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Williams’ scores 34 to lead Falcons - Bishop Ford boys varsity squads heads for state’s Tournament of Champions

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It wasn’t a one man show but a complete team effort that sent Bishop Ford’s boys varsity basketball team, known as the Falcons, into the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions in Glens Falls, NY, next weekend in an 18-game winning streak. Nonetheless, Ford’s all-Brooklyn and all-city guard, Chaz Williams, was the talk of the Catholic High Schools Athletic Association Class ‘A’ final that advanced the Falcons to the next round. Williams’ game high of 34 points and 12 assists plus his outstanding defense enabled the Falcons to defeat Chaminade of Mineola, Long Island, 72-62, in the CHSAA Class ‘A’ title game at Fordham University on March 16. The Falcons had reached the final by defeating Iona Prep last week for the city-wide or intersectional championship. “We made history here at Ford by winning the city championship,” said senior forward Tyrik Tucker. “But this is the most important game I played in for the school.” Tucker, who scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds against Chaminade, has never played with such a tremendous guard like Williams. “He makes my game better, and I make his game better,” Tucker said. Williams put on a spectacular performance not only with his scoring but also with his play-making and driving to the basket. He can do almost anything on the court. He certainly lifts his teammates to another level. All the Chaminade players went home talking how great of a player he is. Williams is indeed fast. When he gets the ball on the opponent’s side he is able to get by defenders and go the length of the court very easily. He fights through traffic. He passes and not only starts a play but also he can finish it, as well. And he can set up his teammates who can put the ball in. Williams drove for the first basket of the game, passed off to Tucker for a lay-up, and then passed to Collin Nurse for another, and scored, himself, from three-point-out to enable the Falcons to take a 9-0 lead. And they never looked back. They built the margins up to 18-11, 31-21, and 47-32, at the 24 minute mark. Williams scored 16 points by intermission. The game looked like a run-a-way, but the Flyers rallied and gradually cut the margin down to six with 31 seconds left. The Falcons tallied the last four points all on foul shots. “We wanted to be aggressive…and run a lot,” said Head Coach John Infortunio. “We thought that if we can get them out running in the first quarter, put them on their heels, and to force them to take long jump shots, we could be in good shape.” The players did just what the coaches planned. Williams’ 34 markers on seven field goals, three three point plays from long-range out, and 11 of 12 free throws proved to be too much for the rivals to handle. His total points fell two points shy of the 36 points that he turned in twice this season. “Chaz is a total asset to us,” Infortunio said. “He’s got a little bit of fire in him. When we think he looks very tired, he makes a big play, steals the ball, makes an up and down move, and draws the defense in. He’s a lot of fun to watch.” Williams, a junior, who committed to Hofstra University after his senior year, joins starters Andre Robinson, a guard, forwards Nurse and Tucker, and center Jermaine Braumuller as starters. Also contributing are guards Don Marbury and Sam Haigler, forwards Peter Panousopoulo, Lorenzo Brown, Jason Hall, and Sheldon Bernard, and centers Dylan Henry and Gohkan Ozkan. They all chipped in to their first ever trip to the State Federation Tournament. “I’m still overwhelmed that we won the city championship,” Infortunio added. “I couldn’t be any happier and prouder than I am. They fought, fought, and fought and won 18 in a row. They never let me down. When I was down they picked me up. When they were down I picked them up. I enjoy watching them celebrate.” The players wanted to show everybody that they were the best team in New York City by advancing this far in Class ‘A.’ They worked hard every day in practice and in the games.. They believe that could compete with the Class ‘AA’ players. A change in the starting line up during the year might have been the key move toward what turned out to be a very successful season. “We lost a student athlete because of academic reasons, and we moved a couple of better defensive players into the [rotation],” said Alumni Director Forte Bellino, a former coach in the program. “The ball got distributed a little bit more, It really turned everything around. Robinson and Nurse picked up the playing time and they’ve all played great.” Going to the State Federation Tournament will be a great experience for the players. “They worked hard and deserve it,” Athletic Director Peter Goyco said. “We are looking forward to continuing the success. These kids have been successful because of all their hard work.”

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