2009-02-27 / Sports

Gompers Eliminates Slip-Sliding Dolphins From Playoffs

Too Many Turnovers Knockout Beach Channel From Playoffs
By Elio Velez

The lone movement Jim Malone seemed to make while the Beach Channel head coach sat on the sideline was the shaking of his head in disapproval.

Malone watched from his seat at a loud and boisterous Samuel Gompers High School on Wednesday afternoon as the basketball kept slipping away or being ripped from his team's hands. The sloppy second half in the first round of the PSAL AA playoffs would unfortunately turn out to be the end of the Beach Channel season.

Samuel Gompers pulled away from the visitors in the fourth quarter with a 15-0 run to run away with a 62-43 victory in the Bronx. Number 13 seed Gompers advances to take on #4 Boys and Girls today. Beach Channel ends their season at 8-12.

The third quarter told the story, which unfortunately for the Dolphins ended not the way Malone wanted to script it. Beach Channel was not holding on to the basketball as their 17 second half turnovers gave Gompers many chances to convert on many fast break opportunities.

What was a five-point deficit for the Dolphins at the beginning of the fourth quarter, ballooned to a 50-34 Gompers lead with 4:55 left in the game.

"If we could play a real good halfcourt game, we can play with a lot of teams," Malone said. "Once that happens, then it's turnovers. We hadn't had a game like that all season."

It wasn't as if Beach Channel was behind the entire game. The final margin won't explain that the visitors were in striking distance, despite their major turnover disparity, until the fourth quarter began. Down 32-23 in the middle of the third quarter, Beach Channel went on a 12-3 run, with Christopher Thompson (15 points) and Yaquis Moss (13) combining to help narrow the Gompers lead to one point.

The downfall for Beach Channel was their inability to handle the ball. It proved be to a factor. Gompers used their talented backcourt to pressure inexperienced Dolphins junior point guard Khalil Bratton and the other Dolphins. Point guard Tevin Bracey, who scored 16 points, and senior David Love (13 points) harassed Bratton as he could not dribble the ball past upcourt.

Gompers' stringent defense forced Beach Channel turnovers on their first four possessions in the fourth quarter. By the time Moss scored on a layup, the Panthers, who defeated the Dolphins back in 2003 in the second round of the playoffs, had won again over Beach Channel.

As he thanked his teammates outside of Gompers High School, Moss ended his three-year high school basketball career on what he says is a down note.

"I didn't expect it to end this way. I thought [facing Boys and Girls] that was what my whole team was looking for," Moss said. "Chris, Travis [Scott], Khalil, Andrew [Grant], Kevin [Marmolejos], Mark [Hudson]. Everybody was looking forward to play Boys and Girls. That's where I wanted to be." The shooting guard was part of a team that got close to achieving many victories this season, but instead lost nine games by less than 5 points. It was indeed just one last game amongst a frustrating season overall.

"They matched up with us but they weren't better than us. They caught us slipping at the wrong time. We got rattled."

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