By John Torenli
They weren’t supposed to be as good as last year’s team, which won its second straight Public School Athletic League AA championship.
Nor were they considered favorites to capture their own division or the Brooklyn Borough Championship this year, neither of which they did, incidentally.
Heck, if the 2011-12 season were based on expectations rather than results, than either perennial powerhouse Lincoln or fast-emerging Thomas Jefferson would have been the city’s representative in Albany during last weekend’s Federation AA Championships at the Times Union Center.
Fortunately for coach Ruth Lovelace and her history-making Kangaroos of Brooklyn’s Boys and Girls High School, basketball is still a game played on hardwood rather than paper.
It’s also played with heart and guts rather than Division I recruitment status and so-called experts’ predictions.
Buoyed by an MVP performance from senior Leroy “Truck” Fludd (25 points) and the clutch play of junior Wesley Myers, Boys and Girls walked off with its first-ever state title Sunday, besting top-seeded defending champion Mount Vernon, 66-60.
“They didn’t think we’d win the PSAL championship and for sure not the Federation,” said Myers, who scored 17 points, 12 of which came during a decisive second-quarter run that put the ‘Roos ahead to stay. “Nobody can say anything to us now.”
No, Wesley, they certainly can’t. Except maybe congratulations, of course.
B&G, which topped No. 1 Thomas Jefferson for its third consecutive city championship the weekend before last at Madison Square Garden, continued its storied run with a 66-54 win over St. Raymond of the Bronx in Saturday’s semifinal.
On Sunday, they became the first ‘Roos squad ever to capture a state crown, making Lovelace the first-ever woman to guide a boys’ squad to the title, just the latest in a series of trail-blazing achievements for the beloved, battle-tested coach.
“For us to be the first team to do it is really big,” admitted Fludd, who shot down the likes of Jefferson’s Thad Hall, Lincoln’s Isaiah Whitehead and several other notable rivals on the path to history.
Of course Fludd, whose not yet sure where he’ll be playing his college ball next year, wasn’t alone in guiding B&G to unprecedented heights.
From Myers’ late-season scoring binge to the defensive dominance of senior Shakur Pinder and the unlikely goat-to-hero tale of Courtney Solomon, who was benched for breaking curfew before lifting his teammates to Saturday’s semifinal win with 14 second-half points, the ‘Roos’ magical journey was certainly a team effort.
Even Mount Vernon coach Bob Cimmino was in awe of B&G’s resolve under tremendous duress.
“They went through one of the toughest leagues that I’ve ever seen,” said Cimmino, who watched his favored team squander a 10-point lead to the ‘Roos in the title game. “The Brooklyn ‘AA’ was just insane to play in. They came out smiling. My hat is off to Coach Lovelace and the Kangaroos.”
Now it’s on to next season for Lovelace’s charges, who can match the Lance Stephenson-led Lincoln squad, which became the first boys’ team ever to capture four consecutive city titles from 2006-09.
Knowing the ‘Roos, they’re just waiting for someone, anyone, to tell them they can’t do it.
“I don’t think the opposition realizes how tough we are,” said Lovelace.