White Plains freshman Jordan Tucker (pictured above) looked every bit like the high-major recruit he is tonight as the Tigers beat Peekskill. They will play an eager Fox Lane team in the final at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Below is my story from tonight, plus photo galleries from both games:
HARRISON — Moments after the opening tip, Jordan Tucker made this abundantly clear: His second varsity game would be better than his first.
The White Plains freshman not only sank his first 3-pointer, he hit four more, scoring 17 of his 19 points in the first half. Senior Mike DeMello then pushed the Tigers to a strong finish in their 62-54 victory over Peekskill in the opening round of the Harrison basketball tournament.
Tucker, a 6-foot-7 swingman, shot 5 for 10 from behind the arc in the first half alone, leading White Plains (2-0) to a strong start. So strong, the Tigers never trailed, and they will now meet Fox Lane on Saturday night at 5 in the championship.
“Last week I was very nervous,” Tucker said. “Now, I’m good. I just went into the gym and spent time working on my craft and I felt more comfortable coming into this game.”
To its credit, Peekskill (2-1) not only looked better in the second half, but it did so without senior big man Musheed Muhammad, who fouled out midway through the third. Seniors Neorck Brown (22 points, five rebounds) and Anthony Guerrero (nine points, 15 rebounds) helped tie the score at one point and had Peekskill within reach.
But with Peekskill closing harder on Tucker, DeMello created for others, including himself. He finished with 19 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals to go with Justin Tapper’s nine points and seven rebounds.
“That’s a team that could very easily win its class, so that’s a big win for us,” DeMello said.
The Tigers hadn’t played in nine days after two previous gameswere wiped out due to complications from the snow.
“I thought it was a good character win for us,” coach Spencer Mayfield said. “We showed poise when they made a run. We never lost control of the game.”
Seniors James Morales and Will Paul each poured in 15 points to lead Fox Lane in the nightcap, a 57-45 win over Harrison.
The unbeaten Foxes (5-0) are eager for undoubtedly their toughest test to date.
“They’re a traditional powerhouse, and if you want to be the best, you have to compete with the best,” coach Chris Violante said. “We’re looking forward to Saturday night.”
Paul, the Fox Lane senior captain, celebrated a birthday tonight by shooting the ball very well. So, here’s a great shot by Frank of Paul pulling up for a 3: