DeWitt After a thrilling victory over rival Christian Brothers Academy in the opening round of the Bottar-Leone Holiday Classic, the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team was riding high.
Monday night's championship game against the Nazareth (Brooklyn) Kingsmen figured to be another chance for the Red Rams to get a strong statement win - but instead, the Kingsmen prevailed by a score of 65-53.
The contest began slowly, with neither team getting the lid off the basket in the first quarter until J-D’s Evan Dourdas stole the ball and hit an uncontested layup with 4:08 left on the clock.
At the end of the quarter, J-D was up 7-3. The Rams’ defense was stifling, and the Kingsmen looked to have no offensive weapons to match J-D’s scoring tandem of Jafar Kinsey and Dom DeRegis.
Enter Samson Usilo. The Manhattan College-bound senior managed to score 25 points in those last three quarters as Nazareth rebounded to hand J-D its first loss of the season.
Usilo, who came off the bench, did it all for the Kingsmen. His second-quarter performance alone would make any player salivate with envy.
In order, Usilo hit a 3-pointer from the corner, had a nifty reverse layup, sliced through the lane and completed the subsequent three point play, and gently put down a reverse jam that was just a small sample of the athleticism he would later display.This second- quarter explosion powered the Kingsmen to a 27-23 halftime lead.
After the break, another Usilo-filled quarter commenced. The Rams fought valiantly, but only DeRegis and Kinsey would score in this period, and their 13 combined points couldn’t cut into the growing Nazareth lead.
Entering the final quarter, J-D was faced with a 45-36 deficit, and its remaining confidence proved short-lived, as Usilo threw down an emphatic alley-oop slam on his team’s first possession.