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April 23, 2008

Manhattan/Bronx takes care of Brooklyn

In a back-and-forth semifinal of the Wheelchair Charities Basketball Classic on Tuesday, the boy's team from Manhattan/Bronx managed to outscore the Brooklyn team by 19 points in the second half to pull out a 116-103 victory.

Behind Rice guard and Connecticut commit Kemba Walker, the Manhattan/Bronx team rebounded after blowing an early lead, and advanced to the charity tournament's final against Westchester on Thursday.

Walker had help, however, from his Rice teammates throughout, and back-to-back threes by Raider guards Chris Fouch and Jeff Harris gave Manhattan/Bronx a 17-12 lead with 4:17 left in the first quarter.

Another three, by Wadleigh forward William Harrison, put Manhattan/Bronx up 22-15, but Brooklyn finished the first with a 9-4 stretch that cut the Manhattan/Bronx lead to two.

Down 37-33, Brooklyn went on a 6-0 run to surge ahead, but Omari Lawrence quickly answered for the Manhattan/Bronx team with a driving lay-up. The teams traded leads a few more times, but a long three by Lincoln phenom Lance Stephenson gave Brooklyn a 55-49 lead with a minute to go in the first half.

Right before the break, with his team down 57-51, Walker shook Stephenson on a crossover, bringing the fans and his teammates to their feet. The lightning-quick point guard, however, couldn't connect on a subsequent jumper at the buzzer.

Brooklyn held a 70-63 lead with 6:00 remaining in the third after a dunk by Boys & Girls' Rutgers commit Patrick Jackson, but back-to-back threes by Dorvell Carter and Harris sparked a game-changing 21-9 Manhattan/Bronx run to end the quarter. Walker punctuated the stretch by converting a three-point play with four-tenths of a second left in the period.

Fouch popped a three early in the fourth to stretch the lead to nine, and a put back by Eagle Academy forward Tyquan Brown pushed the score to 92-82 with 7:16 to go.

Brooklyn got within six at 96-90 with 4:42 left, but a Harrison three at the 3:12 mark gave Manhattan/Bronx a 104-93 lead. Brooklyn got no closer than seven down from then on.

Walker led the way for Manhattan/Bronx with 20 points, while Stephenson paced Brooklyn with 20 of his own. Jackson added 17 for Brooklyn.


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