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The problem was that the Cardozo boys' basketball team, which lost three key players to graduation and picked up three transfers this season, is completely different from last year when they lost 74-65 to Lincoln in the finals. The absence of center Theo Davis, who was in Canada dealing with a family illness and has returned to school, has turned the Judges into a one-trick pony that tends to unravel when opponents turn up the heat defensively. Lincoln wasn't as big a draw without Sebastian Telfair, who was at Madison Square Garden with the Portland Trail Blazers.On Sunday, Vic Morris, a talented, imaginative shooting guard, put the Judges on his back and carried them to a 16-10 first quarter lead, scoring all but three of his team's points in a shooting exhibition that was stunning. But once Lincoln and coach Dwayne "Tiny" Morton saw what they were up against, they adjusted and ran a box-in-one on Morris, holding Cardozo to 8 points in the third quarter to win 73-57 in front of a very thin crowd."It's tricky because this team doesn't do much else besides shoot the ball, which is tough because shooting can fluctuate," said head coach Ron Naclerio. "Lincoln's a good team, but they're not 30 points better than us. I've been trying to preach to the kids that when you're taking a jump up in schedule, you have to play better."The last time Cardozo (11-2, 9-0) reached for the stars and played a dangerous opponent was against Rice on December 4, and they were walloped 66-39 in a performance that parodied how they usually play against lesser teams. The guards turned the ball over and the team was demolished on the boards.Even though Davis is back in school attending classes, his playing status remains a question mark. Naclerio and the players, prodded incessantly from the media, talk about him as though he is a ghost, a winning lottery ticket they cannot cash in."They see him walking in the hallways, and they think the future [of the team] can be a lot brighter," Naclerio said. For now, the future of the team rests on the shoulders of their shooters, who oscillate like the temperature outdoors, and Rice transfer Marques Cox, who although obviously talented, has yet to appear comfortable against the elite teams."We saw them play a couple times, and we knew what to do against them defensively," Morton said. "They got too many open shots in the first half, and we stepped up and stayed in their face the rest of the game."Lincoln opened the second quarter with 13 unanswered points, 6 on consecutive three-pointers by junior guard Nick Leon. Cardozo didn't score until Devin Epps hit a layup with 2:59 left in the half."I don't want to say that we gave up, but we didn't have the same intensity that we had in the first quarter," said Cardozo senior James Peters, who finished with four points and gave the Judges a spark in the fourth quarter. "We slacked off, and we weren't ready to play. In the fourth quarter we noticed we were down and we tried to come back but it was too late."Lincoln (15-1) led 33-27 at the half and went on a 13-4 run in the third quarter to build a 56-35 cushion heading into the fourth. Jamel Jackson, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard finished with a game-high 26 points and point guard Kevin White, who went from Grady to August Martin to Lincoln, ran the offense like a traffic cop. Lincoln's big men, Kevin Menner and Lawrence Alamilla had a block party inside. Morris finished with 22 points for Cardozo.All Kevin Hannaway could do was count the days until Davis, who has yet to practice with the team since his return two weeks ago, gets back in uniform. He and Epps do the dirty work on defense."Him not being here puts more pressure on me defensively," he said.In big games like these, it puts pressure on everyone.Cardozo 67, Francis Lewis 53. Vic Morris scored 32 points for Cardozo (11-1, 9-0 Queens A-II) and Drew Gladstone had 16 in the win on Friday.Bayside 48, Bowne 46. Patrick Hazel scored 16 points and grabbed 21 rebounds and had seven blocks for Bayside (10-2, 8-1 Queens A-II) on Friday.Flushing 73, Forest Hills 60. Vernon Teel scored 42 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for Flushing (13-5, 6-3 Queens A-I) on Friday.Long Island City 49, Grover Cleveland 41. Silvio Marfe scored 16 points for LIC (15-3, 7-2 Queens A-1). Cleveland dropped to 1-8 in league on Friday.Richmond Hill 78, Far Rockaway 57. Clovis Brown tallied 21 points and Visapreet Singh chipped in 16 for Richmond Hill (6-9, 3-5 Queens A-III) on Friday.Jamaica 55, Townsend Harris 46. Justin Duncan scored 17 points for Jamaica (7-2 Queens A-II) Friday.Bryant 87, Aviation 53. Paul Cline scored 26 points and Johnny Barnes grabbed 18 rebounds for Bryant (13-5, 7-2 Queens A-I) on Friday.Beach Channel 71, August Martin 60. Devon Saxon had 19 points for Beach Channel (6-3 Queens A-III) on Friday.Reach reporter Mitch Abramson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.
©2005 Community Newspaper Group
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