There’s still room for improvement.
The Eagle Academy II boys basketball team cruised to a 95–61 victory over Transit Tech on Jan. 27, but head coach Leon Pursoo is still anxious to see more from his squad.
“As ironic as it may sound, we were a little disappointed,” Pursoo said. “We think we should be a little better right now, and the boys know that, and expect us to be better.”
The team appeared to get the memo — dominating from every angle in the Public Schools Athletic League ‘A’ matchup. Eagle Academy jumped out to a 23–21 lead after the first quarter and padded the cushion with a lopsided 10–3 run in the second.
From the opening tip, the Eagles (13–1) utilized a full-court press, trapping and frustrating Tech’s backcourt — juniors Jamill Moody, Isaiah Garrett and senior Tirron Squire. It wasn’t until the second quarter, however, that the Eagles were able to grab a bit of offensive separation.
Nursing a two-point cushion midway through the second, junior guard Kayvon Ransom sparked the offensive explosion as the Eagles jumped out to a double-digit lead. In the last 40 seconds of the second, the Eagles seized control of the game, taking advantage of a handful of Transit Tech (10–4) miscues.
Yasin Adbur-Rashid found junior guard Brandon Lewis for up-and-under finish along the baseline — off a turnover — and, moments later, junior forward Tyrese Baptiste converted a missed layup into an easy two at the end of the quarter. The Eagles went into the break with a 45–31 lead and, most importantly, a burst of confidence.
“It’s something that we’ve tried to pay attention to,” Pursoo said. “We tend to [play] a little low in the second quarter. Maybe it’s the subs I’ve been making, energy drops down a little bit, but today, we picked it up a lot.”
In the third, the Eagles picked up from where they left off and never looked back.
Against the large deficit, Tech started to rush shots, attacking the rim on most of its offensive possessions and struggled to finish over the gang-defense that the Eagles applied in the paint.
Eagle Academy’s lead ballooned to 29 points with 2:18 left in the first – sparked by a handful of three-pointers by Abdur-Rashid and a three-point play by Deonte Johnson.
“I think their pressure affected us and we lost our composure,” Tech head coach Michael Perazzo said. “Things kind of snowballed once we lost touch, so it will be a learning experience for us.”
Ransom notched a double-double in the victory with a team-high 21 points and 10 rebounds. Adriece Payne and Adbur-Rashid both scored 13 points, and combined for seven assists. Baptiste also chipped in 13 points, but dominated the glass with 21 rebounds, including nine on the offensive side of the ball. Kingsley Rodgers-Dillard also posted a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Amani Cummings led Tech with 17 points — matching his season average — Squire added 13, and Garrett and Moody both recorded eight points.
It’s another solid win for the Eagles, but Pursoo and his team aren’t getting too high yet — after all, there’s still plenty of basketball to be played.
“I don’t think we’ve played at our best yet, for the entire season,” Pursoo said. “Hopefully we can hit our stride a little better and make a nice run at it.”