He’s always liked that spot on the court.
Larry Moreno is a pure shooter, an offensive spark plug for Brooklyn Law & Tech’s boys basketball team and, on Feb. 14, the junior guard was a three-point machine. Moreno settled into a rhythm when his team needed him the most, draining shot after shot from the same spot on the court as the third-seeded Jets grabbed a 73–70 victory over No. 6 Robeson in the Brooklyn Boro quarterfinals.
“That’s the shot I always practice,” said Moreno, who finished with a game-high 28 points. “I just made sure I got to the corner and wanted to make sure that Mikko [Johnson] got the ball to me.”
Moreno went on a personal nine-point run, connecting on three consecutive jumpers from behind the arc to give Law & Tech a bit of breathing room early in the fourth quarter. The Jets — who grabbed a 10-point cushion with 5:40 left — struggled to find a rhythm early on, unable to battle against Robeson’s big men under the hoop.
“We just had to weather the storm,” said Jets coach Kenny Pretlow. “Their guards were hurting us, but I thought we did a better job in the second half. It’s hard to play them off the pick and roll, because their bigs can take shots.”
It wasn’t ever easy for the Jets, however, particularly when forward Victor Ogbo fouled out off the game with 3:31 left. Robeson took full advantage, making it a two-point game with just over two minutes left on the clock.
Joseph Pena did his best to hold his own on the block, stepping up for the sidelined Ogbo down the stretch, while Walter Pitt hit a key jumper in the lane to pad Law & Tech’s lead with 1:31 to play.
“I just told Joseph to rebound,” Pretlow said. “What I liked is we played our brand of ball in the second half. We ran our sets and we dug in on defense.”
Moreno was the offensive spark for the Jets throughout the fourth quarter, but it was his defense that made the difference when it mattered most. He tipped an inbound pass with 17 seconds left, forcing Robeson to foul when Pitt hauled in the ball. The play padded the Jets’ lead and essentially wrapped up the team’s victory over the AA-division Eagles.
“I said, ‘We’re going to double-them — be ready,’ ” Pretlow said. “I think we surprise them and they just threw it to the first he could see. Luckily Larry read that and got the tip, that was a big play.”
Robeson had a final look at the game-tying basket, but the attempt hit off the rim. It wasn’t always pretty, but the Jets did just enough to keep their dreams of a boro title in tact and, once again, prove an A-division team can compete.
“It’s just Law and Tech playing,” Pretlow said. “I told them instead of three weeks with nothing to do, we’ll go play some AA schools and raise some hell.”