Back-to-back losses to two dynamic Catholic basketball teams have altered Cardozo’s unbeaten record and dented their spirit too.
Now, with five wins and two losses, the Judges are still undefeated in league play, but have taken a real loss in morale. In the previous defeat by Christ the King High School, and the second squeaker to Bishop Laughlin, Cardozo’s coach Ron Naclerio couldn’t be more displeased.
“Unfortunately we have a tough schedule with some of the top-flight schools in the city,” Naclerio said. “When you are at the top of the mountain, sometimes you slip a little.”
Cardozo fell short by only one point in their 62-61 loss to Bishop Laughlin on Monday, December 28 in the Brooklyn Basketball Challenge, which was held at St. Francis College.
Star seniors Reynaldo Walters and Ryan Rhoomes combined for a total 34 points for the Judges in the loss. But containing Bishop’s powerhouse Jayvaughn Pinkston was the toughest challenge.
Pinkston took it to the hole with ease all game and capped his team’s victory with an 18-point night.
In the final seconds of the fourth quarter, Cardozo looked to junior Shelton Mickell to break the tie and finish the game with some last-second heroics. After jostling around for an inch of space, Mickell hoisted up a forced shot from the foul line, which clanked around the iron, but bounced out.
The game was a seesaw battle with constant lead changes throughout regulation – though overtime would be the Bayside school’s demise. With the clock ticking down to just under seven seconds in overtime, Branden Frazier’s layup off an inbounds play all but sealed the victory for Bishop.
“We had a couple good looks, but we never caught a break in this game,” Naclerio said. “The thing is, we are knocking on the door of greatness, and I just hope that’s what the kids on my team want too.”
The Judges head to a fresh start in the New Year when they continue divisional action as they take on Bayside High School on Tuesday, January 5.