Brooklyn Collegiate beat South Shore on a buzzer beater during an amazing 94-91 victory last December and the way that Collegiate celebrated always left a bad taste in Shakur Spencer‘s mouth.
Thinking about it headed into overtime made Spencer angry and he wanted to do something to make sure that they wouldn’t celebrate like that again. So at he went out, played more aggressively and scored nine points in overtime to lead the Vikings to a 47-38 home victory Thursday night that sent the Lions home from more humble.
“They beat us the first game and they celebrated like it was a championship and we took that to heart,” Spencer said. “This was a big win for us. We’re trying to get to second place now.”
South Shore started the game strong, jumping out to an eight point lead in the first quarter, but then it looked like the Vikings lost their rhythm in the second and by the end of the third, Collegiate was back in the game.
“They played tough defense,” Spencer said. “We struggled in the third quarter and we had to make adjustments. In fourth quarter and overtime we changed up a lot of things. We weren’t really being aggressive enough early and coach made an adjustment. He just told us to be more aggressive.
The Vikings did manage to pick things up in the fourth, but they got sloppy too and turnovers led to a 5-0 run in the final two minutes that tied the game.
Doudmy Saint Hilaire got things started in overtime when he hit a couple of free throws. After that it was all Spencer as he hit a couple of free throws himself to put the Vikings up by three, he hit a layup to up five, then another free throw to go up six, a steal led to a couple more free throws to go up eight and then, finally, he two-handed slam put them up by nine with 25 seconds to go.
“We made some costly mistakes toward the end of the game, some foolish turnovers playing around with the ball,” South Shore head coach Mike Beckles said. “But guys showed a lot of heart and character and stayed with it mentally. We got some key stops and that led to some easy opportunities.”
Free throws played a big role down the stretch which isn’t a coincidence since Beckles has emphasized it since they missed 10 free throws in the fourth quarter against Jefferson last Saturday during a one-point loss. South Shore 8-for-10 from the line in overtime while Collegiate was just 3-for-10.
“Every practice before we leave and we have to hit 10 free throws in a row or we can’t go home,” Saint Hilaire said.
The two teams combined to score just 85 points in this game. The last time they played each other they scored 185 points. The difference was that both teams focused more on defense and they were both sloppy at times too.
Another big difference for South Shore was that Devyn Wilson did not play. Wilson has averaged 15.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists in nine games so far this season. After the game, Beckles wouldn’t comment on why Wilson did sat out.
“Devyn Wilson is not playing right now so it was kind of hard when it came to finishing the game,” Saint Hilaire said. “People were tired. But going into overtime coach Mike told us that whoever scored first was going to win the game so I knew that I had to be aggressive.”
It was a big win for South Shore as there will be four or five teams fighting for second place in the Brooklyn AA division. The Vikings had suffered some tough loses already to Collegiate, Boys and Girls High School, and Jefferson so they can’t stand to lose many more big games.
For South Shore, Saint Hilaire finished with 17 points, Spencer had 15, Ryan Preston had seven and Gregory Battle had four. For Collegiate, Davere Creighton had 16, Craig McKenzie had 11 and Adrian Williams had six.
The Vikings have a tough schedule to finish out January with a game against Boys High and two against Lincoln.
“This is one step closer to our goal,” Beckles said. “We want to finish the season strong and then take our game to another level.”