It was vintage Ron Naclerio early. And it ended up being old-school Cardozo, too, against Thomas Edison on Thursday in the semifinals of the Queens Borough playoffs in Bayside.
With NBA players Royal Ivey and Charlie Villanueva watching from the stands, Naclerio was the crazy, out-burst prone coach they remembered when they played high-school basketball in Queens. The coach started the first possession of the game, running along the Judges sidelines screaming when Allan Thomas converted a three-point play. And before halftime, frustrated with his team's inability to get a rebound, he raced down the Cardozo bench into the gym corner and slammed his body against a quartet of volleyball net poles.
"That one, I've never seen that," said Ivey, who won a PSAL championship with Naclerio in 1999. "I've seen him kick chairs and slam tables, but I've never seen him do that."
What the Milwaukee Bucks standout has seen is Cardozo success. There hasn't been as much of it this season, but with their 63-54 win against the third-seeded Inventors, the No. 2 Judges will be headed to the Queens Borough championship game Sunday at St. John's University. Their opponent is top seed Campus Magnet, which beat No. 4 Forest Hills in the other semifinal Thursday.
Cardozo lost twice to Campus Magnet during the regular season and fell three times in league play - its most losses against Queens PSAL teams in more than 20 years.
"We want them real bad," said Judges senior guard Dennis Oglesby, who had 15 points. "We lost to them twice before. We have to take Queens back."
Cardozo would have never even been in that position without Oglesby. He expected to be a bit piece on the team this year, but then starters James Southerland and Chris Hampton transferred. Much like the Judges early in the season, Oglesby was inconsistent. But his confidence has come far enough that he could drive the lane against the big Edison front line with 4:21 left in the game to halt an Inventors 9-0 run. The Jamaica native's layup pushed the Cardozo lead up to 61-48.
"In the beginning of the year, he probably wouldn't have done that," said Judges Iona-bound senior point guard Trinity Fields, who finished with 13 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.
Senior Vincent Scott had 13 points for Cardozo and Edy Toussaint, another senior, added 11.
Naclerio was charged with a technical foul at the end of the third quarter when Fields' seemingly buzzer-beating three-pointer was called off. Referees told the coach that the timekeeper started the clock too soon on an inbounds play to Fields and Naclerio raced over to the scorer's table and slammed his palms down on it. Thomas (19 points), Edison's star senior guard, missed both free throws to start the fourth quarter. It was the epitome of a frustrating day for the Inventors, who split a pair of games with the Judges in the regular season.
"We didn't come out intensely," Edison coach John Ulmer said, "and [we] wanted to."
Junior point guard Stephon Hodges had 14 points for the Inventors, who won the Queens Borough championship last season from Class A. Ulmer wouldn't go as far to call his team's first season in 'AA' a disappointment - they still have a chance to makes waves in the PSAL city playoffs. But he wasn't happy with their effort against Cardozo.
"They're tough, they're scrappy," Ulmer said of the Judges. "But I think they're going in Sunday and getting beat."
"We're not gonna lose," he said. "We're gonna put up a real good fight. It's gonna be a rumble."
Campus Magnet 62, Forest Hills 53. Kyle O'Quinn had his second straight dominant performance in the Queens Borough playoffs, helping lead the Bulldogs over the Rangers on Thursday afternoon in Cambria Heights. The senior center had 25 points and 15 rebounds to propel Magnet into the Queens Borough championship game against Cardozo on Sunday at St. John's.
Mennon Chavis had 12 points, Khalil McDonald had 11 and Nathaniel Wilson chipped in 10 points and 14 assists for Campus Magnet.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Marc Raimondi by e-mail at mraimondi@
©2008 Community News Group
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