Homegrown Freshman Sensation Leads Way in Pair of OT Wins
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
St. Francis Brooklyn freshman guard Rasheem Dunn knows a thing or two about ending championship droughts in our fair borough.
The Thomas Jefferson High School alum was instrumental in guiding the Orange Wave to their first Public School Athletic League AA title last year, capping the historic season by grabbing the Brooklyn school’s first ever state federation crown.
Now, the 6-foot-2 playmaker is providing some early hope that this could finally be the year that the seemingly cursed Terriers will earn a bid to their first ever NCAA Tournament.
Following a dismal 2-11 start to the nonconference portion of their schedule, the Terriers (4-11, 2-0 NEC) have rallied for consecutive overtime wins to start the all-important Northeast Conference slate, with Dunn playing a leading role in each triumph despite his neophyte status on the St. Francis roster.
Last Thursday night at Remsen Street’s Pope Physical Education Center, Dunn scored nine of his team-high 24 points in OT as the Terriers pulled out a wild 80-77 victory over visiting Bryant.
Two days later, he made sure SFC would enjoy a happy New Year’s Eve, pouring in 15 of his 19 points in the second half and extra session, guiding the Terriers to an 86-77 win here in Downtown Brooklyn.
“Being a freshman, I had to show my coach that I’m mentally tough,” said Dunn, who earned NEC Co-Rookie of the Week honors for his back-to-back heroic performances.
“When they put the ball in my hands they trust me to get a basket.”
Through his first 15 collegiate contests, the former PSAL Championship Game Most Valuable Player is averaging 13.3 points per game, second only to the Terriers’ leading scorer, sophomore guard Glenn Sanabria (14.8 ppg), despite not making a single start yet this season.
“He was great ... he was tremendous,” SFC head coach and Brooklyn native Glenn Braica gushed following the NEC-opening win over Bryant.
“[Rasheem] really had a great game, and he did it defensively, offensively, on the glass ... I don’t know what more he could’ve done. He did everything that we asked of him and more.”
The Terriers will ask for more from Dunn now that they’ve seen his ability to make an impact in late-game situations.
Overall, the first-year sensation has collected a pair of Rookie of the Week honors, and is averaging 21.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists against NEC opponents.
And according to Braica, we might not yet have seen what the Terriers’ newest star is capable of.
“He’s a tough kid,” Braica noted. “He’s a good player, a really good player. He’s not a finished product — none of them are — but he’s going to be really, really good. To do what he’s doing as a freshman, he’s coming on. He’s learned through some of these early season games.”
Dunn and the Terriers will try to take their thus far thrilling act on the road Thursday night in Loretto, Pennsylvania when they visit St. Francis University (Pa.).
Over at LIU Brooklyn, the Blackbirds ended a four-game losing streak and posted their first NEC win with a 74-63 victory over Bryant here at the Steinberg Wellness Center on New Year’s Eve.
Senior forward Jerome Frink paced the Blackbirds (8-7, 1-1 NEC) with a staggering line of 23 points, 15 rebounds, four blocked shots and two steals for LIU, which opened the NEC slate with a heartbreaking 67-65 home loss to Mount St. Mary’s last Thursday.
The Blackbirds, who lost to MSM on a last-second buzzer-beater, didn’t leave anything to chance against Bryant. Frink hit one of his three 3-pointers during a decisive 9-0 second-half run to give LIU a 60-41 cushion.
Freshman Jashaun Agosto had 17 points and nine assists in the victory, giving LIU some momentum heading into Thursday’s NEC road contest against Robert Morris in Moon Township, Pennsylvania.
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Senior Austin Wood and freshman Michael Tesoriero scored 12 points apiece Monday night at the West Quad Center, but the Brooklyn College men’s basketball team suffered a 79-52 loss to No. 24 Denison University.
The Bulldogs (3-9) have lost four straight games, a skid they were hoping to end Wednesday night at home against CUNYAC rival Medgar Evers.
The BC women have thrived since returning from the holiday break, winning back-to-back games, including Tuesday afternoon’s 79-34 blowout of visiting Buffalo State.
Senior guard Taylor Gallagher scored 17 of her game-high 24 points during the second quarter as the Lady Bulldogs (7-2) used a 33-9 run spanning the period to pull away for good.
BC was pushing to make it three wins in a row Wednesday vs. Medgar Evers.
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Sophomore Victoria Porcasi and freshman Lauren Quesada both scored 20 points to lead St. Joseph’s College of Brooklyn to a 91-78 victory over CCNY last Thursday night.
Porcasi earned Co-Skyline Conference Player of the Week honors for her effort, and Quesada received the league’s Rookie of the Week award.
The Lady Bears (4-6) were slated to return to the hardwood Wednesday night against Skyline rival SUNY Old Westbury at Brooklyn’s Hill Center.