By Joseph Staszewski
Cardozo Coach Ron Naclerio understands his team’s limitation.
The Judges lack consistent inside scoring but have a strong backcourt, which can shoot its way to victory on most nights. But this wasn’t a typical night with Curtis and Rhode Island-bound big man Hassan Martin visiting Oakland Gardens.
The 6-foot-7 forward dominated the paint and the Judges’ outside shots weren’t falling. It all resulted in a lopsided 68-53 defeat to the Warriors at the Steve Simms Memorial Showcase Sunday. Cardozo (8-3) trailed by as many as 21 after three quarters.
“We got good shots …. Every time we made a run at them, the run wasn’t good enough,” Naclerio said.
He said there are nights when his team hits one three-pointer while on others they hit 10. The shots fell in the first and fourth quarters, but not when Curtis made its runs. Martin’s shot-blocking presences deterred aggressive drives into the paint. The Judges were trying to put up floaters. Martin began to break out offensively when Cardozo center Daniel Janel got into foul trouble in the third quarter.
“We knew he could have a big game,” Credle said. “We felt like Danny was able to contain him, but he got in early foul trouble.”
Credle led the Judges with 13 points and Darnell Holmes had nine. Martin paced Curtis with 24 points, Tyler Summers had 18 and Benjamin Ellis added 16.
Curtis (12-2) needed to bounce back after getting trounced by nationally ranked St. Antony’s (N.J.) Saturday. The Judges got within 14 in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors kept responding.
“It says a lot about the character of the players to come back tonight and come to Cardozo and beat Cardozo at Cardozo,” Curtis Coach Rich Buckheitt said.
Naclerio is concerned with his team’s reliance on their perimeter scoring for the long haul. He is unsure if they can win consistently that way as they try to claim and division and borough titles.
“The way we have to play our margin for error is small,” Naclerio said. “I’m realizing it’s even smaller.”