By Dylan Butler
The Bayside boys’ basketball team was 2:31 away from an upset of No. 6 Boys & Girls, 2:31 from a date with two-time defending champion Lincoln in the quarterfinals. But in the final 2:31 of the Commodores’ second round game Tuesday at Lehman College, it all slipped out of their hands.
Bayside turned the ball over three times in the final two minutes and the Kangaroos closed the game out on a 10-2 run, erasing a four-point deficit to defeat the upstart Commodores, 56-52.
“We didn’t execute,” said Bayside coach Chris Matesic. “I think the program’s come a long way but sometimes you have to take a loss like that to realize what it really takes to finish a game out like that.”
Led by Ryan Leak, who scored a game-high 26 points, No. 11 Bayside (21-9) was ahead 50-46 before the Commodores wilted under Boys & Girls’ full court pressure.
Tyrell Cruz, who limped off the court late in the second quarter with a twisted ankle, returned for the Kangaroos and proved to be the difference down the stretch.
“Every big game that we had he came up with a big game,” Boys & Girls coach Ruth Lovelace said of Cruz. “He lives for these types of games.”
“We didn’t play with enough precision,” said Leak, who provided the lone highlight of an otherwise dismal first half with a buzzer beater just inside the halfcourt line as Bayside went into the break down, 26-24. “I guess we just got too comfortable with the lead.”
With leading scorer Carlos Collazo struggling mightily — the senior guard finished with just four points — Cruz (18 points) took his team on his shoulders late in the fourth quarter. The senior guard scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including six straight points, to put Boys & Girls (23-6) in front 54-50 with 1:17 left.
“At first she wouldn’t let me back in and I told her I had to and I was alright,” Cruz said of Boys coach Ruth Lovelace. “It was hurting but I had to step it and I’m a senior and it could be my last game and I don't want it to. I got 11 more days and I can rest it now.”
On free throws by Patrick Hazel and Leak, Bayside was within 54-52 with one minute left, but Tyrone Dulin and Ryan Eisner were both stopped on attempted layups and junior James Gilmore (19 points) sunk a pair of free throws in the final 21 seconds to send Boys & Girls into the quarterfinals to face a Lincoln team it defeated 75-72 in the Brooklyn Borough Championship on Jan. 31.
But looking past Bayside at their Brooklyn rival nearly cost Boys and Girls.
“I don’t think we played the way we should have played,” Cruz said. “I think we were worrying about other games instead of taking it one game at a time…we’re better than that.”
PSAL Girls ‘A’
Francis Lewis 57, McKee/Staten Island Tech 42. Diatiema Hill had 16 points and Alaina Davis added 10 points and 10 rebounds for No. 2 Francis Lewis (24-2), which advances to face No. 7 Frederick Douglass Academy in the quarterfinals March 7 at Elmcor.
PSAL Girls ‘B’
Beach Channel 76, Renaissance 21. Katreem Palmer had 17 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists, Jodi Vitale had 12 points and Ola Soetan added 10 points for No. 2 Beach Channel (21-2) which faces either Van Buren or John Bowne in the quarterfinals Sunday at Lehman College.
South Shore 54, Richmond Hill 47. Jasmine Sistrunk had 21 points and Lesia Wynn added 14 points for No. 6 South Shore (26-2) Tuesday.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.