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Cardozo beats Bayside for borough crown

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Skyler Khaleel has the reputation of being a nice guy, on and off the basketball court. So nice that Cardozo boys’ basketball coach Ron Naclerio dubs him the “Richie Cunningham” of high school basketball after Ron Howard’s clean-cut character on “Happy Days.”

But in a 70-52 win over rival Bayside in the Queens Borough Championship game at Elmcor last Thursday, the senior forward played with a chip on his shoulder that was placed there squarely by the Commodores.

“The main thing was they were talking a little in the newspapers about how they were going to win, three times a charm about how they would be the Kings of Queens,” Khaleel said. “They know they can’t beat Cardozo.”

Khaleel showed Bayside who was and still is the Kings of Queens with a dominating performance. He scored a game-high 28 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and had five blocks and two steals as Cardozo (23-2) captured its first Queens Borough title and solidified the top seed for the citywide playoffs.

“If you pop junk to my team and you get them to play hard, that’s not smart,” Naclerio said, “because I can’t get them to play hard.”

One reason Khaleel enjoyed one of the best games of his career was the mere presence of Theo Davis. While the 6-foot-10 junior forward didn’t have his best game — he had 10 points, 17 rebounds, two blocks and three steals — the fact he was on the floor made Khaleel less of a target as he was in years’ past.

“They can’t stop me and Theo because their big men are going to get in foul trouble, and if Theo has a bad game I can step it up. And if they double up, the guards are wide open on the outside,” Khaleel said. “We just have to play through us and everything else will open up.”

Bayside (20-7) led 19-16 at the start of the second quarter on a three-pointer by Ryan Eisner, who had 10 points and six assists and was the Commodores’ best player early. But Bayside went 4:13 without scoring a point, and the Judges took a 29-19 lead after a 13-0 run.

After scoring 48 and 30 in wins over Campus Magnet and Far Rockaway, Bayside’s Ryan Leak was kept in check by Cardozo, thanks to a trap zone. The senior forward had nine rebounds and scored a team-high 14 points, but shot 4-of-14.

As a team, the Commodores shot 28.5 percent (18-for-63) from the field while Cardozo shot 45.2 percent (24-for-53) from the field.

“That was a representation of where we’re at; it’s a report card, and as a program we’re going to have to regroup,” said Bayside coach Chris Matesic. “I think tonight was a blessing. (Cardozo) is real, they’re the No. 1 team in the city for a reason. … This game is supporting our playoff run.”

Monroe 72, Bayside 68. Darain David had 30 points and Michael Glover added 16 points, 18 rebounds, four blocks and three steals to lead Monroe (23-4) in the fourth annual JFK Classic Sunday. Ryan Leak had 19 points, six rebounds and four steals and Tyrone Dulin added 15 points for the Commodores.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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