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October 4, 2009

New Heights Soar Over Team Underrated

New Heights (Seniors/B), coached by Ted Smith, notched another win in the books at the iS8/Nike Fall Tip-Off Classic at Intermediate School 8 in Queens, NY on Saturday. The fiery bunch kept the fighting Team Underrated (Juniors) at bay, as they cruised to a 67-52 victory.

New Heights opened up with pressure on Team Underrated, forcing turnovers and converting those errors into points. The margin stayed low until the Bronx-based team exploded to a 16-point lead, 22-6, by the close of the first quarter. Leading the charge for New Heights was Mark York (24 points) and Kerry Weldon (18 points).

After an inside basket by the hardworking Pat Piasecki (13 points), Team Underrated had chipped its deficit down to 10 early in the second quarter when the score was 24-14. But, New Heights was still on a roll, as the B-squad used great ball movement and speed change-ups to draw fouls to up the ante 33-16.

With about three minutes left in the second quarter, York lifted his team to a 19-point lead, 37-18, after completing the conventional three-point play. Team Underrated answered with a small 7-0 run, to bring the score within a tolerable 12 points. Ultimately, with less than 1:45 remaining before halftime, Weldon gave New Heights a favorable 15-point advantage after a trip to the charity stripe.

The score was 40-29 at the break.

Piasecki, who had 10 first-half points, could not do much more on the offensive end as he was plagued with foul trouble for much of the second stanza. Team Underrated teammates Dante Langhorne (14 points) and Dave White (10 points) attempted to steer the ship, but New Heights' early spark and fast spreading fire made it too difficult to overcome in the third quarter. With a little over a minute remaining in the period, York and company dug Team Underrated's differential deeper, putting New Heights up by as much as 19 points again, 54-35.

Team Underrated saw its hope of victory sinking fast, being down by nearly 20 points early in the fourth quarter. The junior squad went on an 8-1 run sparked by a Marques Charlton jumper and capped with Jordan Awoye's smooth finish to the hole. The sequence made the score 57-46 with about 3:30 left in regulation.

After a missed basket by New Heights' Dominique Nanton, Team Underrated's Charlton nailed a three-pointer to bring the squad to its closest margin since the first period, 58-50. But, the comeback was short-lived, as New Heights exploited open driving lanes on Team Underrated's weak side and down the middle.

York continued to pace New Heights en route to a game-high 24-point performance, while Weldon's key finishes near the basket and drawing the and-1 became instrumental down the stretch. The duo made a huge impact in staving-off Team Underrated. As a result, the senior squad opened the game back up and won by 15 points.

The win advanced New Heights (Seniors/B) to 2-1 in pool play.




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