Friday, February 26, 2010

Fast Times At The Barn That Ben Built

The Westchester County Center is where down-to-the-wire battles are in, and blowouts are out.

My bad to all you Jersey Shore folks reading this, I know how much y'all like to see "blowouts" employed in every way manageable.

The White Plains Counter Center, known better as "The Barn That Ben Built"--an obvious reference to famed Detroit Piston guard Ben Gordon, the former Mount Vernon boy wonder--is where No.5 seeds suddenly play like 50-point favorites hellbent on capturing the gold ball.

Recall the pulse-pumping events that occurred in 2003.

A ziplock-tight and evenly-matched Class C was the best it's EVER been and perhaps the best it will be until the end of time. There were upsets abound and those upsets didn't halt when the teams danced at the Barn That Ben Built.

A No.1-ranked Hastings team, which was undefeated entering the Barn and maintaining their top-ranked team in the state status, watched as No.5 Tuckahoe scored the game's first 10 points and cooked them to the recipe of 59-44 sectional semi-final shocker. Hastings defeated Tuckahoe twice during the regular season, handling them by 18 the first time, but were murked more by the charity stripes (putrid free throw shooting slashed and burned their chances) than chainsaws that game.

So it was a familiar site yesterday, as a top-ranked, heavily-hyped Woodlands
team found themselves staring at an early 20-0 deficit.

I gas you not.

The Falcons came out sloppy and jittery, selling the store to a team that on paper, was significantly inferior. This wasn't Irvington with the buckets-bagging tandem of Nick Nedwick and Brittain Purcelle, two scoring cyborgs who eclipsed the 1,000-point benchmark during their heyday at Irvington.

No.4 Irvington's surprising, 20-0 surge to start the game could have compounded Woodlands' pipe-busting pressure.

Not so fast. The recipe for mammoth upset was not to be written.

After falling behind, 25-6, in the first quarter, the Falcons reeled off a 16-0 run of their own in the second. Their ability to instigate a torrent of turnovers and finish at the tin helped them halt the upset-bid, as they posted a 57-51 win in the Section I/Class B semi-final.

DaVonne Henry, a highly-touted transfer who originally hails from the hoops hotbed of Harlem, hung a game-high 18 points.

The hyper-athletic Henry went end-to-end on blasts to the tin.

Henry put his stamp on the game with a violent two-handed banger that finally provided the Falcons some breathing room after Irvington's upset-bid faded.