By Dylan Butler
If there were an inkling of an upset, guards Dwayne Johnson, Nick Flagg and Vic Morris put an end to that right away for the top-seeded Cardozo boys’ basketball team. The Judges guards ran at will on No. 17 Manhattan Center in a 67-46 romp Feb. 25 at Elmcor.
It was a rare fast start for Cardozo, which advances to face No. 9 Banneker in the quarterfinals Sunday at Lehman College.
Led by Anthony Stukes, who returned after missing the regular season due to academic ineligibility, the Warriors defeated eighth-seeded Curtis, 67-58, earlier that day.
“Coach told us to come out strong because the beginning of the game was very important,” Johnson said. “We had to come out and intimidate them, make sure they didn’t have any hope in winning.”
Cardozo (26-4) did just that, scoring 14 of the game’s first 16 points and extending its 35-19 halftime lead to 35 in the fourth quarter before coach Ron Naclerio emptied his bench.
“It was the first time all year in a big game that they actually came out (ready from the) opening tip ready,” Naclerio said. “I liked the way we played with more intensity for the first time in a long time, and if we can continue to do what we did today, we might be all right.”
Theo Davis had 14 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks; Skyler Khaleel had 11 points; Johnson had 10 points; and Morris and Flagg added nine points apiece for the Judges. Manhattan Center was led by Joe Edwards’ game-high 16 points.
“We came out good,” Morris said. “That’s how we’re supposed to always come out.”
Added Davis: Naclerio “talked to us in practice about having a killer instinct, because when we get up on a team we usually let them back in and then we have to work to finish the game off. Today we just knocked them out from the jump.”
Grady 88, Jamaica 45. Basil Leslie and Jamel White scored 14 points apiece, and Akeem Comas added 13 for No. 2 Grady (24-5), which led 24-4 at the end of the first quarter Friday at Lehman College. Brandon Lawley had 12 points and Kevin St. Pierre added 11 for No. 18 Jamaica (19-8).
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.