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"The first thing I saw was their size and I thought, 'Oh, my God, how are we going to handle King Kong and Godzilla in there?'" Peponakis said.It took a while, but Kenald Bernard found that answer in the Knights' 76-67 win at Fitzgerald Gymnasium in Flushing last Thursday.It wasn't the Lions' height that troubled Peponakis, it was their width. And that's what frustrated Bernard in a first half that saw Dowling (2-10, 1-4 NYCAC) hold a seven-rebound advantage.But in the second half, Bernard used his quickness against a power forward in Raheim Lowery who is 30 pounds heavier and one year away from his 10-year high school reunion. The 6-foot-7 Bernard had a game-high four steals off the bench, including a critical theft with 3:41 left in the second half and Queens (9-3, 5-0) clinging to a five-point lead.Bernard beat Michael Sessions to a pass in the post and fed Bradd Wierzbicki on the outlet. The junior guard drove to the basket and was crushed by Lowery, who was called for the intentional foul.Wierzbicki, who scored a game-high 26 points, went 1-of-2 from the line but Shaun Bertin scored on a putback and Hassan Washington scored inside and the Knights led 70-60 with 1:53 left in the game.It looked like the Knights' first game since Dec. 23 was going to be a romp from the opening tip as Queens jumped out to a 23-8 lead. But the combination of the Lions' strength inside and Wesley Boone's outside shooting - he went 3-of-3 from three-point range - Dowling went into the half trailing by just one, 32-31."I thought it was going to be a blowout in the beginning but they got their momentum at the end of the first half," Bernard said. "They went into the half down one and they were probably thinking they could beat us."The Lions took their first lead of the game on a bucket by Sessions 34 seconds into the second half.But Queens flexed its muscles in a big way when Washington followed his own missed three-point attempt with a rare two-handed slam. The play provided a spark as Wierzbicki followed with a pull-up jumper to put the Knights in front, 57-51 with 7:35 left in the second half. Dowling coach Mike Voyack called timeout and kicked over a chair on his bench in frustration."I hope someone got that on film," Peponakis said of Washington. "He'll want that for his archive."Added Bernard: "In practice he's getting up but in the game...that shocked me. I didn't know it was him until he landed. We should check his shoes."Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2006 Community Newspaper Group
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