By Paul Gotham
ROCHESTER, NY — Jerry Burns is not afraid to admit he has made a mistake. When the Monroe Community College men’s basketball coach forgot about one of his players on Thursday night, he was sure to not revisit that error twenty-four hours later.
Greg Williams paced a long-range attack as the MCC Tribunes took their home opener from the CCAC-Allegheny Cougars 80-60 in NJCAA action Friday night at George Monagan Court.
Williams led the Tribunes hitting five of eight attempts from behind the arc as Monroe turned a back-and forth affair into a blowout.
“I forgot to play him last night in the first half,” Burns admitted when asked about the performance by Williams. “He scored 12 in the second half last night. It’s only a stupid coach that doesn’t learn from his mistakes.”
Williams gave Monroe a lead they never surrendered with a catch-and-shoot three over Allegheny’s zone defense midway through the first half.
“One thing he can really do is shoot it,” Burns continued. “He spreads the zone out, and he plays under control.”
Williams went 7-10 from the field to lead the Black and Gold with 21 points.
“They were in a zone,” Williams said. “My teammates set me up and got me open. In our offense we do a lot of inter-changing, so we attack the middle, and they sink in. That leads to a kick out. I was open. My teammates gave me the ball, and I knocked it down.”
Allegheny did not go away easily.
Marcus Smith (Perry Traditional) scored 20 first-half points to give the Cougars a chance, but the Tribune defense limited the 5-11 guard to just five shots and four points after the break.
Tashawn Desir (Brooklyn, NY/Nia Prep) was given the assignment of slowing the Allegheny point guard.
“In the first half we made it a little too easy for him,” Desir explained. “Basically, it was bothering the ball more often and making it tough for him. I tried to make it my job to stay on him the whole half.”
Allegheny pulled within one early in the second half at 35-34 when Gerald Richardson (Woodland Hills) connected on a baseline out-of-bounds play. But that was as close as the Cougars got.
The Tribunes rattled off 11 straight after that and never looked back.
Jahvari Josiah (Brooklyn, NY/Beach Channel) found Ta-Quan Zimmerman (Waterbury, CT/Waterbury) for a catch-and-shoot three. At the opposite end of the floor Josiah took a charge. Desir took advantage and found the measure from the left corner. Dallas Gary (Buffalo, NY/Buffalo East) completed the trifecta forcing a timeout from the Cougars bench with the Black and Gold in front, 46-34.
Monroe kept up the pressure. Zimmerman made a steal on the defensive end and led Gary into the open floor for a thunderous dunk. On the next possession, Arnold Fripp, Jr. (Brooklyn, NY/Brooklyn Collegiate) slashed to the high post and knocked down a jumper. Josiah blocked a shot at the other end and ran the floor for an acrobatic one-handed rebound and putback. One free throw later and the sophomore had an old-fashioned three pointer.
The Tribunes hit 13-36 from behind the arc for the night.
“We got some guys who can shoot it,” noted Monroe head coach Jerry Burns. “That’s how we play. As long as they’re good shots that come within the flow of our offense where there is dribble, penetrate and kick, back cuts and doing things that we need to do. Then I don’t have a problem with that.”
Zimmerman added 17 points for the Tribunes.
Desir and Fripp,Jr. chipped in 10 apiece.
Josiah led MCC with seven rebounds.
Allegheny’s Smith had a game-high 24 points.
Matt McKenna (Central Catholic) followed with 20 points of his own.
MCC hosts the County Inn and Suites Tournament next Saturday and Sunday, the 10th and 11th of November. The Tribunes host The Thomas School Saturday afternoon for a 2 p.m. tipoff.