Ian Parker was trying to send a message. And all it took him was about nine seconds.
Off the opening tip, the Riverside senior scooped up a loose ball and turned it into a thunderous two-handed slam dunk the reverberated around the city.
Parker’s dunk set an early tone as the Rams rolled by previously-unbeaten Palisade Prep on Wednesday afternoon at Saunders. The 6-foot-3 senior had 23 points — including four jaw-dropping dunks — in an 82-50 win in the Yonkers City tournament semifinals.
“We wanted to give them the loss,” Parker said. “We wanted to ruin their record.”
The tournament matchup turned out to be a one-team exhibition as Riverside roared out of the gates and put Palisade Prep (9-1) away before halftime.
Riverside opened up a double-digit lead in the second quarter, keyed by a gorgeous alley-oop slam by Parker that brought a filled Saunders gym to its feet.
“We ran the play last game and it was on TV, so we had to change it up this time,” Mason said.
Said Parker: “We can’t say what it was. We can’t give away our secrets.”
The Rams took a 40-19 lead in the half and opened the third with a 9-0 run.
David Morris had 17 points and Mason had 17 points and six assists.
“Every game we’ve lost so far we felt like we could have won,” Mason said. “We’ve gotten our chemistry together. We’ve worked hard and worked together as a team."
Riverside will face Gorton in the Yonkers City tournament championship on Saturday night at 5 p.m. back at Saunders.
Admittedly, the Rams hoped to face Saunders, the team they lost to in last year’s city championship. But Gorton knocked off the Blue Devils in the other semifinal."
Riverside beat Gorton 75-56 on Jan. 3.
“We came in second last year and were heartbroken,” Mason said. “We were determined to come back this year and win it. That’s all we are thinking about.”
Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MSGVarsityKDJ