By Dylan Butler
It's a place he's visited a lot lately.The junior forward has run more laps than he wishes to remember in practice for missing his free throws, but with a chance to clinch at least a tie in Queens III-A, Simmons buried both foul shots to give Springfield Gardens a 69-66 road win.”In practice I make them hit free throws before they leave the gym and if they miss it they have to do a lot of running,” said Springfield Gardens coach Michael Shelton. “He got tired of running, he started focusing and he hit the free throws.”It was Simmons' only two points of the game.”In practice, coach keeps telling us that we must make free throws during games,” Simmons said. “That was my opportunity right there, to prove that I can make free throws under stress.”Springfield Gardens (19-2, 11-2) raced out to an early 8-0 lead and never trailed, although Van Buren (15-5, 8-4) made several runs throughout the game.But each time Springfield, which hasn't won a division title in 16 years, had the answer.Melvin Clarida finished with a game-high 27 points, Charles Jenkins added 17, including nine in the fourth quarter. Jenkins scored the first five points of the fourth quarter after the VeeBees got within 46-42 at the end of the third quarter. “Everybody forgot about Springfield,” Jenkins said. “We're trying to bring us back.”Anwar Boling capped a 9-0 run with a steal and layup that cut Springfield Gardens' lead to 54-53 with 3:41 left in the game. Springfield's Trevor Marson missed a pair of free throws, but Jenkins grabbed the rebound and scored on a putback. Boling, who hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with 19 points, twice got the VeeBees within one, but the hosts couldn't recover from that early deficit and dropped its second straight league game.”When you have to climb that hill all game and you start to get towards the top of the hill, you're using so much energy that you're getting tired,” Van Buren coach Robert Weiss said. “When you have to dig and dig in desperation it makes it harder.”Miguel Soares had 19 points – 15 in the first half, including four 3-pointers – and Jason Plenty added 16 points for Van Buren, which had hopes of contending for the Queens III-A title, but now hopes to be invited to next week's Queens Borough championships.St. Raymond's 77, Cardozo 74. Vic Morris's three-pointer at the buzzer Saturday was waived off because his foot was on the line, ruining a comeback by Cardozo (16-4) that saw them come back from an 18-point second-quarter deficit at the Basketball City Shootout at Iona College. Morris scored 31 points in the loss. St. Ray's (10-4) was led by Chris Bethel, who scored a career-high 30 points.Flushing 63, Cleveland 56. Vernon Teel had 28 points and 10 rebounds Friday and Travis Colburn contributed 22 points for Flushing (17-6, 9-4 Queens A-I).Bayside 73, Hillcrest 37. Troy Phillips and Patrick Hazel both scored 14 points and Hazel also had 14 rebounds and 11 blocks for Bayside (13-3, 11-2 Queens A-II) on Friday.Lane 69, Aviation 21. Chris Richards had 13 points and dished out 12 assists for Lane (14-8, 7-6 Queens A-I) Friday.Bowne 74, Edison 56. Matthew Collazo scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Bowne (7-6 Queens A-II) in a game on Friday.Cardozo 85, Jamaica 59. Morris had 32 points and Devin Epps scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds Friday for Cardozo (16-3, 13-0 Queens A-II).Francis Lewis 82, Townsend Harris 42. Rajasek Prasar had 10 points and 12 rebounds Friday for Francis Lewis (8-15, 4-9 Queens A-II).Bowne 74, Edison 56. Matthew Collazo scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Bowne (7-6 Queens A-II) in a game on Friday.Beach Channel 72, Far Rockaway 54. On Friday, Devon Saxon had 22 points for Beach Channel (8-6, 8-5 Queens A-III).Campus Magnet 59, John Adams 36. Evan Thomas had 20 points and 11 assists for Campus Magnet (20-3, 10-3 Queens A-III) on Friday.August Martin 77, Richmond Hill 32. Jevon Carmon had 24 points and 10 rebounds for August Martin (5-8 Queens A-III) Friday.Bryant 62, Newtown 49. Tony Dennison had 19 points for Bryant (17-6, 10-3 Queens A-I) Friday.Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.