Curtis gets 'big' win over St. Peter's
To say that Curtis’ 59-49 win against St. Peter’s in front of a packed house at the College of Staten Island Wednesday night is just one win is like saying Thanksgiving is just another meal.
The annual Thanksgiving Eve clash between the archrivals means so much more.
“This game determines what we’re going to do with the rest of our season,” Curtis senior Debonair Edwards said. “This game is very important.”
Added senior guard Dontay Jackson: “It feels great to get this win. We’ve been working for this game since last November.”
More than just neighborhood bragging rights, the season opener for both teams has added importance because it’s the only SIHSL game between the North Shore squads. A year ago, Curtis was upset by St. Peter’s in a low-scoring slugfest and the Warriors eventually earned a No. 3 seed for the SIHSL tournament.
“The point with this game other than the emotions and the rivalry is that often times it has a lot to do with the seedings in the Staten Island boro championship,” Curtis coach Rich Buckheit said. “I think the last couple of years this decided where we were at the end. Hopefully that will be the case this year.”
After a predictably sloppy first half, Curtis successfully pushed the ball inside to 6-foot-6 Edwards and 6-foot-6 lefty Hassan Martin (12 points) in the third quarter.
The result was a 9-0 run as Curtis extended a 22-19 halftime lead to 31-21 on a bucket in the paint by Martin, who helped lead the Warriors to a JV title a year ago.
“You can’t take your eyes off of him, you’re waiting for what he’s going to do next,” Buckheit said of Martin, who was also a shot-blocking threat. “He started off slow, but what we always tell our kids is if you get going defensively, which he did, the offense will just take care of itself.”
The Warriors ability to exploit their mismatch inside allowed perimeter players, like Jackson (game-high 15 points) and Jermaine Anthony Huff, open looks from beyond the arc.
“At halftime coach said we have to get it inside to the big men and that’s when everything started opening up for us,” Jackson said. “We started getting wide open threes, easy layups and dunks.”
Curtis, which used a 16-2 run capped by Martin’s explosive dunk to take a lead it would never relinquish, extended its advantage to 49-30 midway through the fourth quarter. While the raucous Curtis student section chanted, “It’s a blowout,” the Warriors struggled to close out the victory.
Led by Andrew Cannon, who had a team-high 11 points, St. Peter’s crept back in and pulled within seven on Cannon’s 3-pointer with 1:06 left in the fourth quarter.
However, Martin, who Buckheit lauded for his hustle, came right back down the court and threw down another big dunk to put an explanation point on an emotional victory.
“We talk about starting the offense through the post,” Buckheit said. “Although we lost the lead there at the end and stopped executing a little bit, I still saw a lot of positives and some leadership by our seniors. They got the ball where we wanted the ball to be to start an offense when we needed to take the ball over.”
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