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Cardozo Judges still rule Queens court

Every time one of his southpaw bombs hit the target in the first half, Morris twirled around in a show of delight and smiled at Campus Magnet's players and coach Chuck Granby.The senior on the Cardozo boys' basketball team registered seven 3-pointers and just as many smiles in the Judges' 76-63 win over Campus Magnet in the Queens Borough Championships at York College Feb. 9.After the game, Morris revealed that two of Campus Magnet's players, Rondu Stevens and Evan Thomas, told him, following a pedestrian effort against Long Island City, that they thought he was overrated. Stevens lives on the same block as Morris in St. Albans, and they went to junior high school together."They were saying that I wasn't that good," Morris said of his semifinal performance. "I wasn't getting my shots in that game and I didn't play as well as I could. It feels good (to play well). I proved that I can play."Morris had several wells from which to draw inspiration from. Last year, Morris played just five minutes in the Queens' Championship game because he went on the senior class trip and missed the quarterfinal and semifinals of the Queens tournament.The year before, poor grades forced him to miss the entire playoffs for Cardozo.Cardozo coach Ron Naclerio has observed Morris' progress since he was a timid freshman and watched him become the school's all-time leading scorer. His relationship with the senior began prior to high school."In the eighth grade he didn't really play hard," he said. "But I saw what he had inside. He wasn't always confident, but last year he really matured. I always knew he had this type of potential."Campus Magnet (21-6) led 18-11 in the first quarter and trailed 41-38 before Morris, who scored 21 points in the first half, uncorked a pair of 3-pointers and James Peters hit two layups to help give Cardozo (22-5) a 51-40 lead in the third quarter."We played scared," Stevens said. "We weren't playing our game tonight."When asked if it was a mistake taunting Morris, Thomas, who scored 25 points said, "Yes, you could say that."Francis Lewis 69, Benjamin Cardozo 37. Vionca Murray scored 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for Francis Lewis (25-1) in the Queens Borough championship game. Marissa Flagg paced Cardozo (18-7) with 12 points in the loss. Reach reporter Mitch Abramson by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.

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