The New York Panthers will meet Connecticut Select at 7:30 tonight in the CYP championship. Connecticut Select beat Rodney Abrams 80-62 in the late semifinal Monday night. Here’s a story on the earlier game, which was highlighted, in part, by one very motivated player.
PORT CHESTER — During its recent years of dominance at the CYP Tournament, Frenji has dubbed itself Westchester’s team. Along the way, several of the area’s biggest stars have donned the sky blue and black, including Mount Vernon’s Kevin Jones and Jabarie Hinds, Peekskill’s Mookie Jones and White Plains’ Sean Kilpatrick.
Ironically, it was Mount Vernon’s Josh Doughty (pictured left), a Westchester kid left off Frenji’s roster last week, who helped the New York Panthers withstand a ferocious Frenji comeback and win 95-82 in Monday night’s semifinals at the Our Lady of Mercy gym.
The senior point guard took control and hit key shots down the stretch. He scored 17 points, finishing behind only Lincoln’s Isaiah Whitehead (24) and Boys and Girls’ Wes Myers (20), two of the top guards in New York City.
Doughty initially thought he would play for Frenji in the CYP. He left the Section 1 Senior All-Star Game last Thursday with New Rochelle’s Joe Clarke but was not added to the roster.
“I came here and thought I was going to play. I had talked to the coach and he said I was going to play,” Doughty said. “When I came here, there were no jerseys left. So when (the Panthers) called me, I decided that was a good team and I was going to go against (Frenji).”
Doughty was fueled by that slight in the second half. At one point, after Frenji had cut a 29-point deficit to three, Doughty waved off Whitehead, one of the top juniors in the country. He broke the press, beat his man off the dribble and stuck a pull-up jumper. He later hit a double-clutch layup over a defender in the final minutes to help ice it.
The emotional Doughty even treated the opposing bench to a few triumphant stares.
“I wanted to make a statement a little bit,” said Doughty, whose Panthers will play Connecticut Select at 7:30 in tonight’s championship game. “It was a loss for them, so I was just playing my game.”
One of Doughty’s former Mount Vernon teammates, Jarrel Marshall, a 6-foot-6 forward now at Notre Dame Prep, contributed eight points for the Panthers and showed improved toughness in the paint.
Two players from Lincoln in Coney Island led Frenji. Desi Rodriquez had a team-high 21, and Elijah Davis had 15.
Stepinac senior Josh James (pictured below) had been arguably the team’s most effective player, scoring 11 points and sparking a run after Frenji had fallen behind 57-28. But the 6-1 guard hurt both ankles and didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
Still, the unsigned Doughty thrived alongside top Division I recruits, against the likes of James (Monmouth) and Frenji’s Dayshon Smith (Dayton), among others.
“It’s a big confidence boost,” Doughty said. “I know I can play against the best of them.”
Photos courtesy of Mark Vergari/The Journal News. For a complete gallery, click here.