Coming off their first victory of the season, Port Washington unfortunately ran into the first-place Baldwin Bruins and dropped their Conference AA-II game 64-29 at on Friday night. The Vikings’ conference record fell to 1-6 on the season and 1-11 overall. Tri-captains Josh Freshbach and K. C. Ozcayir led Port Washington in scoring with seven points each, but the story of the game was the Bruins’ dominance on the scoreboard.
Baldwin tri-captain Aaron Greene led the Bruins offensively with 13 points and fellow tri-captain Bandon Williams finished with 12 points. Neither played much in the fourth quarter with the game all but secured. Port Washington trailed 35-12 after the first half, but was able to double their offensive output to that point by scoring 12 in the third quarter. But Baldwin was persistent for the entire 32 minutes of play to keep the Vikings at bay.
“It’s obviously a disappointing result, but we were playing probably one of the best teams in the county, so we knew this game was going to be a lot more difficult,” said Port Washington Head Coach Sean Dooley after the game. “You hope you can execute, make your plays and make your baskets when you have opportunities. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for us tonight.”
Baldwin starting center Eyituoyo Ofuya left the game midway through the third quarter when he banged his head on the court after going for a loose ball. Following the game, Bruins head coach Darius Burton confirmed that Ofuya was fine and that he held him out for the remainder of play out of precaution and because the game was already at hand.
Prior to the start of the game, the Bruins were wowing the Port Washington crowd with a dunking drill. If anything, that illustrated the height advantage Baldwin had over the Vikings as they dressed 10 players at least six feet in height or taller. However, Coach Dooley did not want to use Baldwin’s pure size as an excuse.
“Size is an issue, but the bigger thing is that they can jump higher,” said Dooley. “Sometimes you can do everything right and still not get the results you were hoping for because of their jumping ability.”
Baldwin often dictated the pace and flow of the game, which Dooley also noted threw this club off their game plan.
“Baldwin is good at forcing you to play their [type of] game and at their pace,” Dooley said. “They were willing to give up the quick shot because they play much more effectively when you slow it down. We fell into the trap of playing fast and that’s not our game.”
Heroes: Baldwin’s leading scorers Aaron Greene and Brandon Williams scored most of their points in the first half. Greene netted 11 of his 13 points in the first quarter, while Williams scored 10 of his 12.
Turning Point: After winning the opening tip-off, Port Washington had a chance to take an early lead. But they could not convert their chances and once Baldwin started to roll, it was hard to stop them.
Quotable: “We have to forget tonight’s game and move on. We played a team that is very talented and we worked hard against them,” Dooley said. “If we can work this hard versus other teams in the conference, then we’ll have better results. We’ll go back to work because we have Herricks next and it’s important game for us if we want to make the playoffs.”
Bottom Line: Despite their record, Port Washington is still mathematically alive in the Conference AA-II playoff picture. However, the Vikings next game versus Herricks is a must-win.
Key Stat: Scoring only seven points in the first quarter and then only five more in the second quarter put Port Washington behind the eight-ball entering the second half. With Baldwin’s size taken into consideration, the last two quarters were an uphill battle for the Vikings.
Who’s Next: Port Washington at Herricks on Jan. 28; Baldwin vs. East Meadow on Jan. 28