2019 G Alejandro Vasquez (37 Points, 11 Rebounds)
The Queens PSAL AA division is not to be slept on. In a hard-fought battle between two great teams, the Queens HS of Teaching Tigers & the John Bowne Wildcats, Queens proved to be a borough filled with high-level division one talent.
Spectators knew they had a good one when John Bowne's 6'9 sophomore Kareem Reid (7 Points, 7 Rebounds, 8 Blocks) started the game with a thunderous dunk. Immediately after, sophomore Alejandro Vasquez (37 Points, 11 Rebounds) followed up with a three pointer for Bowne. Nevertheless, QHST's CJ Kelly (38 points) had an answer every time. Scoring 10 points in the first quarter alone, CJ proved to be on a mission. After Kelly's crowd-silencing dunk to end the first quarter, we knew this game would be a tough one.
To start the second quarter, Justin Steed (12 points) drained a midrange pullup to tie the game 32-32. Alejandro responded with two tough layups to the basket. The crowd began to get involved and Christian Hinckson (18 Points, 13 Rebounds, 7 Assits) of John Bowne only added to that with a fancy crossover followed by a midrange bankshot.
CJ Kelly was unfazed by the action and continuously responded with crafty moves to the basket. However, another impressive run led by Hinckson put John Bowne up 47-32.
Kelly struck again, proving to be too much for the Wildcat's defense. With that being said, no one could stop the damage Alejandro Vasquez was ready to unleash. Vasquez finished the first half with 25 points, 6 of them from back-to-back NBA-range threes in the last minutes of the second quarter. The first half ended 56-41, Bowne up.
The 3rd quarter was the CJ Kelly show. Due to Alejandro Vasquez picking up a technical foul, the Wildcats weren't as much of a threat on the offensive end. With some help from Jamie Nurses' (8 points) scrappy buckets, Kelly's 14-point third quarter put QHST down only one point to finish the third, 68-69.
The 4th quarter was do-or-die for QHST. All they needed was this win to finish the regular season undefeated. One more quarter would make or break the Tigers. Christian Hinckson started the quarter on a better note for John Bowne, with an electrifying and-one. CJ was on a mission, he responded with two very tough baskets followed by a huge block.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, Alejandro Vasquez came back alive after watching Kelly dismantle the Wildcat's defense. Vasquez scored 12 more points in the 4th, yet the Tigers still managed to stay in the game! With under 40 seconds remaining, Kion Hill (15 points) drained a three pointer for QHST, putting them in only a 2-point-deficit!
Kareem Reid responded with a huge dunk in traffic, giving Bowne the 4 point lead. With just under 30 seconds remaining, the Tigers got lucky when Christian Hinckson accidentally fouled CJ Kelly on the inbounds. CJ made both free throws, making the game 88-86, QHST down.
In a fight for the jump ball, Bowne received possession with only a few seconds on the clock. Alejandro was fouled and drained both free throws, 90-86. The Wildcats had a comfortable lead yet still managed to foul CJ Kelly on a three pointer!
CJ made two free throws and cut the lead to only two points. When fouled, Christian Hinckson missed the free throw attempt in which Alejandro Vasquez got the offensive rebound! QHST caught a huge break when Vasquez was called for a travel with 1.8 seconds on the clock.
90-89, one second on the clock. QHST's undefeated record was on the line. If they wanted to win this game, one of the Tigers would have to inbound the ball from under Bowne's hoop and somehow get a quality shot off. CJ Kelly, QHST's star, managed to catch the inbound pass. 1.8 seconds on the clock, Kelly was tripped up and lost the ball!
John Bowne did it, they ruined QHST's undefeated record. This game was arguably Queen's best matchup of the season. We hope to see these teams go at it one more time in the playoffs. When we spoke to Vasquez, he wasn't worried about seeing the Tigers again. As far as winning that game as well, he said "We'll just do the same thing we did here."