By Mitch Abramson
Trailing by a point with 10 seconds remaining, Kwesi Liverpool, York's junior forward, took an inbounds pass and found himself bookended by two defenders. Streaking from the left side was Mohamed, a 6-foot-1 junior guard who, coming off a benching the previous game, admitted that “mentally, I just haven't been there.”Not exactly the guy you want taking the last shot but, after taking a pass from Liverpool, Mohamed launched a 3-pointer from the top of the circle that sliced through the net to give the Cardinals a 46-44 win at home. A last second Hail Mary by Brandon Weldon of the Blue Knights fell short, and with that, York College snapped a three-game losing streak.”We were struggling, so this was a good win for us,” said York coach Ron St. John. “Ray was to the point where he couldn't buy a basket before this game, but hopefully this will help him get his shot back. It's taken us three years for us to get him to be able to play at this level. Last year, he would have cracked under pressure.” Last year Mohamed was a role player who rarely saw the light of the court. He was inserted into the starting lineup in the sixth game of the season to give the team a boost but was benched when his play – along with his confidence – began to dip.”I wasn't showing up. I was playing terribly,” the resident of Ozone Park said. “I didn't deserve to play.”With his team holding a record of 4-12 entering the game, St. John benched two starters in favor of a pair of freshman: 30-year-old Chris Simpson, a hyperactive forward from Flatbush who led the team with 14 points, and point guard Eric Zapata, who picked up his third foul with 12:13 left in the first half.”We were trying to shake things up,” St. John said. Simpson was an unpredictable presence on the inside, tossing up quick shots that more than not found its mark. Mohamed, built like cross-country runner, was an elusive target for Mount St. Mary, scurrying around and releasing the ball the second he was in position.”I wasn't even thinking about how much time was left on the clock or where I was on the court when I took the shot,” said Mohamed. “It feels good just to win.”Mount St. Mary (7-6) led 35-30 on three consecutive 3-pointers in the second half. But York College (4-13), as was the pattern of the game, retaliated with a 9-0 run with Mohamed scoring 5 of his 11 points. “We listened to coach, and refused to break down,” Simpson said.The Cardinals fell behind by four on a 3-pointer by Weldon, who led all scorers with 15 points, but got to within one on a layup by Simpson, setting up Mohamed's game-winner. “I have to give him credit,” said Duane Davis, in his 10th year as coach of the Blue Knights. “We had an idea that he was going to shoot the ball, but we didn't defend him close enough. I didn't think he would attempt a three-pointer to be honest.”Reach reporter Mitch Abramson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.