Austin Williams was convinced this team wasn’t going to give another lead to Campus Magnet before ensuring it.
“We were at home,” the Bayside junior point guard said. “I wasn’t going to accept us losing at home.”
When the two teams met on the Bulldogs home turf in December they rallied from eight points down going into the fourth quarter for a win and were trying to do the same trailing by 12 this time.
Williams, who scored a game-high 22 points, did everything in his power to keep that from happening again. He put the finishing touches on an important 53-42 win in PSAL Queens AA boys’ basketball last Thursday night. In the closing minutes, Williams even went up to his teammates and reminded them they were home and they were not going to lose. Then he put his actions into words.
“He is learning to be a leader,” Bayside Coach Cory Semper said. “I’ve been waiting for this. This is his third year now. He started for me as a freshman and this is what I’ve been waiting for, for him to lead us.”
Campus Magnet rallied behind Noah Vickers, who scored 18 points, including four three-pointers, to pull as close as 45-40 on a Samuel Durodola layup with 3:08 remaining in the game. Williams then poked free a steal at the top of the key for an easy layup. Tarik Raynor had a putback for the Bulldogs, but Williams went 4-for-4 from the free throw line down the stretch and had another steal and score.
“I’m the captain of my team,” said Williams, whose zone school is Campus Magnet. “I’m just trying to set an example.”
The victory puts the Commodores into a second-place tie with Campus Magnet (8-2) in the division and a game behind first-place Cardozo. Uzonna Akazi scored 10 points for Bayside (8-2) and Cantrell Barker added eight. Durodola chipped in 13 points for Campus Magnet.
“Today they were better than us,” legendary Bulldogs Coach Charles Granby said. “They outplayed us. They deserved to win, simple as that.”
Bayside took control of the game with a 12-0 run over the first and second quarters. Williams started with a three-pointer to end the opening stanza and a DeQauise Andrews layup in transition put the Commodores up 18-11 with 5:30 remaining in the second quarter. Ryan Tomlin was fouled at the buzzer and sunk two free throws to extend the lead to 30-18 at the half.
The Commodores credited using their size advantage in the second quarter to control the offensive and defense glass, something Akazi was a major part of. They were able to get out in transition and Williams did an excellent job getting his teammates involved.
“We knew that they beat us already,” Akazi said. “We had to play harder.”
Semper said he feels like this squad looks like a basketball team now and they are finding their stride in the second half of the season. There is more patience and efforts. This is a win they can build off going forward and one Williams can brag about going home.
“He’s from over there,” Semper said. “This is a big win to go back to the neighborhood with.”
©2012 Community News Group
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