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Beach Channel edges Martin for Borough crown

Cardozo boys’ basketball coach Ron Naclerio sat in the nearly empty bleachers at Elmcor Wednesday afternoon wishing the Judges were on the court facing Beach Channel for the Queens Borough championship.

He wasn’t alone.

“We were really pumped to play Cardozo,” said Beach Channel coach Jim Malone. “We wanted a test. Practice is boring.”

Instead, because Cardozo forfeited its wins over Newtown and August Martin in the first two rounds for using an ineligible player, it was Beach Channel/August Martin Part IV for borough supremacy.

And like Parts I, II and III, it was the Dolphins who were victorious, defeating the Skyriders 65-61 to win the Queens Borough championship.

“To play someone four times is a drag,” Malone said. “They know what we do, we know what they do. I think if we played Cardozo it would have been a crisper, more intense game.”

Once again, the difference for No. 2 Beach Channel (21-2) was Rahshon Clark. The smooth-shooting 6-foot-5 forward scored 12 of his team’s 14 first-quarter points en route to a game-high 33 points. He also had 12 rebounds, 5 blocks and 4 steals.

“His shooting touch is remarkable for a 6-foot-5 kid and athletically he’s unbelievable,” Malone said of Clark. “He catches everything, you don’t see that too often and then he finishes. His game is so strong.”

Clark, who averages 24.7 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, was known as more of an inside player last year, when Beach Channel won the Queens III-A title but got blown out in the second round of the PSAL playoffs, 69-35 by Canarsie.

Since then Clark has increased his range — his first basket of the game was a three-pointer from the top of the key — and has added an almost impossible to defend fade-away jumper to his impressive repertoire.

“I wanted to work on my shot more,” said Clark, who is undecided about what college to attend. “I knew I could score inside, but I wanted to prove I could score from outside, too.”

Like Beach Channel, Clark hasn’t garnered much attention outside of Queens. But if the Dolphins can make a deep run in the playoffs, Clark’s name may be mentioned in the same breath as Lincoln’s Sebastian Telfair and Gary Forbes from Banneker.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” Clark said. “They’ll know me soon.”

One person who knows Clark all too well this year is August Martin senior Donnell Cummings, who had 20 points for the Skyriders.

“Rahshon Clark is a good all-around player, I have much respect for that,” Cummings said. “We just have to hold him to a certain point so we can succeed as a team.”

Led by Cummings and Jenar Harrison, who scored a team-high 23 points, pesky fourth-seeded August Martin (19-7) twice sliced into Beach Channel’s double-digit lead.

But the Skyriders, with only eight players in uniform with three others — including a starter — suspended indefinitely by coach James Kearney, simply ran out of the gas in the fourth quarter.

“No other team in this tournament had to play four premier games in seven days; we’ve had no days off,” Kearney said. “It’s been really rough but my hat goes off to them. I’m proud of them.”

“We’ve been out of gas since halftime of yesterday,” Kearney added, referring to Martin’s come-from-behind 64-59 win over Newtown. “We’ll be OK, though. I have to give them some time to recover. They just need some rest.”

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 1-718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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