in the final 20 minutes of the game.

But Post (12-9, 10-7) didn’t go away, going on a 14-2 run of their own to slice the Knights lead to nine, 59-50, with 8:30 remaining. Things got too close for comfort in the final minute for Queens, as the Knights led by just two, 69-67, after Fred Abraham’s foul line jumper.

And after Trani missed the front end of a one-and-one with :21.4 left, the Pioneers had a chance to tie the score. But Ryan Bucci missed a baseline runner and Sikiric grabbed the rebound before getting fouled. The Maspeth native scored his 11th and 12th points of the game from the free throw line to put the game out of reach.

“We got a little complacent,” DeBerry said. “Some of the guys were looking at the scoreboard figuring the game was over. We were lucky enough to finish off the game with some free throws.”

Bucci scored a game-high 20 points to lead Post. Baldur Olaffson had 14 points and nine rebounds, Porter had 11 points and Corey Browne added 10 for the Pioneers.

Next up for the Knights is a trip to Adelphi for a game scheduled for Wednesday night. Queens then returns home to take on Molloy Saturday at 8 p.m.

Post tops Queens in women’s hoops: The Lady Knights saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end Monday as Post leaps past Queens into second place in the NYCAC standings with a 46-33 win.

Rama Doucoure scored a game-high 20 points, while Sheila Jackson added 10 points for Post (12-6, 11-4), which led 23-10 at the half. Queens (12-9, 10-5), which had 20 turnovers in the first half, played better in the second half led by guard Antonette Tirone’s team-high eight points.

Kerri Graham added six points and 10 rebounds, Elena Rakova, the NYCAC Player of the Week, had seven points and a game-high 13 rebounds for the Lady Knights, who return to the court for a pivotal game at Adelphi in a game scheduled for Wednesday before hosting Molloy Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

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

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