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August 19, 2012
Brooklyn wins the Battle of the Boroughs
LOWER EASTSIDE, NY - The final game in the Battle of the Boroughs was between Brooklyn and Harlem. With the way Brooklyn looked and played in the semi-finals, you could say that they were the favorites to win the game.
However, when it came to game time, Harlem showed early that they came to play. It was a nip and tuck game the entire way, and it looked like Harlem was going to pull it off when they went up 5 with 1:39 left. But Brooklyn never quit and were able to come back and snatch the taste of victory right out of Harlem's mouths.
The game ended with junior guard Isaiah Whitehead at the line with the game tied at 84. Whitehead was there after dribbling down the clock looking for the last shot, but a foul was called with 4.2 seconds left in the game. It could have easily been a no-call because there was great defense played by Harlem guard Tyler Wilson and it looked like he had locked Whitehead up.
Whitehead made the first of two free throws to break the tie. He missed the second free throw, but the rebound went to Leroy "Truck" Fludd, who scored inside as the clock ran out. Brooklyn then got in a circle and celebrated winning the tournament and beating Harlem 87-84.
The first half saw the 6-5 Fludd putting in a ton of work, along with Whitehead. The two players led Brooklyn in scoring in the semis, and they did the same thing in the championship game. Fludd scored 12 points in the first half, while Whitehead scored 12 of his 14 first half points to help Brooklyn lead 55-49 at halftime.
Probably the most outstanding player on the court in the game was on the losing side. Hassan Martin was an absolute monster in the paint the entire game. He appeared to grab every rebound in the second half. He gobbled up anything that was close to the rim, and he was able to finish and propel his team to the lead. Both Martin and fellow 6-7 forward Larry Beckett dominated the paint, scoring 20 of the 22 third quarter points that allowed Harlem to go into the last quarter with a 71-68 lead. Each player had 10. Beckett was great and was actually finishing the end of plays. Martin was just forcing his will in the paint. He opened up the scoring with a ridiculous two-handed baseline slam that showed how explosive the 6-7 senior is.
After two free throws by Wilson with 1:39 left in the game put Harlem up 82-77, Brooklyn found a way to get back in the game behind two rebound put-backs. One was by Fludd, and the other was by 6-5 forward Jermoine Faison and tied the game at 82. Both teams made two free throws each to tie the game at 84 and set up the final possession. Of course it would have been a lot better if there was a game winning shot, but the ball never left Whitehead's hands. He ended up picking up his dribble and Wilson appeared to bump into Whitehead's arm. The whistle blew and the ending was somewhat anti-climactic because it ended at the charity stripe.
The MVP of the game was Whitehead, and the 6-4 guard put on another show despite not being as scorching hot as he was in the semifinal win over The Bronx. He finished with 16 points and made a number of key plays on the defensive end. Fludd was also huge in the victory, leading Brooklyn with 19 points and playing extra tough in the paint late in the game when his team needed him the most. Also helping out on the boards with a hyper active game was Faison, who scored 15 points for Brooklyn.
Martin finished with 26 points and he easily had double digit rebounds. Unofficially, he probably was somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 rebounds. Beckett finished with 14 points and a number of dunks for Harlem. Shavar Newkirk scored all 11 of his points in the first half to get into double digits.