2011-05-13 / Sports

Wizards Crowned Peninsula Basketball Champions


Photo: Top Row: Coach Chris Sawczyk, Ricky Jorge, Fernando Sibilio, Andy Laureano, Christian Petraccione, Raza Zahid, Isiaih Guadalupe, Giovanni Lewis and The Wizard (Alex Prince) and Coach Tim Blaine. Bottom Row: Ahsan Issa, Xavier Guadalupe, Dennis Cobic, Justin Pacheco, Anthony Palmieri, Andrea Castro (not pictured). Photo: Top Row: Coach Chris Sawczyk, Ricky Jorge, Fernando Sibilio, Andy Laureano, Christian Petraccione, Raza Zahid, Isiaih Guadalupe, Giovanni Lewis and The Wizard (Alex Prince) and Coach Tim Blaine. Bottom Row: Ahsan Issa, Xavier Guadalupe, Dennis Cobic, Justin Pacheco, Anthony Palmieri, Andrea Castro (not pictured). The PS 232 basketball team won the 2011 Peninsula Athletic League Basketball Championship at Scholars’ Academy on Friday, April 29. The PS 232 Wizards defeated the MS 105 Sharks 53-48 in overtime.

Joseph Lunati, organizer of the Peninsula Athletic League, called the game the “most exciting championship game in Peninsula Athletic League history.”

The game went back and forth in the first quarter, but PS 232 took a nine point lead with 35 seconds in the first half. It looked like the Wizards would enter the half with a comfortable lead, but MS 105 scored a basket with seven seconds left. Then the Wizards turned the ball over on the inbounds pass leading to a Sharks layup as time expired, reducing the Wizards’ lead to 24-19.

The Sharks quickly erased the Wizards’ five-point halftime lead two minutes into the third quarter. By the start of the fourth quarter, the Sharks lead had grown to nine.

The Wizards slowly worked their way back into the game. Andy Laureano made a lay-up and sank two free throws, Ricky Jorge hit a long jump shot and Christian Petraccione made several successful drives reducing MS 105’s lead to 46-43 with less than 30 seconds remaining.

With seven seconds left, Fernando Sibilio rebounded a MS 105 missed free throw and called timeout.

PS 232 coaches, Tim Blaine and Christopher Sawczyk, drew up a play to get the ball to their best shooter, Ricky Jorge. The Wizards attempted to run the play, but the officials stopped the game because the clock started running before the ball was inbounded. It took several minutes for the referees to fix the clock, so the coaches had more time to huddle with their teams.

MS 105 now employed a full court press that did not leave the first option open for PS 232, so Christian Petraccione improvised. He darted down the court and Andy Laureano hit him with a perfect touchdown pass. He caught the ball at the three point line, over the outstretched arms of the defender. He took two dribbles, stepped back making sure he was beyond the three point arc, and shot. Coach Blaine said the ball, “looked good all of the way.”

He was right. The three point basket tied the game at 46 with two seconds remaining. Rayquan Branford of MS 105 attempted a three quarter court shot at the buzzer that bounced off of the rim. The game was headed to overtime. MS 105 scored the first basket of overtime, but it would be the only points they would score. Andy Laureano would tie the game with a put back, Christian Petraccione hit two free throws, and with a minute left Ricky Jorge hit a three point shot putting the game out of reach.

PS 232 won the game 53-48. Ricky Jorge was the leading scorer for PS 232 with 17 points, Christian Petraccione had 16 and Andy Laureano had 11. MS 105 was led by Karaun Harper who had 22 points. It was the second straight overtime game for PS 232. They beat Kappa VI from Far Rockaway in double overtime in the semifinals. The win was PS 232’s first ever championship. They lost to MS 105 in the semifinals during the 2010 season.

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