Magnet tops Bryant at Queens Winter Classic

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After showing their teeth in a handful of close losses, the Campus Magnet Bulldogs finally took a bite out of the competition as the varsity basketball team upset the William Bryant Owls, 68-63, in the PSAL Queens’ Winter Classic at Elmcor Sunday afternoon.

The Bulldogs (5-6) have suffered three losses by two points or less this season. Poor play in crunch time, mostly due to inexperience, has been their downfall. So when the Bulldogs needed key plays, seniors Andrew Gordon and Haron Hargrave, the only players with prior varsity experience, stepped forward.

Gordon was unstoppable in the paint. He scored at will in the first quarter, racking up 14 of his game-high 33 points. His stellar play continued in the second. He muscled home his third layup of the period with 3:42 remaining to put Campus Magnet ahead, 35-24. Gordon also made three key foul shots down the stretch, the last two at 1:37 for a 63-59 lead to complete a total effort.

“We needed this win,” Gordon said. “It’s important for the young guys.”

Hargrave (13 points, five assists) struggled most of the day, committing ugly turnovers and making poor decisions on the break. He regained his composure to draw a charge on Bryant’s Diego Aguiar, his fourth foul, midway into the third period. Rejuvenated, he scored on a layup and assisted on two other baskets to help Bryant increase its lead to 48-39 after three.

The Owls (14-4) opened the fourth on a 14-2 run to take their first lead. When Aguiar erupted for three consecutive baskets with 5:30 left, the Owls moved in front, 53-50.

Senior Fleans Dervishi got into the act as well, scoring four points inside and adding two more at the line. Instead of folding, the Bulldogs withstood the charge as Gordon scored twice to tie the game at 56 with 3:09 left.

Bryant’s Robert Spina rattled home a 10-foot jumper to tie the game, 63-63, with 27 seconds remaining. Campus Magnet’s Colson Dempster rebounded a miss and scored on the next possession to give the Bulldogs the last lead. Fittingly, Gordon scored the final basket on an assist from Hargrave as time expired.

“It’s a good win,” Campus Magnet coach Chuck Granby said. “We’ve lost some close games, but now they’re beginning to improve.”

Bryant’s two best players — Dervishi and Aguiar — played most of the game in foul trouble, disrupting Bryant’s offense and defense. Aguiar, who scored a team-high 23, fouled out with 4:17 remaining. William Brandon chipped in with 16 points, but could not fill the void left by the sophomore sensation.

Earlier in the day, Newtown defeated Martin Van Buren, 51-44. The surprising Pioneers (13-2) have been finding a way to win close games and this was no different. They pulled away in the final minutes of a see-saw battle.

The turning point may have come before the opening tip. Several Van Buren players arrived late for the game, but seniors Jerome Burnett and Melvin Jackson served the punishment. They were benched for the first half. Jackson came back in the third for Van Buren (3-9) to score 11 points on his way to 16, but it wasn’t enough.

Newtown sophomore Andre Cole led the way with 22 points and seven rebounds. He erased a four-point deficit in the third with a personal eight-point spurt. The Pioneers never looked back after regaining the lead.

“We redefine the term ‘winning ugly,’”said Newtown coach Pat Torney. “I may have a coronary [attack] by the end of the year, but if we keep winning, I’ll take it.”

Cardozo 113, Wadleigh 79. Robbie Williams had 30 points and Cameron Tyler added 28 for Cardozo (9-3) in a non-leaguer.

Flushing 52, Edison 49. A pair of free throws by Vernon Teel late in the fourth quarter capped the non-league win for Flushing (5-10). Phil Murphy had 26 points and eight rebounds for the Red Devils, who rallied from a 20-point first-half deficit.

Jamaica 52, Townsend Harris 47. William Brown had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Tendai Makarichi added 13 rebounds and three blocks and Marvin McKenzie hit a pair of free throws with 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter to extend Jamaica’s lead to five. The Beavers improve to 10-7, 9-2 Queens II-A.

August Martin 63, Springfield Gardens 48. Ajene Gibson led Martin (10-2, 4-2 Queens III-A) with 26 points and eight assists, Jenar Harrison had 10 points and 12 rebounds and Ike Iwu added 20 boards for the Skyriders.

Newtown 67, Long Island City 66. Trailing 66-62 with 26 seconds left in the third overtime, Charles DelRosario nailed a three-pointer and, after LIC was whistled for a 10-second violation, Eugene Waldo hit a one-handed runner in the lane to give Newtown (12-2, 8-0 Queens I-A) the win. Bobby Pandy had 25 points and Andre Cole added 21 points and nine rebounds for the Pioneers.

Bryant 75, Lane 44. Fleans Dervishi had 17 points and Diego Aguiar and Brandon Williams each had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Owls. Lane dropped to 1-7.

Flushing 55, Grover Cleveland 50. Tamelle Harris had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Mario Nunez added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Devils. Cleveland is 2-5.

Edison 55, Francis Lewis 53. Chris Aguirre had 14 points and five assists, Jonathan Dash had 14 points and Kory Holland added 10 points and 10 boards for the Inventors (2-6 Queens II-A). Lewis is also 2-6 in Queens II-A.

Richmond Hill 77, RFK 37. Michael Pickens (20 points), Tyrone Fosmire (16 points) and Mohamed Sanoe (15 points) outscored Lane 51-37. Richmond Hill improves to 11-3, 6-0 in Queens B while RFK falls to 1-5.

—Dylan Butler contributed to this story

Reach contributing writer Adam Martini by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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