2010-02-26 / Sports

Confident Seahorses Shine To Beat Columbus

By Elio Velez

Far Rockaway guard Antoine White makes a leaping pass. Photo by William Thomas. Far Rockaway guard Antoine White makes a leaping pass. Photo by William Thomas. Far Rockaway boys basketball coach Mark Bacchus had a lot to discuss with his team as they left their home court at halftime on Tuesday.

Columbus’ passing and patient offense was the highlights of a strong second quarter for the visitors as they led 30-22 at the end of the second quarter. Bacchus knew the other team had played well in the first round of the PSAL A tournament. What Bacchus wasn’t going to do was drastically change the Seahorses’ strategy.

“I was telling my guys that’s its too early to pressure,” Bacchus described of the team asking their coach to install a full court defensive press to upset Columbus’ rhythm.

Bacchus was confident the team’s fortunes were about to make a 180 degree turn. Because the PSAL A Division does not employ a shot clock, Far Rockaway had already faced teams such as Francis Lewis who hold the ball for 30 to 45 seconds before trying to score.

But the deficit wasn’t too great for the Seahorses to make a first round comeback.

“Once we get the lead, they [Columbus] can’t do that anymore,” said Bacchus.

The Seahorses sliced the lead in the third quarter and poured it on the fourth quarter with seniors Antoine White and Idryis Faison leading the charge. White scored 13 of his 24 points in the final quarter and Faison supplied two fierce dunks to energize the home crowd as the 28th ranked Seahorses went on to celebrate a 56-42 victory over 37th seed Columbus.

Far Rockaway advanced to the second round at presstime to play at fifth seed Grand Street Campus.

The second half was more indicative of the better performances Far Rockaway has shown this year. The Seahorses switched to a 1-3-1 defensive zone that frustrated Columbus as they could not make their deliberate offense worked. Far Rockaway showed the patience needed to cut the lead to 32-30 entering the fourth quarter and regained the momentum.

“In the beginning, we were anxious,” Faison said. “After a while we got used to how they play.”

White hit a three-pointer to begin the fourth quarter as the Seahorses regained a one point lead. The senior point guard admitted nervousness was an issue for his team but they responded by being aggressive to the baskets and forcing the issue.

“We had to bring up that intensity and play hard,” White said. “I knew I had to do that and don’t be impatient.”

The Seahorses have won five in a row which included the wins they gained at the end of the regular season. Bacchus thinks the Seahorses are peaking at the right time and their confidence is not too sky high to discard their chances to defeat Grand Street, a team who tied Westinghouse in a very competitive Brooklyn A West Division at 12-2.

“The pressure is on Grand Street,” Bacchus said. “They [Far Rockaway] believe if we play our game, no one can beat us. I believe it too. “

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