Boys & Girls defied expectations this season with a deep run in the postseason in the company of powerhouses such as Thomas Jefferson, Wings Academy and Benjamin Cardozo.
But the Kangaroos’ magical playoff run ended last Saturday when No. 2-seed and defending champion Cardozo handed No. 6 Boys & Girls a season-ending 59–48 loss in the Public School Athletic League boy’s basketball semifinals at Lehman College.
“Overall, we had a great season — made it to the final four,” said Boys & Girls coach Ruth Lovelace. “It can’t get any better than that.”
The Kangaroos finished the season with a 19–9 overall record, and had some good wins against teams such as Westinghouse and South Shore, and had an upset victory in the quarterfinals against rival Abraham Lincoln.
Star junior guard Gianni Ford scored 18 points and senior forward Jamie Killings chipped in with 13 against Cardozo (29–2). Unfortunately, the Kangaroos ran into a more powerful offensive team in Cardozo, which featured junior guards Ray Salnave, Aaron Walker and Tareq Coburn.
“Our defense wasn’t too effective,” Lovelace said. “We didn’t play our style. We could have done a better job.”
Boys & Girls was down most of the game and tried to make a comeback in the second half, but the potent offense of its counterparts was too much. Coburn paced Cardozo with 20 points, including four three-pointers. Salnave dropped in 19 points and Elijah McNeely added nine points.
This season was very productive for the young squad as it played an underdog role for the majority of the year in the Brooklyn AA division. The Kangaroos finished third behind Jefferson and Lincoln.
“It speaks volumes about the program and its coaches,” Lovelace said. “Many people didn’t think we’d get this far, but this season speaks for itself. A number of things factored in our success this year. The kids bought into the game plan. We improved both offensively and defensively.”
It was certainly a season to be proud of, but the Kangaroos players were still disappointed to see it end, because they were holding themselves to a higher standard.
“We tried our hardest and left it all on the court, but we didn’t play hard enough as a team.” Ford said. “I feel like we had a terrific season, our team came together and we made a great run. But our goal was to win a city championship and we failed at that.”