The 3rd Annual City Is Mine Basketball Classic took place on Friday, September 1st at Terminal 23 in the heart of New York City. Organized by Bernard Bowen and the New York Knicks’ own Carmelo Anthony, this is the culminating event to mark the end of the summer. Elite High School players from the region go head to head and battle to claim superiority amongst their peers. The venue is none other than Terminal 23, Carmelo’s exclusive practice facility. This year there were four teams competing, Team Gersh, Flight Camp, NY Rens and Milbank. Each team was stacked with talent and ready to lock in and compete.
This was the epitome of New York City High School basketball. Four hard nose teams bumping heads with Dave “Cha Ching” Teele on the mic. As a basketball junkie, there was no other place I would have rather have been. This event is one of the finest around and whoever expected to see these games had to get there early or risk missing the festivities.
The gym was packed and the teams were ready to go. The first game consisted of The NY Rens versus Team Gersh. Both are quality programs who have both had success with summer basketball leagues. Both teams played like their lives were on the line. After the nerves got settled buckets started to drop and the turnovers decreased. It was a close game throughout, but it was Class of ’19 stud Alejandro Vasquez who took it upon himself to lead his NY Rens team to the championship game. He exploded for a game high 22 points and 4 rebounds. He also proved himself to be a threat on the defensive end of the floor by adding 3 steals to his stat line. Team Gersh put up a good fight but lost the game 73-68. Gersh big man Aidann Igiehon led the way with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Along with some highlight monster dunks. Donald “Man Man” Flores added 15 points for Gersh. The Rens advanced to the championship game to play the winner of the Milbank vs Flight Club.
The second game would have Team Milbank matched up with a intimidating looking Team Flight Club. On paper, there was no way anybody would be able to beat Flight Club. They suited up three of the class of 2018 ESPN top 100 players with two of those players being top 25 in the country. Player rankings don’t do anything but put a target on your chest. The NJ trio of Naz Reid, Louis King, and Luther Muhammad came out strong but Milbank was able to withstand the surge and give the Flight Club something to worry about. Milbank came out poised and their guards really stepped up their game up. Teaneck HS guard Ja’Quaye James and St. Rays (BX) guard Dallas Austin came up huge in this game for Milbank. James excelled at the offensive end of the floor and Austin on the defensive. The game was so close that it had to go into double overtime to determine a winner. Milbank won the game by a final score of 87-80. Ja’Quaye James led Milbank with 19 points while Darius Lee added 14. For Flight Club Louis King had 21 points and 5 boards while his teammate Naz Reid contributed 19 points and 7 boards. Exhausted from the double OT thriller, Milbank would face the NY Rens for the Championship.
For the Milbank Flyers, it didn’t look as if they would have enough steam in the engine to pull off a victory in this Championship game. They were facing a tough NY Rens team who most definitely wanted to hoist the trophy presented by Carmelo Anthony. Milbank came out the gate strong by hitting a few perimeter jumpers and scoring at will in the paint. For the Rens Deshawn Young and Joe Toussaint kept the pressure on and kept the game within reach. The inside scoring of Milbank’s Jose Perez proved to be too much for the Rens to handle. Milbank would come out victorious by a score of 81-73. Deshawn Young had 25 points, while Joe Toussaint and Alejandro Vasquez both chipped in 14 a piece for the Rens. For Milbank, Jose Perez would drop 28 points and 5 boards while his teammate Ja’Quaye James added 16 points. Perez would earn MVP honors and Milbank would earn their second championship in three years at the City Is Mine basketball classic.
Coach Rose of Milbank knows how to get it done. He’s been running the Milbank basketball program since I was playing as a youngster, and he knows how to bring out the best in his players. I’m proud to say that I am an alumni of Milbank and happy that they are starting to get recognized as an elite program in New York City. Coach Rose and the Milbank program deserve all of the success that is coming their way! Respect due. Can’t wait to see them defend their title next year.
All Things Hoops All Tournament Team
Jose Perez – Milbank
Ja’Quaye James – Milbank
DeShawn Young – NY Rens
Aidann Igiehon – Gersh
louis King – Flight Club
Naz Reid – Flight Club
Alejandro Vasquez – NY Rens
Donald Flores – Gersh
Stats provided by Ballstar.com. Click HERE for the Boxscores.