Clark And Beach Channel Capture Queens Gold
By Elio Velez
For the Beach Channel Dolphins, the road to capturing the PSAL Queens Basketball Championship was a weeklong journey filled with confusion and repetition. To their credit, the Dolphins kept up their heads and Rahshon Clark was the key ingredient in helping them win over August Martin 65-61 last Wednesday at Elmcor Center in Corona Queens. Beach Channel is now 21-2 and headed for the citywide championships.
On the cold court, Clark heated up with a game high 33 points and 12 rebounds. August Martin’s major inside presence, 6’5 Jenar Harrison could not stop the unstoppable inside and outside scoring touch by Clark.
Dolphins head coach Jim Malone was astounded by Clark’s dominating performance. "The shooting touch is remarkable for a 6-5 kid that is athletically so unbelievable. I think his game is so strong and he is playing on a high level right now."
Clark scored 12 of the first 14 points for the Dolphins but they struggled and trailed until Arthur Robertson scored 4 consecutive points to place Beach Channel ahead for good at 34-31. Robertson scored 17 points in the game.
Martin did cut the score to 50-49 in the third quarter but Clark showed his leaping skills with a couple of blocks on the defensive end to spurt a game breaking 15-4 run to close the game out.
The original opponent was supposed to be top-seeded Cardozo, who the Dolphins have not played this season. Cardozo reported to the PSAL that they used an ineligible player to gain wins over August Martin and Newtown in the championships and forfeited those wins. Newtown won against Martin to face BC.
Playing August Martin for the fourth time this year was not the opponent that Beach Channel was looking forward to playing
"Playing someone four times is a drag because they know everything that we do," Malone said. "I give my team a lot of credit. It’s not easy beating anyone four times."
Senior point guard Victor Alvarez, who Coach Malone said after the game is the smartest point guard he has ever coached at Beach Channel, is ready for the post season.
"It feels good and I knew we were going to win this game," Alvarez said. We came out slow but we pushed the pace in the second quarter. We got to play every game (in the playoffs) one by one and let them come to us."
For the Dolphins, the time is now for the city to see how good Beach Channel really is. Clark, a senior who will play at a prep school next year to improve his grades and his college standing, echoes the team sentiment.
"We feel very confident and we think we can go far. The Canarsie game really made us open our eyes," Clark said. "We came out stronger this year to prove to everybody that we are good. This year our goal is to win a championship."
For Rahshon Clark, it is a great opportunity for people to include him as one of the top city players along with Banneker’s Gary Forbes, Lincoln’s Sebastian Telfair and Far Rock’s Richard Forbes.
"My goal from last year was to play harder and go out there and have fun. I wanted to work on my shot even more on the inside and outside", Clark said. "Everybody is on Sebastian or Gary but they are going to know who I am soon."
A mixup in the PSAL website created confusion for the Dolphins. When instead of playing Martin or Newtown in the second round, BC found out last Friday night that they had to play Far Rockaway for the fourth time this year on a Saturday. Beach Channel won that game 62-56.
The citywide PSAL basketball championships is the next set of playoffs that await the Beach Channel Men’s and Women’s team and Far Rockaway’s Men’s team. The seedings will be held by the PSAL on February 7 and the playoffs will start on February 11.