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Sunday, March 3, 2013: First-year U-Prep one win from state tourney

   Leading off today: Beginners luck? Hardly. University Prep may by a first-year varsity basketball team, but the Griffins proved to be no fluke Saturday by beating Fillmore 77-67 for the Section 5 boys Class D1 championship.

   U-Prep's roster consists of eighth-, ninth- and 10th-grade students as the charter school ramps up to a full-fledged junior high and high school. Next year's enrollment will move the basketball team up to Class B.

   The Griffins fell behind by 12 points in the first half but didn't lose their composure.

   “They’re too young to know any better,” coach Raheem Miller joked.

   U-Prep stumbled late in regulation to allow Fillmore -- which survived most of the season with just seven players -- to force overtime, but eighth-grader Marique Simkin finished off a tournament MVP performance with a 23-point effort.

   Freshman Brandon Hunt added 20 points and sophomore Cameron Myles scored 17.

   To reach the state quarterfinals, U-Prep will have to score its third straight victory over C.G. Finney on Tuesday.

   Another small wonder: Brandon Tate scored 20 points for Palisade Prep as the Phoenix extended their third year of existence by downing top-seeded Children’s Village 79-57 in the Section 1 Class C final.

   Three years ago, Palisade Prep reached the final in its first varsity season with three freshmen and four sophomores, all of whom played Saturday.

   “It’s very rewarding,” Isaiah Ward said after scoring 17 points. “We worked very hard.”

   Children’s Village saw its game plan complicated by the recent discharge of one of its top players, junior Kareem Padgett, The Journal News reported.

   PSAL update: FIU-bound senior Jaquan Lynch scored all 12 of his points after the third quarter as Thomas Jefferson avoided disaster with a 64-60 PSAL quarterfinal win in overtime over Cardozo. Senior Nazai Stokes paced the winners with 20 points.

   “My coach said, ‘You’re a senior. You’ve been here three years making shots. Don’t stop now,’” Lynch said. “After that my jump shot just started clicking.”

   Second-seeded Jefferson advances to play No. 3 Curtis, which eliminated Bayside 61-55. Curtis led by 15 until Bayside closed out the game on a 9-0 run.

More N.Y. postseason coverage
All sports
NYSSWA site for brackets of tournaments from the past and present seasons. Boys basketball
Status of the 11 sectional tournaments
Road to Glens Falls for scores and stats.
NYSPHSAA tourney brackets
Current state rankings.
Girls basketball
Road to Troy for scores and stats.
NYSPHSAA tourney brackets
Current state rankings.
Ice hockey
NYSSWA site for tournament brackets.
Current state rankings.
• 2013 state meet results: D-I | D-II
Final state rankings.

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   In the other half of the bracket, No. 4 seed Wings Academy edged South Shore 63-62 as Jaequan Brown (15 points) scored a game-winning put-back with 20 seconds left, and top-seeded Lincoln defeated Transit Tech 56-40 as Isaiah Whitehead scored 18 points.

   Also in Section 1, Our Lady of Lourdes edged Dobbs Ferry 85-80 in overtime in Class B despite junior Eric Paschall's 34 points and 13 rebounds to earn tournament MVP honors. Mike Donnelly led Lourdes with 21 points.

   Ford girls win tourney: Playing with a fractured ring finger on her left hand, junior Aaliyah Jones scored 16 points to pace Bishop Ford past Archbishop Molloy 51-45 in the girls CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I championship game.

   Ford coach Mike Toro remains under suspension pending a school investigation into possible improper financial aid to athletes in the school.

   In Division II, Bishop Kearney sophomore Jennifer Kaye came off the bench to score a team-high 14 points in her second game back from knee surgery to help beat St. John’s Prep 44-33.

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