S.P. Bears hold off scrappy Eagle

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D’Andre McLamb helps ice the game with some clutch free throws toward the end.

BY RICHARD KUSHNER | A coach’s dream is that all his players have a great game at the same time. This is what happened last week in Seward Park High School’s first playoff game for the New York City championship versus Brooklyn’s Eagle Academy. All the Seward boys played well in the 70-66 win.

The game started with a quick slam dunk by D’Andre McLamb and it looked like easy sailing for Seward. However, Eagle Academy had a lot of scrappy, hard-working players who would not give up.

At the half, Seward led by 10, but that lead was cut down to four as the Eagles pressed and stole the ball for three quick layups at the start of the third quarter.

Drew Billingsley was having trouble all game hitting his shot, but he found it in the fourth quarter, burying two big 3-pointers. He also had some great passes for assists.

McLamb was having trouble all game with his foul shooting, but found the range in the fourth quarter, along with an amazing drive with the game on the line. He got fouled hard but still made the clutch basket, and ended with 17 points.

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McLamb, wearing No. 1, and teammates slap hands in the final seconds after the Bears, at last, had safely put the game away.

Dean LaBoy was the coach’s dream. He played an almost-perfect game, getting 17 points, including the last two free throws with four seconds left to put the game out of reach.

Xavier Jennings and Justin Capers both fouled out at crucial times, but their defense was superb, along with Gabriel Jacquez, who was spelled by Dayshanel Reid in the waning minutes for Reid’s outstanding defensive skills.

When your players play hard, when your offensive and defensive schemes work against the other team, then, as a coach, you feel you have done well. Wallace Simpson and his staff — Eddie Lau, Brian McCollam and Pete Markovics — have a lot to be proud of. After a long, grueling season their hard work has paid off and they are headed to the next round of the playoffs Wednesday, at the Bears’ Grand St. home court.

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