Bodie, East Side ride torrid first half to victory
Aaron Bodie got Newark East Side off to a quick start Monday afternoon by pacing the offense with strong interior moves and some overpowering putbacks.
A little later in the game, the 6-6 senior decided to reward the strong moves of others and also take away the need for putbacks with some crisp passing.
All part of being the veteran leader of a young team that sometimes needs to be shown the way before figuring it out for themselves.
Bodie scored 12 of his 18 points and hauled in six of his 12 rebounds in the first half and handed out three of his four assists in the second to guide East Side to a 53-35 win over Paterson Kennedy at the Freedom Fighters Hoop Challenge at Paterson Eastside.
"I had to get my teammates more active in the game. I can't do everything," Bodie said. "They need to be able to pick us up, too, so I have to get them the ball. That's the only way we’re going to keep getting better."
East Side (7-4) is certainly moving in the right direction, winning for the fifth time in the last six games and showing the kind of scoring balance that will ultimately make it difficult for opponents to focus entirely upon Bodie and fellow senior starter Jamal Reid.
Reserve sophomore forward Abdul Lewis tossed in 10 points, sophomore forward Ishmael Sanogo scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Reid finished with eight points, six rebounds and six assists. Paterson Kennedy (6-4), which is also a young club, got 20 points from senior guard Sammy Singletary.
East Side finished last season at 18-9 and with grand expectations for 2011-12, but veterans Tariq Carey (St. Anthony) and Kasim Chandler (Imani Christian of Pa.) transferred out last summer. That left Bodie and Reid as the Red Raiders' only returning regulars.
That lack of varsity experience was glaring in the first two weeks of the season as East Side lost two games by one point each and another by five.
"It was very frustrating," Bodie said. "I was used to two other people having the balll in their hands, last year--Tariq and Koz-- so it’s a big change. We still have a younger team, so they still have to get used to playing at varsity speed."
The 6-6 Sanogo was ready for the pace against Kennedy by taking command of the offensive glass to drop in seven first-quarter points. Bodie added six to help forge a 15-6 lead, and followed that with six in the next period (along with sophomore Jamar Gilbert with a pair of 3-pointers) as the Red Raiders' lead grew to 31-14.
"It's been very challenging, but every win is nice," Bodie said. He entered the game averaging 12.1 points, 14 in the previous three games. "The point guards are getting more familiar with each other and they're learning how to play with each other, and so are the bigs. The team chemistry is definitely getting there."
Mike Kinney covers boys basketball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKinneyHS