Dolphins March To PSAL Quarterfinals
Beach Channel basketball player Frank McArthur has his own version of what March Madness is. The term is of course associated with the NCAA Tournament which will consume college basketball fans and office pools for weeks to come.
But with a minute left in a tight PSAL playoff contest inside the confines of DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, McArthur made the big basket that NCAA terms do in crunch time.
With a narrow one point lead for the Dolphins, McArthur got the ball in the corner and for a second, he hesitated on what to do. But in what seemed a fraction of a second, indecisiveness turned into confidence as he nailed a three pointer to give the Dolphins a four point lead.
That basket gave them a four point edge and Beach Channel held on to a 56-51 victory last Thursday to propel them into the quarterfinals today at 7 p.m. against Canarsie at Lehman College. Senior forward Dwayne Messam led the Dolphins with 22 points but their team defense was integral in holding a high scoring Clinton team, who averaged 75 points per game, to a season low of 51.
The Dolphins held off two late last minute scoring opportunities by Clinton as forward Michael Davis missed on an 18 foot jumper, and Messam stole an inbounds pass with 6.5 seconds left and after being fouled, clinched the win with two free throws.
The Dolphins, who came into the playoff the #46 seed out of 51 teams, have reached the Sweet 16 with a workmanlike attitude and aggression on both ends of the floor that has surely impressed head coach Jim Malone.
"They are just playing such good basketball. They are just wearing those uniforms with pride and confidence," a smiling Malone said. "This is unbelievable.... This team does all the hard work all the cuts and all the defensive stops that we have asked them to do."
No one could erase the smile from McArthur (11 points), who may be a senior but has never stepped on a high
school court until this season.
After getting off to a good start offensively by averaging 15 points in his first four games, a slump in midseason caused a loss of confidence. But the playoffs have been the best forum to rediscover his early season form.
"They (Clinton) grabbed and we had to get down, get gritty and get tough or you go home."
But the team they face tonight, a Canarsie, who is 22-3 is another high ranked opponent who is highly regarded. 6 foot 5 forward Nathaniel Lester is a smooth shooter averaging 24 points per game and is part of a veteran team who is ranked #3 in the playoffs.
But McArthur wants to continue sailing on the magic carpet ride all the way to Madison Square Garden on March 19. "This is it. I'm trying to go to the Garden. Like people want to go to Disneyland, I'm trying to go to the Garden."