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Maspeth in position for city title repeat

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Maspeth boys’ basketball team won’t be sneaking up on anyone as it looks to repeat as PSAL Class B city champions after a thrilling run last year.

The Argonauts remained undefeated in Queens Class B league play with a convincing 57-51 win at home against Metropolitan Feb. 3

Maspeth led by 16 at halftime and held a 23-point advantage midway through the fourth quarter. However, a late three-point barrage from Metropolitan made the final score look much closer than the game actually was.

Ten different players scored for the Knights, while only two of them put up double figures.

Sophomore Luca Tamer led Maspeth with 17 points and senior Matthew Nickel had 11. Senior guard Tamer Tamer, Luca’s older brother, scored eight points as well, while Maspeth’s leading scorer Daniel Piszczatowski had only two points. The Argonauts’ balance has been a key all season.

“The other team has no idea who to focus on,” Tamer Tamer said. “If I’m doing bad, I know my brother, and Matt and Nathaniel (Nickel) and my other teammates could pick up my slack.”

Maspeth coach Anastasia Bitis made sure to note the importance of her team’s unselfish play. It was one of the keys to its title run and trip to the state Federation final last year.

“We stress team basketball and we don’t like any showboating or anything like that,” she said. “What we care about is wins or losses.”

Her team had no trouble getting out to a quick start early after a 10-0 run to begin the second quarter gave them a 23-6 lead. They would keep Metropolitan from making a field goal in the quarter until just under the two-minute mark, and they took a 42-26 advantage into the half.

The Knights cut the lead down to single digits until there was less than 1:00 remaining in the game. They drained three-pointers on five straight possessions to close the game on a 19-5 run. Maspeth would withstand the barrage and hold on for the win.

The win continued what has been a dominant season for Maspeth after some preseason headaches. The Argonauts’ court needed repairs prior to the season’s start because of water damage, but since then it has been smooth sailing.

The Argonauts are 14-0 in league play, with 11 of those wins coming by double digits. They dropped three non-league games early in the season, including a Dec. 30 loss to fellow B-title contender Fannie Lou Hamer. However, at this point they are in position for a run at another crown.

“I think we have a stronger team this year than we did last year,” Bitis said.

While the elder Tamer and Piszczatowski are key returnees from last season’s championship team, the Argonauts have seen a good deal of roster turnover this year. They have only six seniors on their roster and two of their key players, Luca Tamer and Piszczatowski, are only sophomores.

“Last year’s team… we knew exactly what we were doing together. This year’s team it’s a little more difficult,” Tamer Tamer said. “But I think we could pull it off.”

Posted 12:00 am, February 15, 2016
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