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Bowne bests Flushing to earn playoff berth

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By Dylan Butler

With a playoff berth on the line, the Flushing-John Bowne boys basketball game Monday was more than just a game, it was a war. Every rebound was battled with ferocity between the neighborhood rivals and every loose ball became a scrum on the floor.

But when the smoke cleared, it was the visiting Wildcats that did a little more. Bowne scored more layups, made more free throws and turned the ball over less to defeat the host Red Devils, 52-44, in front of raucous pro-Flushing crowd.

“Turnovers and free throws really hurt us,” said Flushing head coach Charles Richardson. “We just made bad decisions with the ball.”

One of the main reasons Flushing (16-9, 7-4 Queens B-II) struggled was it was without its starting point guard Lamel Gooding.

“He handles the ball a lot,” Richardson said. “Instead, I had my starting two-guard playing the point, I then had a third string guard running the point. We missed the general out there. His 18 points and seven assists [per game] were hard to replace.”

The Red Devils led 6-5 late in the first quarter, but went ice cold from the floor as Bowne (13-10, 8-3) extended an 8-6 first quarter lead to 23-11 thanks to a 9-1 run capped by three free throws by Genc Selimi.

“We had a lot of luck on our side and defensively we came through,” said Bowne senior forward Antoine Millien, who scored a game-high 21 points. “This feels good. They beat us at our house this year so this is revenge right here.”

But Flushing made a game of it in the third quarter, causing several Bowne turnovers with a full-court press. Three straight buckets by Kaleeh Gibbs, who led Flushing with 14 points, cut the Wildcats lead to 27-22.

After Millien’s turnaround jumper in the lane, the Red Devils went to the foul line four times in the next 1:20. Trailing 31-23, Gibbs missed the second of a one-and-one, but Wayne Taylor was there to score the putback.

Gibbs went to the line again to make the first and again miss the second free throw, but it was Sahil Kapoor who crashed the offensive boards to score before getting fouled to cut Bowne’s lead to 31-29. The Wildcats led 35-33 at the end of the third quarter.

“I give them a lot of credit, they played good defense and turned the heat up on us in the second half,” said Bowne head coach John Tsapelas. “We started to unravel in the third quarter.”

Flushing had its first lead since 6-5 when Kapoor scored on a putback to put the Red Devils ahead 36-35 with 6:12 left in the fourth quarter.

But it was short-lived, as Millien got ahead of the field and finished the break with an emphatic dunk to put Bowne up by one, 37-36.

The Wildcats extended their lead to 44-40 on a made free throw by Joralaf Lafontaine with 3:06 left and then junior guard Richard Hall, who replaced Anthony Gutierrez, scored some of Bowne's most important points of the season.

His bucket through the paint put the Wildcats ahead 46-40 with 2:04 left in the fourth quarter. After each team exchanged baskets, Hall went to the line with 1:06 left in the game. The pro-Flushing crowd's screaming had little effect on Hall, who calmly drained both free throws to put Bowne up, 50-42.

“I’m used to the pressure,” said Hall, who finished with six points. “It was tough, but the whole time I was thinking, ‘You’re here by yourself, don’t listen to them.’ It was hard to zone them out because they were making so much noise.”

Bowne will play either Clara Barton or Beacon in their first playoff game Tuesday.

Newtown 50, Edison 27. Edison head coach Floyd Bank called it a career last Thursday after 45 years of coaching following the Inventors’ season-finale. Bank won 550 games in 15 years at Edison. He coached at LIC, Freeport and New York Friends before that.

Steve Duran led Newtown (14-9, 10-4 Queens A-I) with 10 points, as the Pioneers clinched third place in the division. Edison finished 6-18, 3-11 in Queens A-I. It was only Bank’s third losing season.

Campus Magnet 72, Lane 44. Devon Ray had 29 points and Elvis Belone added 17 for Magnet (18-4, 14-2 Queens A-II).

Hillcrest 59, Springfield Gardens 43. Antoine Williams led the Hawks with 21 points and Marquis Reid and Mike Thompson had 13 points apiece for Hillcrest (17-4, 13-1 Queens A-I).

Van Buren 54, Beach Channel 45 (OT). John Puello scored 32 points and Darryl France added seven points and 15 rebounds for the VeeBees (20-4, 13-3 Queens II-A).

Far Rockaway 57, Francis Lewis 55. Dwayne Thompson’s five foot jumper in the lane with one second left in the game lifted Far Rockaway (7-14, 6-11 Queens A-II) to the dramatic win. The loss cost Francis Lewis (12-11, 7-9) a playoff berth.

Cardozo 94, August Martin 66. Darryl Hill had his fourth 40-point game for the Judges (18-4, 14-2 Queens A-I). August Martin (7-12, 4-12) was led by Donnell Cummings’ 27 points.

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

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