Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fab Forwards Shine At Big Apple Classic, Tavon Has Final 'Sledge' Hammer

All day word hung around mid-town about the eyeball-to-eyeball matchup featuring Bishop Loughlin’s JayVaughn Pinkston and Half Hollow Hills’ Tobias Harris, two of the nation’s elite. It was a heavily-billed blood-feud, with high expectations, hype and hearsay about the two stallions rapidly becoming the talk of the town.

These cats skyrocketed to the national visibility mountaintop following a summer on the AAU circuit. Their games, Divisi0n-I stock, and rankings took off. The summer would culminate however, with Harris’ Elite 24 game invite and Pinkston’s Elite 24 game “snub.”

The two got after it with mano y mano moves and clear-outs that had the gym buzzing.

They exchanged elbows in the first quarter. The pace was ratcheted up a notch…The decibel levels hiked up a few notches when Tobias used his handle and outside range (both of which make the 6-foot-9 forward a unique threat) against Pinkston, who countered with his unmatched physicality and interior beasting.

What was at stake, beyond a marquee mid-season matchup? Early ownership of the title, King of New York.

This was Frank White v.s. Artie Clay, Nino Brown vs. The Italians. Jay-Z v.s. Nas in 2002.

One of the two New York State Player of the Year candidates would exit a jam-packed, standing-room only Baruch College with an L.

Pinkston turned in a beast-among-boys performance. The 6-foot-6 widebody erupted for a game-high 34 points and buried an eye-popping, buzzer-beating trey to send the game into overtime. But it was Harris’ team which emerged as the Big Apple Basketball Classic victor, registering a 75-72 OT dubya.

The individual battle was captured by Pinkston, who additionally tore down 16 boards and got Harris to foul out during the game’s most crucial juncture. Harris, who couldn’t finish on Pinkston or lose him off the dribble in the first half, scored 19 points.

Harris nailed a titanic three-pointer in Pinskton’s grill to supply Half Hollow Hills with their largest lead of the game, but would come clawing back. Loughlin sliced away at the deficit as Pinkston poured in nine points, highlighted by his buzzer-beating trifecta, in the final 2:30 of regulation.

With much of the attention shifting to the game’s most compelling subplot, it was blink-quick 5-foot-9 guard Tavon Sledge who stole some of the spotlight.

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