February 13, 2017
By Cory K. Doviak
NJS.com Editorial Director
Adrian Baucom's layup with 4:50 to play in the game kicked off a 7-0 run that Teaneck used to slip past Dwight-Englewood, 55-48, in the quarterfinals of the Bergen County Jamboree.
HACKENSACK – There are obvious advantages to being a 7-foot tall basketball player on the high school level, but sometimes the disadvantages can be quite stark as well, especially when the opposing team puts a lineup with five guards on the floor for the full 32 minutes. Who can a big guy like Teaneck’s Pierre Sow guard in said scenario?
“Usually I guard somebody around the paint, but the guy I had to guard today could shoot a little bit,” said Sow. “I don’t really have the lateral quickness, but I just tried to stay in front of him and do my best.”
Sow did well enough in Teaneck’s man-to-man defense to keep himself from becoming a liability and it allowed him to stay on the floor for long stretches to exploit the advantages that come with being a least a head taller than any player trying to guard him. Sow had three dunks in the game, all coming from the backside as Dwight-Englewood’s zone shifted to stop penetration, and he also changed two shots in the final two-and-a-half minutes of a nip-and-tuck game.
Contributions like that from a host of Highwaymen made the difference in a 55-48 win on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University that landed Teaneck, the No. 4, in the semifinals of the Bergen County Jamboree. The Highwaymen will take on No. 1 Bergen Catholic, a 98-80 winner over Hackensack, on Sunday in the Rothman Center.
“We were caught in a quandary. They had five guards on the floor and we just tried to put Pierre on the one that was less adept and putting the ball on the floor and going by. It worked for us,” said Teaneck head coach Jerome Smart. “I think we are playing pretty well right now because we are getting contributions from other people. Adrian [Baucom] has been steady scoring the ball for us, Cory [Gordon] is doing the little things, Pierre is rebounding the ball and I think we are coming into our own right now.”
|Dwight-Englewood sophomore Tyson Etienne, who finished with 14 points, going in for a third quarter dunk that tied the game at 35.
Teaneck needed everybody in support of its starting backcourt of Ja’Quaye James and Leondre Washington because Dwight-Englewood, the No. 5 seed, was not going anywhere. The game was tied after each of the first three quarters; 18-18 after the first, 28-28 at the half and 37-37 after three. In fact, it was the Bulldogs that pulled off the first sustained run.
It came early as a 7-0 run capped by a Jordan McKoy 3-pointer and Tony DeBellis’ steal and layup put Dwight-Englewood in front 18-8 with 2:47 to go in the first quarter. James answered with seven points in a 10-0 spurt the other way to knot the game after eight minutes and neither team opened any real breathing room from there on out. Dwight-Englewood’s largest lead after the first quarter was four points and Teaneck’s largest advantage of the game before the last half of the fourth quarter was three.
Dwight-Englewood’s zone with sophomore Jordan McKoy, a point guard by trade manning the middle, did its job of keeping the scoring down and forcing Teaneck into long offensive possessions with the clock running. On the other end, however, Dwight-Englewood was not interested in taking the air out of the ball. The Bulldogs attacked on the offensive end and their versatility was a problem for Teaneck. Dwight-Englewood only goes six deep, but everyone it puts on the floor can handle the ball and get to the basket.
There were four lead changes and four ties in the third quarter alone and D-E had two fourth quarter leads, including the first one of the final period when Isaiah Pean opened the quarter with a 3-pointer from the wing off a kick by McKoy. Baucom then answered with maybe Teaneck’s most crucial basket, a 3 from the corner that squared the game at 40 with 5:52 to play. When Dwight-Englewood took its final lead the next time down the floor on Tyson Etienne’s cut to the hoop, Baucom answered again by getting ahead of the field for a layup that tied the game for the final time, 42-all with 4:50 to play.
|Ja'Quaye James scored a team-high 18 points for Teaneck, which will get a shot at top-seeded Bergen Catholic in the Jambo semis.
With the news that Juwaun Daniels will not be back at Teaneck at any time this season, Baucom’s role and his importance has increased immeasurably.
“I am like the third scorer on this team, the third option and I try to take the pressure off of [Leon]dre and Ja[‘Quaye],” said Baucom, a senior. “I have to be able to knock down an open shot or get to the basket because we need that third scorer.”
Baucom’s run-out was the start of a mini-spurt that came at just the right time. The 7-0 run included two free throws from Cory Gordon, one from Washington and a Sow dunk off a Baucom lob that made it 47-42 with 1:38 to play.
That finally forced Dwight-Englewood out of its zone and into a scrambling man-to-man, which is not easy against the Teaneck backcourt. James and Washington know how to spread the floor and avoid five-second calls without ever giving up their dribbles. James hit both ends of a one-and-one with 55 seconds left, Washington did the same with 22 seconds left and the Highwaymen were a combined 8 for 8 from the line in the final minute to escape with the hard-fought win.
All 103 points in the game were scored by the 10 players that started the game. Pean (18 points) and Etienne (14 points) led Dwight-Englewood (19-2), which got 7 points apiece from McKoy and DeBellis. Judah McIntyre had the other field goal for the Bulldogs. Teaneck had three double digit scorers, James (18 points), Washington (12 points) and Baucom (11 points). Gordon had 8, including making all four of his free throw attempts, and Sow had 6, all on dunks.
Teaneck finished 19 of 22 from the free throw line as a team, while Dwight-Englewood got to the stripe just nine times and made five.
Teaneck (19-5), which has won 12 of its last 13 games, has an important week coming up, if not a busy one. The Highwaymen will play at Northern Valley/Old Tappan on Tuesday night with a league title going to the victor and then it is off to the Jambo Final 4 next Sunday against top-seeded Bergen Catholic.
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