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Ron Naclerio was worried about a letdown and that was a legitimate concern considering his Cardozo boys’ basketball team was playing at noon on Saturday following an emotional victory over Thomas Edison less than 24 hours earlier.
But motivation wasn’t a problem for Dwayne Brunson and Ryan Rhoomes. The forwards, who Naclerio calls the “best junior tandem in the city,” were going against OD Anosike, “the best big man in the city,” according to the longtime Judges coach.
Not only did the Judges’ big men hold their own against the Siena−bound forward, they dominated in the paint, helping lead Cardozo to a 67−54 victory against St. Peter’s in the opener of the sixth annual High School Invitational at Baruch College.
“I know he’s a good player, we heard a lot about him, but we actually shut him down, me and Dwayne both,” Rhoomes said. “We just played good defense the whole game.”
The 6−foot−8 Anosike was limited to eight points and nine boards, while Brunson, a 6−foot−6 junior, had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Rhoomes, a 6−foot−8 junior, added eight points and 10 boards.
“If we’re working together, then everything is good,” Brunson said. “We can [do] anything. They don’t call us the King of Queens for nothing.”
Not to be overlooked, Reynaldo Walters did a masterful job running the point. He scored a game−high 20 points, including a personal 9−0 run early in the fourth quarter that provided a spark to Cardozo (12−0), which was relatively lethargic in the first half and trailed 30−26 at the break.
“When we made that run and Reynaldo hit the three and we took the lead … you could see the confidence growing,” Naclerio said.
Walters and fellow guard Christopher Gayot combined for 12 assists and just two turnovers.
“The whole team knows what Reynaldo and Chris can do,” Rhoomes said. “They break down the defenses and give it to me and Dwayne. [Walters] is just a good player. He can shoot, he can dribble. He can do whatever he wants.”
Sharpshooter Lenny Ragaglia led St. Peter’s (10−4) with 18 points on 4−of−10 shooting from beyond the arc. Chris Giordano added 13 points and four assists and Trevor Sykes had 11 points and five boards for the Eagles, which also played on Friday night.
Cardozo ended a difficult week, which included league wins against Beach Channel and Edison — a perfect 4−0. It may be too early to anoint the Judges a city championship contender, but more performances like this will certainly make Cardozo a tough outing against any team in the city.
“This was a very good week,” Walters said. “Now we can relax until we play on Tuesday [at Van Buren]. Coach was saying that we’d get a loss by now, but we didn’t. We proved him wrong and I’m hoping we prove him wrong by winning the city, too, hopefully.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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