By Laura Amato
The plan was simple – defend your turf.
A trio of John Bowne basketball players took that plan to heart Sunday, helping to lead their squad to a 135-127 victory in the More Than a Game High School Super 20 Showcase. Of course, all three players wanted to showcase their respective skills in the game, but this particular matchup mattered just a bit more. It was held at John Bowne High School.
Defend your turf.
“We were just trying to play hard and really just go at each other,” Bowne sophomore Alejandro Vasquez said. “It was a fun game. It’s always fun to play on this court.”
Vasquez led the John Bowne charge, racking up 28 points, including five shots from behind the arc. The sophomore’s jumpshot surprised many during the game—including a few of his all-star teammates—but Vasquez felt confident every time the ball left his hands.
“It was all working pretty well,” he said. “When I get hot, I get on a roll and I feel like I had a good game.”
In addition to Vasquez’s performance, Bowne junior Christian Hinckson and sophomore Kareem Reid showcased their skills in the game, the two players combining for 21 points.
As with most all-star games, neither squad was all that concerned with its defensive pressure in the first half, but as the minutes continued to tick down both teams settled in and, quite suddenly, the intensity of the matchup changed. Both teams—jam-packed with talent from across the city—battled for loose balls, fighting for positioning on the block and exchanging leads.
“We had to play hard and had to play more defense,” Hinckson said. “We wanted to win this game. That’s how most all-star games are, you lack a little bit in the first three quarters and then the fourth quarter you give it all you’ve got.”
Vasquez gave his team a one-point lead with 1:35 left on the clock, but the opposing squad wouldn’t give up and it wasn’t until Lincoln senior Klay Brown hit a jumper with just over a minute to play that the Bowne trio felt certain that they could pull off the win.
Brown in particular was instrumental to that win, earning the MVP award for his game-high 47 points.
“It was phenomenal,” Hinckson said of the Brooklyn standout. “He put on a show and he was a big part of why we won.”
Vasquez all but wrapped up the victory, hauling in a defensive rebound and sinking a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left to notch up the final score.
The trio did their home court proud in the win, but the group knows their work isn’t over quite yet. They’ll be back on that very same court soon enough and, in the meantime, are determined to get better, anxious for the high school season to get underway.
“We just have to keep getting better,” Hinckson said. “We’ll be in the gym every day from here on out.”