By Paul Gotham
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Dallas Gary (Buffalo, NY/Buffalo East) and Jahvari Josiah (Brooklyn, NY/Beach Channel) sparked a dominant second-half performance as the Monroe Community College Tribunes throttled the Thomas School, 107-74 in the Country Inn and Suites Tournament on George Monagan Court.
Josiah sent home back-to-back dunks as Monroe tallied the first nine after the break en route to outscoring Thomas by 24 in the second half . Ta-Quan Zimmerman (Waterbury, CT/Waterbury) grabbed a loose ball and led Josiah into the open for a two-handed slam. One trip later Tashawn Desir (Brooklyn, NY/Nia Prep) found Josiah with a diagonal pass over the defense and an alley oop dunk.
Josiah drove the lane on the next possession and drew contact. The sophomore guard connected on the first of two free throws. When the second caromed off the rim, the 5-10 Desir went airborne and grabbed the rebound for the easy putback. Zimmerman capped the run with a three, and MCC led 60-43.
“The second half was much better than the first,” said Monroe head coach Jerry Burns. “First half we gave up 12 dribble penetration points. They were going by us like we were standing still. But in the second half we really cut that down.”
With the defense getting its job done, the offense continued to take over the game.
Arnold Fripp, Jr. (Brooklyn, N.Y./Brooklyn Collegiate) hit a turnaround jump hook in the lane. On the next trip, Kenny Johnson (Philadelphia, PA) took an outlet pass and found Edward Hector (Atlanta, GA/Creekside) with a diagonal pass who in turn led Josiah for a lay up and one. MCC led by 20, 65-45.
“My teammate are going to back me up if I score or not,” said Josiah who took just one shot in the first half but finished the game with 12 points. “Early on it wasn’t clicking, but I put that aside and felt the momentum of my team.”
Gary stretched the lead to 24 with a pair of acrobatic baskets. The 6-5 forward drove the lane and falling down kissed a shot off the glass. One possession later, he created with a turnaround hitting a baseline jumper. Gary finished with a team-high 21 points n 8-15 shooting from the floor and 4-5 from the free throw line.
“I give all the credit to my teammates,” Gary said. My teammates found me early and got me going, so I decided to keep it up.”
Johnson followed with a drive in the for a bucket. Gary hit two free throws, and the Tribs were on their way with an 87-61 bulge.
“I’m never really worried about scoring,” Gary continued. “We got so many good players on this team. We got a real balanced team this year.”
Fripp and Gary sparked the offense as the Tribunes grabbed a nine-point lead going into the half.
Johnson found Fripp slicing through the lane in transition for a deuce. Gary knocked down a pair free throws on the next trip. Fripp grabbed the rebound of his own miss, and MCC led 26-23.
Gary finished a pair in the lane: one in transition and another on a drive from the wing for a 34-28 edge.
“He just needs to play,” Burns said of Gary who sat out last year per NJCAA transfer rules. “His best game is going to be in January or February. That’s what we’re hoping for. He’s got to take the contact. He’s got to finish. He needs to finish strong all the time.”
Fripp nailed a catch-and-shoot three from the top of the key. Desir kept the Tribs going with a pull up jumper off a Reuben Berry (Bronx, NY/Danbury) ball screen. Berry scored twice in the lane before Fripp capped the half scoring off a turnover.
Fripp scored 19 going 8-11 from the field and 2-2 at the charity stripe to go with eight rebounds.
“He’s really playing well,” Burns said of the sophomore forward. “He’s under control. All of his shots are good. He’s long. He’s springy.”
Berry added 13. Josiah and Zimmerman each had a dozen. Zimmerman corralled a game-high nine rebounds as MCC outrebounded Thomas 52-34. Zimmerman chased down six of Monroe’s 24 offensive boards.
Johnson handed out seven assists while committing just one turnover and scoring eight.
Isaih Stokley (Queens, NY) led Thomas 26 going 4-7 behind the three-point arc.
Josh Gray (Queens, NY) added 16.
MCC improves to 3-0 with the win. The Tribunes are back in action Sunday when they host the Sullivan County Community College Generals. A 1 p.m. tipoff is scheduled at MCC.