2007-03-02 / Sports

Grady Bounces Beach Channel From Playoffs

By Elio Velez

By Elio Velez

Devon Saxon slams home the basket for Beach Channel. Photo By Peter BorrielloDevon Saxon slams home the basket for Beach Channel. Photo By Peter Borriello Beach Channel came out like a lion in the first five minutes of their playoff game at home against Grady. Storming out to an 11-2 lead in the first quarter, the Dolphins were rolling. But the next 27 minutes of their PSAL first round home game was a different story.

Grady began to assert control and the visitors from Coney Island forced Beach Channel to go out like a lamb. The Dolphins post-season ended as Grady won 50-36 as they advance to play second seed Boys and Girls in the next round.

Beach Channel battled through injuries and academic losses which erased their starting backcourt and almost their leading scorer Devon Saxon. Throughout all the events surrounding the Dolphins, they kept battling back and finished 12-6 in their first campaign in the Queens 'AA' Division.

But intensity couldn't replace being effective. And their weaknesses in committing 26 turnovers and large scoring droughts were factors that gave Grady a chance to make a comeback said Dolphins coach Jim Malone.

"We threw the ball away three or four times. We missed layups. We didn't have one guard who could handle the ball. We had guys missing shots," Malone said. "I'm proud of the effort my guys did this year but we did this on smoke and mirrors. We made some terrible mistakes."

Grady struggled with a 5-9 record in the Brooklyn 'AA" but they made the key plays. Their 10-0 run to start the third quarter, which extended their lead to 32-22, was helped by play of forward Curtis Leslie, who scored 17 points and 12 points from guard Tyief Thompson. Grady's Peyton Mullings, who transferred from Far Rockaway High School and commutes to his new school, said his team found a way to restore their confidence.

"The difference today is that we just played basketball. We struggled early but we knew they had problems shooting. And we knew we could come in here and get it done."

Rolando Beckford (13 points), one of five seniors on Beach Channel who graduated, cut the lead to 32-26 with 2 minutes left. But they couldn't find the elixir for their scoring woes as Grady controlled the fourth quarter stretching the margin to a huge lead. That bothered Devon Saxon, who said his team lost their patience and could not keep their hands on the ball.

"We couldn't calm down. We were rushing too much," Saxon, who finished his four year varsity career leading the team with 20 points per game and in rebounding this season. Saxon received praise from Malone for his hard work and commitment to the team but wishes their season could have been extended one more game.

"The reason why we lost the game was turnovers. We rushed the ball. It wasn't the pressure from them (Grady). If we had kept doing our plays, it would have worked."

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