Brendan Sullivan is hoping for the reverse of an all-too-familiar trend.
His FDR boys basketball team had been known for fast starts, but falling short when March comes around. This season, the Cougars already have two Brooklyn A South league losses, as many as they have had each of the last two seasons. The total includes a 50-point loss to Midwood in their third contest.
“That game actually woke us up.” Sullivan said…“The last couple of years we have been very good early and a little sloppy late.”
FDR is beginning to get rolling and will get another shot at the Hornets thanks to an impressive 63-58 win over Staten Island power Curtis in the semifinals of the Aviator Holiday Hoops Classic in Brooklyn Wednesday night.
“A lot of people didn’t think we would in win, but we came out pretty hard and proved people wrong,” Von Allen Pickett said.
The senior guard, who sat out last year after transferring from Lincoln, was a big reason why, scoring 17 points, including three 3-pointers. He connected on a long jumper and later a 3-pointer to cap a 10-0 late in the third quarter, after Curtis had taken a seven-point lead. Eric Sandoval, who provided huge put backs and rebounds throughout, scored 15 points. Ala Alzindani had 14 points and Jaquan Hollingshead added 12 for FDR (10-4).
“When he heats up he is hard to cover,” Sullivan said of Pickett.
Curtis (9-4) still had a chance to enter the fourth with lead after baskets from Dontay Jackson and Dashawn Richmond. The Warriors players and coaching staff lost track of the shot clock on their final possession leading to a violation and an Alzindani floater at the buzzer put FDR up, 51-50, after three. Kevin McIntosh led Curtis with 17 points, including three 3-pointers and Richmond added 12.
“Everything equals out with our team,” Sandoval said. “We all equal out with the rebound, assists, scoring. We are just real comfortable with each other.
The one frustration the Cougars left with was they didn’t put the game away. Pickett converted a transition layup and then fed Sandoval for a score to put FDR up 61-55 with 3:11 left in the game. Jackson connected on a baseline layup and the Cougars would turn the ball over three straight times, but Curtis was unable to capitalize. Sandoval added a layup with 51 seconds left to seal a berth in the title game.
“It feels good,” Pickett said. “We kind of started out struggling. We lost to Sheepshead and Midwood. We came in here and everyone was playing hard and now we are in the championship.”