Eric Paschall’s days of being unheralded ended last season and if his explosive performance at Saturday’s Metro Classic is any indication, the junior is ready to surpass expectations yet again.
The 6-foot-5 Dobbs Ferry forward dominated, posting 31 points to lead the Burbs to a 111-106 victory over the Boros at Archbishop Molloy.
A year removed from a breakout season that saw him earn all-section and Class B MVP honors while averaging 17.5 points, 9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks, Paschall came out to prove that last season was no fluke.
“This is the first time I’ve seen him play,” said Burbs head coach Bob Hodgeson. “I’ve heard of him but I’ve never seen him in person. He’s really polished and he can post up a bit. He’s also very athletic and he can shoot the three and off the dribble. He’s really hard to guard because he does so many things well. There aren’t many guys like that. He’s outstanding and he’s only a junior. He deserved MVP.”
Paschall and Deer Park senior Keith Williams lit things up early for the Burbs. The two helped push the fast breaks that often saw them pull up for three-pointers or slam home emphatic dunks. The Burbs ended the first quarter with a 35-19 advantage.
Williams scored 20 of his 24 points in the first two quarters, serving as the early catalyst for the Burbs.
With all the talent on their roster, it was only a matter of time before the Boros went on a run. After being outscored by 16 points in the first quarter, the Boros answered back with a 15-point second quarter advantage to pull within a point by halftime. Much of that comeback had to do with the play of Lincoln guard Isaiah Whitehead.
The highly-recruited junior was everything he was expected to be, controlling the ball for large stretches of the game. The Coney Island prodigy had 22 points, seven rebounds, and eight steals.
For as good as Paschall was in the first half, he was even better in the second as he poured in 19 points after the break.
“He had a great performance,” Boros coach Ruth Lovelace said. “He really mixed it up. He played very unselfish. When guys doubled on him, he gave it up. He knocked down threes. He had the ball on a string. He couldn’t do anything wrong today. He showed the total package.”
The Boros turned the tables on Burbs in the third quarter as they came out of halftime with a burst of energy. Both teams exchanged the lead until the Boros began to create some room at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
A five-point flurry by Thomas Jefferson senior point guard Jaquan Lynch gave the Boros a 93-80 advantage, their biggest of the game with 10 minutes to go in the final frame. Lynch finished with 17 points and three rebounds.
“We were up by more than 10 points and I went to the bench,” Lovelace said, “It’s an all-star game. In a normal game, I probably wouldn’t have gone to the bench, but I was just trying to get guys minutes.”
The Burbs made some adjustments while the Boros rotated players and they paid off down the stretch.
“We changed from a half court to a full court defense and that really help shake it up for us,” Hodgson said. “We were able to rest some of our guys that had been playing a lot and get some of the new guys in there that were hungry. Ithink our pressure really helped. They threw the ball away a couple of times and we were able to get some rebounds and our guys at the end really closed it out nicely.”
Our Savior sophomore Kassoum Yaikwe had a huge defensive presence with five blocks to go with eight points. His most crucial play came with 12 seconds to go when he blocked Cardinal Hayes' Shavon Newkirk on a critical layup.
Boys & Girls senior guard Wesley Myers added 21 points and four steals.
While still in the midst of the recruiting process, Paschall has already elicited interest from Miami, Providence, Iona, San Francisco, Fordham, and George Mason.
After the game, Lovelace was convinced that if Paschall played in the city, his recruitment would go through the roof. She noted that the televised tournament would do wonders for his exposure.
“He would be a big-time player in the city because he can do it all. After people see this televised game, they’ll realize that he’s more than a small-time player.”