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April 14, 2008It was a case of the hunter becoming the hunted as a surprised Playaz Club Juniors soon lost their air of inevitability against motivated Brooklyn Ballers team comprised mostly of juniors from Adelphi Academy.
In the final game of Sunday's iS8/Nike tournament, the crowd had originally left only to return as the buzz got out that an upset was in the making. The buzz turned into a reality as the team from Brooklyn upset the team from New Jersey 95 - 83.
On paper, this should have been a Playaz Club blowout but after one quarter was in the books the score was tied at 27 points.
Lamount Samuell and Dion Waiters came out slingin' from the perimeter and bangin' on the offensive glass for the Brooklyn Ballers.
At first, other than Dominic Cheek, Playaz Club was quiet on offense with Sammi Obetoh, a senior from Washington Irving H.S., providing an additional spark to the Brooklyn Ballers scoreboard.
Down by four, Playaz Lance Brown would put down key buckets as would Austin Johnson in the paint but the Brooklyn Ballers was a determined force to be reckoned with as the Playaz Club was denied continuously on offensive end.
Waiters would score off a feed from Jamal Gill, putting Brooklyn Ballers up by 5 points. Turnovers would disrupt the Playaz Club's flow and Derrick Rendell would swat away the Playaz Club's scoring attempts.
The Playaz Club's intensity or desperation grew as they were now down by 7 with 1:57 seconds left in the first half of play.
Malik Wayns would power in successively to briefly tie but the Brooklyn team would regain the lead with 21 seconds remaining.
Johnson would power dunk to tie and Samuell would miss a power dunk on the opposite end as the half ended with the Brooklyn Ballers up one point.
Turnovers would hamper the Playaz Club's comeback attempt early as a Waiters lay-up would put the Brooklyn Ballers up by 5 points.
The Playaz would fight back to tie but Derrick Rendell would quickly regain the lead for the Brooklyn Ballers who would go back up by six with aggressive play punctuated by Jamil Goodwin of the Playaz getting slammed to the floor.
Obetoh was a monster on the defensive boards, denying the Playaz on multiple occasions.
With 2:49 left in the quarter the Playaz Club Juniors were still down by 4 as Nigel Henderson harassed the Playaz Club point guard Tamir Jackson successfully on defense.
Goodwin would tie off a strong move to the basket but Samuell would swish a three pointer to counter.
A defensive lapse with a minute left in the third quarter resulted in quick buckets by Jackson, Cheek and Goodwin in succession which would put Playaz Club up 68-65 going into the third with smiles on their faces.
To start the final quarter, Goodwin would put the Playaz up by 5 points as Jackson would go down and out briefly with cramps.
Two quick buckets by Rendell, however, would bring the Brooklyn Ballers to within one with 6:16 left in regulation and a dunk by Waiters would result in Brooklyn Ballers to briefly regain the lead but permanently regaining confidence.
Frustration crept into the Playaz as Cheek forced up an air ball, down by 3 points with 3:48 left and Randell would increase the lead to 5 points off a pick and roll.
Out a timeout the Playaz Club applied a full court press which resulted in a turnover and a tying Cheek three pointer. A three pointer that was matched and quickly erased by Sammi Obetoh on the other end.
There was 2:25 left and Brooklyn Ballers were up by 3 points as both teams hustled diligently for the rock frequently ending up scrambling on the floor.
Malik Wayns would miss a critical jumper that resulted in back-to-backs by Waiters and Gavin Scott to push the Brooklyn Ballers lead to 7 points with 1:32 left in regulation.
Wayns would miss again and Waiters would throw down a vicious dunk to push the lead up to 9 points. Cheek would quickly score to bring the lead down 7 with 1:07 left.
The Playaz Club, running out of options, tried once again to press but this time the Brooklyn Ballers busted their press wide open. To compound issues the Playaz were have problems converting buckets.
With 56 seconds, the Playaz Club found themselves in a double bonus situation which hindered them on defense, ultimately forcing the Playaz Club Juniors to face the reality of losing.
The Brooklyn Ballers displayed a balanced scoring attack with Dion Waiters as the high scorer with 23 points with Lamount Samuell contributing 20 points and Sammi Obetoh providing 17 points. Dominic Cheek scored 27 points for the Playaz Club.
When as what inspired the win, Coach Gary Sheares responded "We didn't see our name in the (NYCHoops.net) ranking. We figured the only way to change that was to win."
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