JFK motivated to easy win

John F. Kennedy center Shea Spence scored 12 points and blocked nine shots in the Knights’ 68-53 win over Wadleigh. Photo by Damion Reid/Five Boro Sports

John F. Kennedy wasn’t going to let another game get away. After close losses this week to All Hallows and Wings Academy, the Knights came out of the gate firing, sprinting to a 24-point halftime lead and coasted to an 68-52 victory over Manhattan AA power Wadleigh on Thursday night, improving to 9-2 overall and 7-1 in PSAL Bronx AA.

Naquan Pierce led four scorers in double figures with 14 points. Jeffrey Arzu added 13 points, Shane Spence had 12 and nine blocks and Jeffrey Short chipped in 12.

“They were motivated after the loss to Wings,” Kennedy coach Johnny Mathis said. “They realized they had an opportunity to win the ball game over there. It played a role in today’s game.”

Mathis was encouraged by his team’s defense, which limited Wadleigh to 10 points in two separate quarters. It was uncharacteristically soft against Wings, yielding 10 3-pointers and 46 points in the first half. The Tigers, meanwhile, made just four treys and their starting guards – Shakil Jordan and Obafemi Alese – combined for just seven points.

“Defensively, we were very good early,” Mathis said. “They played hard and they played good defense. I think they learned something (from the two losses) – they can lose.”

Wadleigh (7-3, 5-2 Manhattan AA) is starting to understand that more and more. The Tigers were upended last Friday by Gompers and have now lost another league game, this time to JFK in a crossover match-up. Now, Wadleigh is tied with Thurgood Marshall Academy (3-2 Manhattan AA) in the loss column.

Coach Mike Crump was extremely unhappy with his team’s effort against the Bronx power. He felt once they fell behind, his players gave up, something he is unfortunately getting used to. Only forwards Karim Rowson (game-high 24 points) and Tyrie Orosco (13 points, 17 rebounds)showed up, Crump said.

“It could be a long season and short playoffs,” he said. “We got five or six guys who look good, wear expensive cologne and lotion and nice clothes, but they won’t get their hands dirty. I doubt we’ll get out of Manhattan to be honest.”

“These guys just won’t fight,” he added. “If there’s a team that won’t back down, these guys quit.”

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