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Tom Crotty Memorial

February 3, 2004 Columns No Comments

Recapping the Tom Crotty Memorial Boy’s Classic

by Keith Irizarry

On Saturday, January 31st, St. John’s University played host to a momentous tournament, the inaugural Tom Crotty Memorial Boy’s Classic. The event featured 12 of the nation’s top boys’ high school basketball programs in the tri-state area. The games were held in memory of many fallen heroes from the 9/11 tragedy. The namesake is Thomas Crotty, a former four-year letterman at Marist College who was a managing director at Sandler O’Neill before his death on September 11, 2001. Many fans came out to Alumni Hall on the campus of St. John’s University to let it be known, that “we still remember.” Basketball may have been the showcase, but this day meant more than just what was in between those black lines.

Game 1: Holy Cross 76 – Bishop Ford 48

The Opening Game was a blowout almost before it started. Holy Cross jumped out to an insurmountable 46-25 lead at the half. The Knights were able to run on offense and trap on defense, forcing the Bishop Ford Falcons into countless turnovers. Junior Knight, Gordon McKenzie had a game-high 14 points and was named the Game MVP. The Falcons were paced by senior, Anthony Chiaramonte who had 10 points.

Game 2: Christ the King 62 – St. Dominic’s 46

This was mostly an even matchup in the 1st half, with the Christ the King Royals leading 25 to 23 at the half. The Royals opened things up in grand fashion in the 2nd half, though, holding the Bayhawks to just six 3rd quarter points. With a 12 point lead and headed into the 4th quarter Christ the King never looked back. St. Dom’s was forced to play without their leading scorer, Dwayne Whitfield, who continues to nurse a sprained ankle. Senior Brian Beckford was a stud for the Royals, setting things off with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Junior Akeem Gooding (coming from solid bloodlines, his brother Osei Millar played at Boston College and Hofstra) chipped in 13 points and 6 rebounds. The Bayhawks received steady play from Dave Kennedy, with 10 points.

Game 3: St. Anthony 71 – Monmouth Regional 31

The No. 2 ranked St. Anthony’s Friars did not allow any room for a letdown: a 20-0 first quarter took care of everything. Read that again, Monmouth was held scoreless in the 1st quarter. Head Coach of the Friars, Bobby Hurley, Sr. has his team playing fundamentally sound basketball. They just do things right. All 11 players that saw court time, scored. Friar Junior, Sean McCurdy was named Game MVP and dropped a team high 13 points. Junior forward, Ahmed Nivens also put in 13 points, on six of seven shooting.

Game 4: St. Mary’s 52 – Don Bosco Prep 49

In the first competitive game of the day, St. Mary’s effectively utilized the clock and some adept free throw shooting to capture a hard-fought win. The Gaels of St. Mary’s had four players in double-figures. Tyrone Johnson had 13 points to lead the Gaels, but junior Danny Green stole the show in the 3rd quarter with a thunderous rebound dunk, bringing all the fans to their feet. Green had 12. Danny’s younger brother, Rashad added 12. On the other side, super junior, Tyrell Biggs had a poor shooting afternoon (33% from the field), but ended the game with a respectable 12 points. 6-10 Senior Forward, John Oates patrolled the lane for the Ironmen and reeled off 12 points.

Game 5: Rice 73 – Amityville 61

On paper this was a matchup between the Raiders of Rice (ranked No. 13 in the USA Today Poll) and the Warriors of Amityville, but anyone who knows high school basketball was in the stands of Alumni Hall waiting to see UConn signee AJ Price take on Kansas signee Russell Robinson. The first meeting between these two squads ended in a blowout victory for Rice, but Warrior AJ Price did not play due to team suspension. AJ was obviously amped for this game, jacking up 24 shots throughout. Both started the game a little sluggishly, but in the 2nd quarter, the two guards began defending each other, and things quickly heated up. At the half, AJ had 14 points for Amityville and Russell threw in 10 points and 4 rebounds for Rice. In the end, Price (36 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists) outplayed Robinson and won that battle (24 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists), but Russell’s Raiders won the war, 73 to 61. Senior Forward for Rice, Arturo Dubois came back from a family vacation (he missed Friday, January 30th’s loss at Christ the King) and added 12 points and 4 rebounds.

Game 6: St. Raymond 61 – Mount Vernon 60

This game was the definition of a “team” game. Each squad has great starters, and very reliable role players. Before the game, Mount Vernon was a dealt a terrible blow as senior star guard, Keith Benjamin twisted his ankle severely when he came down on a loose ball during pre-game warm-ups. His substitute, Jonathan Smith, came in and scored 7 points in the 1st quarter. Each team proceeded to play well-rounded ball. St. Raymond’s is known for their 2 studs, Gavin Grant (16 points and game MVP) and Brian Laing (16 points), but junior Ricky Torres was the catalyst in the 2nd half with 15 of his 19 points coming in the second stanza. The final minute ended the day in amazing fashion; a late 2-pointer by Mt. Vernon slasher Johnathan Smith, two missed free throws by Torres, and an errant pass almost cost the game for St. Ray’s. Mt. Vernon had one last chance, a half-court heave that narrowly missed. What a game, what a successful day for the inaugural Tom Crotty Memorial Classic.


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