For players like Royal Ivey, Reggie Brown and Anthony Glover, the Empire State Games was a chance to have some fun before the rigors of their college basketball season.
Have fun, and oh yeah, win another gold medal.
The New York City Open mens basketball team captured its fifth straight gold medal at the Empire State Games, defeating previously unbeaten Central, 88-78 Sunday at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
New York City has dominated the Games, having won eight straight golds from 1981-1988 and 13 in the Games 25 years.
Its a time to relax, to get away from different people. Its like an all-star team, said Queens native Ivey, a starting guard at the University of Texas. Its a different kind of twist because in the college season there is so much pressure. Here we get a chance to run, work out, play a different kind of basketball.
With Ivey playing so far from New York, the Empire State Games also became a chance to catch up on old times with some city players he hasnt seen in a while, such as former Molloy standout Reggie Brown (Richmond), Christ the King alum Mark McCarroll (Pittsburgh) and Robesons Kenny Adeleke (Hofstra).
In addition to a reunion of some of the best city basketball players, the Empire State Games is a chance to gain some statewide bragging rights, which in New York City is very important.
Everyone says New York City this and New York City that, you have a lot to prove because everyone is gunning for you, said Ivey, who made his second Empire State Games appearance, first on the Open team. Were suppose to be the best basketball players because were from New York City. We have to win.
The gold medal match was a rematch of New York Citys lone loss, a disappointing 80-76 loss to Central Saturday night at the Carrier Dome. Cliff Strong led NYC with 15 points, Glover added 12 points and Ivey and McCarroll netted 10 points apiece.
The City team continued its sloppy play through the first half of the gold medal game, trailing Central 46-42 at the break.
But led by the sharp-shooting of Brown, who hit five three-pointers en route to a game-high 22 points, New York City rebounded to capture the crown, 88-78. Ivey added 17 points, including three three-pointers, Glover netted 14 and Red Storm teammate Andre Stanley added 11.
We played together, but played sloppy against Central and they beat us, Ivey said. But we learned from it.
Brown led five players who scored in double figures with 17 points and Glover added 15 for New York City in an Empire State Games opening 88-74 win over Adirondack last Thursday.
Brown nailed four three-pointers and scored a game-high 22 points, Ivey added 12 points and Glover netted 11 in an 87-80 victory over Western Friday afternoon.
While the gold medal is nothing new for the Open team, the scholastic team captured its first title in 14 years by crushing Adirondack, 92-67 Sunday morning at the Carrier Dome. The Citys last scholastic title came in 1988 when Queens native Kenny Anderson set a Games record with 50 points in the final.
Led by St. Raymonds duo of Louie McCroskey (game-high 24 points) and Tariq Atkins (17 points), New York City raced out to a 21-1 lead and never looked back.
St. Francis Prep standout Bryan Geffen added 18 points and Molloys Marlon Smith netted 10 points for New York City, which avenged an embarrassing 99-74 loss last Thursday.
Smith, who scored 22 points in New York Citys lone loss, netted 19 points and Atkins and McCroskey combined for 39 points in an 86-81 win over Western Friday afternoon at the Carrier Dome.
Atkins and McCroskey again led City, scoring 20 and 19 points, respectively, and Geffen netted 17 points in a 92-77 victory over Central Saturday night that put New York City in the gold medal game.
The New York City womens basketball teams didnt fare as well, although the womens Open team captured the bronze, defeating Long Island 74-66. The scholastic team went 1-2.
In the bronze medal game, Queens native Mary Kacic (Manhattan College) scored 12 points and was one of four players to score in double figures for New York City, which lost to Long Island, 79-57 a day earlier.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2002 Community News Group
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