St. Pancras Eighth- Graders Take First Step to Trophy

Defeat Resurrection Ascension In Playoffs

Hayden Delkin didn’t know he scored all of his team’s points during the fourth quarter but he did know that going into the period he had to do all he could for the St. Pancras Cougars to win.

Freddy Rivera of the St. Pancras Cougars eighth grade team looks to make a play during a game against Resurrection Ascension in Rego Park. He finished the game with 15 rebounds.

“My team was struggling and I had to help them out in the fourth quarter. I had to put points on the board to win,” he said.

Fueled by Delkin’s seven points down the stretch in the final quarter- he finished with 12-the St. Pancras Cougars’ eighth grade intermediate team overcame a one-point halftime deficit and recorded a 28-23 first-round playoff win last Saturday, Feb. 23, over host Resurrection Ascension in Rego Park.

The Cougars will now head into a second-round game at St. Robert Bellarmine in Bayside on Mar. 3 against an undetermined opponent.

The St. Pancras Cougars eighth grade team look to in-bound the ball during the fourth quarter of a game against Resurrection Ascension in Rego Park.

Their first postseason win almost didn’t happen, though. Down by as many as six at one point before halftime, the Cougars failed to get into an early rhythm, which resulted in several turnovers and transition buckets for the home team.

“We were not taking our time. We were not getting off good shots and we were rushing,” Delkin said. “They played good defense, too.”

That all started to change when just 30 seconds into the second half, Matthew Murawski nailed a jumper from the left wing, which triggered an 11-4 run.

“I missed a bunch of them early but after my coach told me to get more open shots, I started to do better,” Murawski said.

Delkin converted on two free throws toward the end of the third quarter to give the Cougars their first lead since the early minutes of the first quarter and they never looked back.

Throughout the game, Freddy Rivera made his presence felt on the defensive end. He pulled down 15 rebounds, including two during the fourth quarter that led to transition points for Delkin.

“I just boxed out and put my heart into the game,” Rivera said. “It was a close game and I was pretty scared we were going to lose. But I didn’t let that stop me.”

Coach Carlos Rodriguez was pleased with his team’s defensive effort throughout the game and was glad the offensive performance finally came around to keep their championship hopes alive.

“I think they definitely picked it up in the second half,” he said. “We’re confident heading into next week. We won seven of our last nine. We don’t know who we’re playing yet but we have been playing well and that’s all that matters.”

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