It was a scene ripped from the reel of a movie: the capacity crowd storming the court, hoisting up the star senior, who was playing in front of his home fans for the last time, after a thrilling, playoff victory.
But that's exactly what happened in Bayside on Wednesday afternoon. Cardozo guard Trinity Fields scored 42 points and the fifth-seeded Judges beat No. 12 Canarsie, 100-90 in two overtimes, in a thrilling PSAL Class AA second-round game with more twists and turns than the nearby Cross Island Parkway.
Cardozo coach Ron Naclerio called it one of the "top two or three" games in school history, just taking into account sheer drama. The Judges seemingly won and lost it dozens of times.
But the hero - Fields - prevailed after overcoming adversity. Just like in the movies.
The Judges had a chance to win the game in the first overtime. They had the ball with 22 seconds left and the score tied at 77. Fields controlled the ball on a clear-out above the top of the key, near midcourt. He went to make a move to his left, but the ball slipped ever so slightly. He dribbled it downward - on the other side of halfcourt - and the referees whistled him for a backcourt violation.
Canarsie missed its opportunity to win and the game went to a second overtime. Fields would not be denied then. He made a three-pointer and got fouled with 3:21 left, converting the free throw for a four-point play to give Cardozo an 83-77 lead. Then he went to the line, again and again and again and again. Fields, who said he was at the Bayside gym until 1 a.m. Wednesday morning shooting foul shots, was 12-of-13 on free throws in the final overtime; he scored 15 points in the period.
"My teammates believed in me (after the first-overtime turnover)," Fields said. "They said we trust you with the ball no matter what. Whatever happens, happens."
What happened next was hysteria. The fans crammed together in the packed gymnasium busted out onto the court like water from a broken dam. They put Fields up on their shoulders, chanting his name. The Jamaica native had played a scenario like this in his head ever since he left Holy Cross after his sophomore season. But this was as good as it gets.
"There's nothing like Cardozo fans," Fields said. "This is my atmosphere. This is where I belong."
The Iona-bound guard led his team into a quarterfinals match-up with No. 4 Thomas Jefferson on Saturday at St. John's at 3 p.m. But he wasn't the only hero - Cardozo had almost too many to count. Marquis Grant's put back with eight seconds left in regulation forced the game into overtime. Edy Toussaint's layup in traffic with 48 seconds in the first overtime brought the Judges within 75-74 after being down four in the period. Dennis Oglesby's three-pointer with 2:38 left in fourth quarter gave his team a 60-57 lead.
Grant had 16 points, and Oglesby and Toussaint added 14 points apiece. All were playing their final home games at Cardozo. Sophomore Reynaldo Walters had 11 points, including a steal and layup to tie the game at 57 with 3:00 left in regulation.
Vincent Mattos led Canarsie with 31 points. Hofstra-bound senior guard Yves Jules had 22 points - including 20 in the fourth quarter and two overtimes. Davion Davis added 12 points and Cody Paul added 11.
"You talk about the great teams at Cardozo, they had heart and talent," Naclerio said. "This team doesn't have the most talent. They're just finding a way now."
It took awhile. The Judges had three league losses - their most in over 20 years. But then they took the Queens Borough Championship. The seven new faces - Grant and Walters included - aren't so new anymore. They've all meshed together.
"My team never gave up," Fields said.
It many ways it has been his team. He's been the driving force all season. But he's struggled the most when his future coach, Iona's Kevin Willard, has been in the building. Cardozo was 0-3 this season when Willard has watched Fields and Naclerio has joked that he was banned from the Bayside gymnasium.
When Willard showed up Wednesday, it was a shock to Fields.
"When he walked in the gym, my heart started beating a little faster," Fields said.
The two shared eye contact and Willard made a motion to take it easy. Fields did and now his senior season lives on.
"I hope," Naclerio said, "there's a little more surprise along the way."
Thomas Edison 71, Curtis 56. Senior Presano Bell had 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead the 11th-seeded Inventors to an upset over No. 6 Curtis in the PSAL Class AA second round Wednesday on Staten Island. Edison will play No. 3 Wadleigh in the quarterfinals Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. John's
Isiah Stokley had 17 points, Arthurt Abbensett had 12 and Stephon Hodges added 10 points and 10 assists for the Inventors. Allan Thomas had 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Campus Magnet 69, Wings Academy 48. Mennon Chavis had 21 points and Sasha Clarida had 16 in the No. 7 Bulldogs' second-round win against No. 10 Wings on Wednesday in Cambria Heights. Campus Magnet plays No. 2 Boys & Girls in the quarterfinals Saturday at 1 p.m. at St. John's.
Khalil McDonald had 13 points and 15 rebounds and Kyle O'Quinn had 10 points and 15 rebounds. Nathaniel (Butter) Wilson added 10 assists.
Wadleigh 70, Forest Hills 55. Andre Armstrong's 18 points were not enough, as the 14th-seeded Rangers fell to No. 3 Wadleigh in the second round Tuesday in Harlem. Alex Hall had 13 points, Terry Harrison had 10 and Chris Larmond added 10 rebounds for Forest Hills, which completes its first season in Class AA.
©2008 Community News Group
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