Panthers miss feasting on crown

By Robert Elkin

Bay Ridge’s Adelphi Academy, a private school playing a strong independent schedule, prepared well but just fell short of capturing the second annual Aviator Holiday Hoops Tournament last week here in Brooklyn. In an eight-team, four-day tournament with teams coming from New Jersey, Queens and Long Island, as well as from Brooklyn, the Adelphi Panthers defeated Transit Tech of East New York, Brooklyn, 66-60, St. Mary’s of Manhasset, 73-59 in the semi-finals, but then came up on the short end of a 82-76 score against champion Archbishop Molloy of Briarwood, Queens. In consolation final games on the last day of action, Bloomfield Tech of New Jersey turned back St. Mary’s 65-62; Tilden of East Flatbush defeated St. Francis Prep 62-55; and Transit Tech got by St. Edmund of Sheepshead Bay 48-41. In the finals, Adelphi, a scrappy team that shot well for three quarters, was led by five double figure scorers in Ethan Clare with 19 points, Dionne Waiters (17), Lamont Samuell (16), Gavin Scott (12) and Dan Thompson (11). Teammate Kervin Raneau added two points. However, the Panthers couldn’t contain Russell Smith, a junior from Williamsburg, who scored 29 points. Smith took home the Most Valuable Player and high scorer trophies for the tournament. The guard, who has a great deal of potential, netted 20 points and 36 points in previous tournament games for a three contest total of 85 markers. The title game was extremely close and exciting, especially during the first three quarters. The Panthers held a margin of 20-11 at one. The players and coach certainly felt disappointed that they weren’t league members any more. Meanwhile, the tournament at Aviator boasted a lot of exciting games for the fans. Some college recruiters turned for the games. The players excited the fans with their offensive and defensive moves. The semi-final and championship games proved to be the most exciting of the games. Everybody was impressed by the huge facilities, including the state-of-the-art basketball gymnasium and ice hockey rinks. “It’s a great experience for my team to play here,” noted Tilden Coach Eric ‘Rock’ Eisenberg, whose team also played in this tournament last year. “The tournament was great [both years]. We faced a big time athletic team [in Bloomfield Tech in the first round]. We didn’t have the size to contend inside. Overall, the kids had a great experience playing in the tournament.” Molloy Coach Curran was very impressed with the facilities at the Aviator complex. “We played in a nice gym,” Curran added. “That’s why we came here. We wanted to see and play in such a facility. This is our first time here.” “The kids are not slipping all over the floor [like they did when a similar tournament was held at St. Thomas Aquinas],” added St. Edmund Coach Dan Wiatre. “Playing Molloy was a learning experience.” Added St. Edmund swing man Cody Gauvard: “It’s a lot easier to play on a bigger court than on a smaller one. We can spread everything out.” Next year the tournament committee will try to expand the field, according to John Nies, a member of its committee. “When you try to run a tournament at this time of the year, a lot of the higher echelon are out of the state,” Nies said. “We need to get our marketing department into it a little better. And college scouts also came out to see their future stars.” “We hope to have an exciting field for our tournament next year,” said Basketball Manager and Tournament Director Brendan Grady. “Teams played very hard. Adelphi shocked some people with its talent and how hard they played….Tilden with depth won two out of three games. Transit Tech [PSAL Class ‘A’ champion last season] is very well coached and plays very good defense.” Team and individual players and an all-tournament team received trophies as well. Upcoming programs at Aviator include a new men’s basketball league starting January 7. For further information on new teams or any of its programs call 718-758-7500 or 718-758-7547.

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