2003-03-08 / Sports

Gompers Size, Steals Oust Beach Channel

By Elio Velez

Beach Channel was clawing and scratching to get back into the ballgame. On the losing end for most of the game, the Dolphins had cut it to a 3 point Gompers lead with 40 seconds left in the ballgame. But it wasn’t the big frontcourt of the Panthers that made the crucial stop.

It was from 6’1 point guard Cleon Wiley, as his steal from Dolphins guard Victor Alvarez with 30 seconds left was the turning point of the ballgame and sealed a 58-51 win for the Panthers at Elmcor Center in Cor ona, Queens. Edgar Acevedo led the Panthers with 17 points.

"If he (Alvarez) was bumped or not, he did get stripped of the ball," remarked Beach Channel coach Jim Malone. The Dolphins finished the season at an overall record of 22-3.

Up 53-45 with 2:18 left, Gompers started to see their lead crumble with turnovers and the talent of Clark, who scored 6 points in a minute and half to cut it down to 53-51. Wiley’s steal of Alvarez and his second steal of an inside pass to Clark led to two free throws with 19 seconds left.

"I just anticipated the pass. I watched the ball and I saw it coming," said Wiley.

Beach Channel star center Rhashon Clark scored a game high 24 points but was bumped and pushed around the paint by the Panthers front line. Gompers’ 6’6 Ahmad McClure, 6’4 Stedfor McLeod and 6’4 Darren Bailey made the 6’5 Clark work for his points. "We knew when the ball was going to be rotated back to him (Clark)," said Gompers’ Stedfor McLedod.

The Gompers matchup was one of the few times this year that Beach Channel had played a tall and physical team. "I thought we boxed out on a lot of occasions but there’s not one of them, there’s three of them," Malone said. "They wore us down."

The Dolphins were not helped by the foul trouble of second leading scorer Arthur Robertson. Robertson picked up his third foul in the second quarter and fouled out with on a phantom holding call a minute into the 4th quarter. The last foul that Robertson committed came that shocked not only Malone but the crowd as well.

Turnover did not help as the Dolphins committed key giveaways in the fourth quarter. "We were running around the court like we didn’t know we were doing," said Rhashon Clark.

Clark finished his senior season by averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds per game. Clark will most likely attend prep school in the fall. Gompers lost their third round game to Cardozo, 51-45, last Sunday.

For the #4 seed Beach Channel, the season ends with another second round elimination. But unlike last year’s blowout loss to Canarsie, this close defeat was a bitter end to a good season.

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