Jeffrey Short was on fire and it seemed like everything he was tossing up was falling. The John F. Kennedy senior’s off-balance 3-pointer, with two defenders draped all over him, hit nothing but net at the third-quarter buzzer to get the Knights within three points of rival Wings Academy.
It was at that point that all the momentum seemed to have swung toward Kennedy, that the home team was going to leave with a come-from-behind victory. That wasn’t disputed by Wings coach Billy Turnage.
“In the beginning of the year,” he said, “this is a game we would have lost.”
Not any longer.
Wings started the fourth quarter on an 11-0 run, held Short to just two more points and held on for a big, 68-61 win against Kennedy on Tuesday in PSAL Bronx AA boys basketball. It was the Wings’ fourth win in a row and second solid victory in three days after they beat Staten Island power Curtis at the Aviator Winter Clash on Sunday.
“We’ve just started playing together and not just going for ourselves,” senior guard Jordan Aaron said.
This victory comes with an asterisk, though. Kennedy star point guard Naquan Pierce, as well as fellow regular Muhammed Ahmed, were ruled academically ineligible earlier Tuesday. Turnage didn’t think his team should have as hard a time with Kennedy (9-2, 7-1 Bronx AA) as it did. The Knights got within 65-61 on a Kyle McQueen putback with 1:57 left, sending the partisan crowd into a frenzy.
“It shouldn’t have been that close of a game – especially without Naquan,” Turnage said.
Short was marvelous in the third quarter, where he scored 15 of his 25 points. He drew Kennedy within 46-44 of Wings (9-3, 6-2) on a 3-pointer with 2:51 left in the frame. Aaron (game-high 20 points) responded to score six of the game’s next eight points before Short’s wild 3. Wings clamped down on the Knights’ sharpshooter in the fourth with a box-and-1 that featured Aaron trying to deny Short the ball.
“That was the game plan the whole game,” Turnage said. “We gave him too many touches. He’s a good player. He’s going to make you pay.”
Wings’ balanced scoring attack oddly didn’t feature much from senior forward Krystian Foriest, the team’s lone returning starter. After Aaron, Jabriel Blue had 15 points, Del Lewis had 10 points and Deonte Houston and Amdy Fall each added nine.
“If he didn’t play well in the beginning [of the season], we wouldn’t have won,” Turnage said of Foriest. “That is a testament to them.”
The coach said his team still has a ways to go. Turnage has become a big proponent of film study and said that his team needs to get back to practice and the video room after a holiday break that didn’t allow the Wings to do much of those things.
“We have three days off now to fix everything that went wrong,” Turnage said.
Enough went right, though, to give Wings early Bronx bragging rights.
©2010 Community News Group