Rockaway Players Featured In King Tournament
The Monsignor King High School Tournament at St. Thomas Aquinas in Brooklyn from December 27-30 was a smorgasbord of excellent competition from the public, parochial and private leagues. The tournament has been a success for 42 years and players from the Rockaways were represented with the Beach Channel and St. Edmund squads.
The tournament was not kind to Beach Channel (6-7 overall, 5-3 PSAL Queens 1-B) as they lost the first two games of the tournament. St. Francis Prep destroyed the Dolphins in the first round of the tournament 72-50. Up 10-8 after the first quarter, St. Francis Prep blew the Dolphins out of the water with a 26-4 run in the second quarter to run away with the game.
Though their second consolation game was closer against Sheepshead Bay, the Dolphins still fell short with a 65-53 loss. But it did seem that in the third game against New Utrecht, the Dolphins listened to head coach Jim Malone about cutting down their numerous turnovers as they won 53-50 win over New Utrecht. Arthur Robertson led the Dolphins with 23
"It was just turnovers, we messed ourselves up. We need cooperation to make things work", Beach Channel’s Dwayne Messam said after the game.
Malone may seem to be pulling his hair out at times with a young team that includes three freshman and two sophomores. But at the end of the tournament, he did see an improvement that will hopefully carry on to their PSAL Queens schedule with Springfield Gardens the next opponent on January 6. "It’s a tough because of our inexperience but we’re slowly getting there".
St. Edmund featured two key players from the Rockaways as they finished fourth in the tournament. Seniors Shane Gauvard and Billy Cook from Breezy Point’s led the Eagles in winning the Catholic High School "B" Varsity Intersectional Championship over Cardinal Hayes last season. The Eagles finished at 20-8 overall.
Gauvard, a 6’3 guard/forward is a great scorer who can drive to the basket as well as hit the 20-foot jumper. Gauvard is the leading scorer on this year’s team with a 25-point average. His backcourt mate Billy Cook is an all-around player who is tenacious on defense, scrambles for loose balls and contributes on the offense.
St. Edmund’s head coach Brian Mullen raved about Gauvard’s offensive achievements but also noted his defense. "He’s a good team defender in giving help and taking a lot of charges. He will be our go to guy this season no doubt about it".
"Billy can guard a guy who’s quick on the perimeter and other nights he’s guarding guys 6’3 and 6’4", Mullen says. "He can hit the open shots and does whatever we ask of him. A good player".
An undersized team, this season’s squad will emphasize an up-tempo game and Mullen is optimistic about the rest of the season. "We can do well. We can make a nice run in the league, get a decent spot in the playoffs and get an upset in the playoffs".
A True Holiday Classic
It was a classic ballgame with two teams fighting and clawing in the championship game of the King Tournament. A full house saw Bishop Loughlin’s Khalil Mc Donald hit a fadeaway three pointer with two seconds left to give the Lions a 103-100 double overtime victory over St. Francis Prep. McDonald’s three pointer was one of his five three pointers for the game and scored all of his 15 points on three point tries.
The game was played at a breakneck speed with both teams running down the court and featured numerous lead changes. Adekokune Olanrewajo led the Lions with 22 points. St. Francis Prep’s Andrew Cashin finished with a game high 37 points and leading tournament scorer Bryan Geffen had 35 points.
Shane Gauvard, along with Poly Prep’s Liam Biesty, St. Francis Prep’s Andrew Cashin and Bishop Loughlin’s Herbie Allen, Khalil McDonald and Adekokune Olanrewajo were named to the All-Tournament team.
The 7th Annual Monsignor King High School Girls Tournament starting on January 17 will feature schools such as Bishop Kearney and Stella Maris. The tournament takes place at St. Thomas Aquinas Gym which is located at Flatbush and Flatlands Avenues in Brooklyn.