By Simon Chen
With the calendar turning the page to 2008, the Brooklyn “A” East Division drives to the hoop for the second half of the season. There will be many key match ups from this point on that will certainly have playoff implications riding on them. As the FDR Cougars and the HS of Telecommunications Yellow Jackets are currently sitting at 7-2, tied for first place in the division. But not sitting too far behind them is the Tilden Blue Devils (6-3) and the Sheepshead Bay Sharks (5-3). All four of teams are jockeying for playoff positioning which will make for a spectacular ending to the season. FDR Cougars (7-2)- Cougars Head Coach Brendan Sullivan is at the helm of one of the borough’s best teams and, most likely, one of the biggest surprise stories coming into this season. In the ‘06-’07 campaign, it took Sullivan’s squad until February 5th, for them to get their fourth win of the season. But this season, it only took them four games into the season, for the “Big Cats” to get their fourth “W” of the year. Due in part of the success has been their backcourt star, Jeffery Barrett. The senior guard leads the division, and is eighth in the entire city, in the scoring category with 184 total points, while adding 41 rebounds and 75 assists, both categories, which he leads the team in. But Barrett isn’t doing it alone as a pair of fellow guards Jonathan Leduc (129 points, 52 rebounds, and 37 assists) and Steven Sharrers (121 points, 20 rebounds, and 25 assists) have both made contributions to the lineup and to FDR’s upbeat start to the season. HS of Telecommunications (7-2)- Coming into this season with a “chip-on-their-shoulder,” Coach Chris Weil’s Yellow Jackets are the defending division champions and will try to win a second consecutive title with one of the division’s top scorers— G/F Gregory Briggs. The junior is fifth in the division with 147 total points, eighth in the divisional ranks with 38 assists, and he has been able to pull down 67 rebounds. But also powering the sting on this squad has been senior guard Anthony Hodge (84 points, 30 rebounds, and 19 assists) and junior forward Kadeem Melvin (81 points and 65 rebounds). After dropping two of three contests, earlier in the season, the T.A.T., as they’re affectionately known, are riding a six game winning streak. Sheepshead Bay Sharks (5-3)- There is absolutely no doubt who is the face of the Sheepshead Bay Sharks— Nelson Bishop. The senior standout dropped 40 in a game against division co-leader, FDR in a 68-64 victory over the Cougars on December 19. But besides the fact that he netted nearly 60% of his team’s points, Bishop (181 points, 93 rebounds, and 19 assists) has contributed nearly 22 points per games and has played all eight of the Sharks’ contest so far. But also making their names known are Ricardo Pierre (107 points, 47 rebounds, and 24 assists) and Peter Adegboye (106 points, 33 rebounds, and 59 assists), who both have both had outstanding performances throughout the first half of the season. Fort Hamilton Tigers (3-6)- After a great ‘06-’07 season, posting a 11-7 record, this season’s Tigers’ team has been a sheer disappointment but Mehdi Elyamine has been a huge bright spot for this squad. The senior has posted up great numbers, averaging about 17 points per contest, and has a total of 155 points, 44 rebounds, and 44 assists, so far in nine contests played. Madison Knights (3-6)- Despite having one of the division’s best tandems in Michael Trowers and Marvin Joseph, Madison has also been another disappointment as the team has only three victories, thus far, at the half way juncture of the season. But the duo has been putting decent numbers with Trowers netting 135 total points, pulling down 26 rebounds, and wheeling out 98 assists. While Joseph, who is not too far behind him, has posted up 126 points, 54 rebounds, and 25 assists. Midwood Hornets (4-5)- The Midwood Hornets, earlier on, lacked consistency, winning one while dropping one then winning once again. But the play of senior forward Sean McPherson has been pivotal this season. McPherson nets an average of 17 points per game, while totaling 136 points, 126 rebounds, and seven assists, in the nine games played, thus far. Despite the earlier inconsistencies of this team, they’ve gotten their act together with two huge consecutive victories over Fort Hamilton and Sheepshead Bay, after dropping three straight contests. New Utrecht Utes (3-6)- It has been an absolute shock that the Utes have been playing such poor basketball with the talent presented to them, in the form of G Amr Reda Salem and F Artel Kelly. Salem has been a key to this squad not falling completely into the abyss, as he posted great stats. The senior backcourt player has 177 total points, which best for 11th in the city and third in the division, and has pulled down 66 rebounds and dealt out 28 assists. While his front court teammate, Kelly, has not held up his end of the bargain. The forward has only totaled 56 points, 38 rebounds, and 10 assists in the nine contests played.