By Zach Braziller and Joseph Staszewski
The Bronx knocked off Queens in the first contest in the Battle of the Boroughs, but unlike the previous two years, this was just the beginning.
The Battle of the Boroughs was previously a one-day event featuring all five boroughs in August, but now the teams will play a series of scrimmages to set up seeding for the one-day tournament in August.
The entire schedule will be announced in the coming days, with all games played at Rivington Court, the newly built home for Team Nike 2 — a professional streetball all-star team which will face other star-studded teams on a weekly basis this summer on the Lower East Side.
“Now it formalizes into a program, not just a game,” said Bronx Coach Bernard Bowen. “That’s something that the kids can look forward to.”
In the opener June 27, Deandre Bembry of St. Patrick (N.J.) scored 14 points, Terry Larrier of Our Savior Lutheran had nine points, Christ the King’s Adonis DeLaRosa added eight points and Putnam Science Academy’s (Conn.) Dayshon Smith had seven as the Bronx knocked off Queens 65-48. Boys & Girls’ Rashad Andrews scored 15 points for Queens and Holy Cross’ Marquise Moore had 14.
“It gives us a chance to feel each other out and see what we are up against,” said Long Island Lutheran forward Kentan Facey, who played for Queens.
The highly sought-after Smith, who has scores of mid-major offers and is beginning to compile high-major interest, had the play of the game, a steal and right-handed slam over Andrews, who prides himself on his defense.
“I got sneaky athleticism,” said the 6-foot-2 point guard who is playing with the New York Lightning this summer. “A lot of people don’t know I can jump. I told my teammate [Adonis DeLaRosa] it was going to happen, not particularly on [Andrews]. I felt I was going to dunk on somebody. It was that type of night.”
Andrews laughed it off afterward, in front of Smith, though it was no laughing matter during the game as the in-your-face dunk was replayed on the big screen several times.
“He got lucky,” Andrews said.
Andrews will have a chance at redemption and the next time Queens takes the floor together, it will likely have former St. John’s and Dayton commit Jevon Thomas and national prospect Jermaine Lawrence, neither of whom was on hand June 27. The Bronx, it should be noted, was without Chris McCullough, considered one of the top players in the country in the class of 2014.
“It’s better,” DeLaRosa said of the new format. “Now we are going to play with and against each other throughout the summer.”