By Luke Elder
Humboldt Park, Ill.- The Roberto Clemente Community Academy (RCCA) men's basketball team fell short in a 40-32 home loss against Jones College Preparatory in a battle of Chicago academies on Friday night in Humboldt Park.
An early 12-point run gave Jones Prep. an advantage that sustained for much of the game. Led by Ethan Samuel’s 13-point effort and stout double teams, Jones was prepared for the quick yet inexperienced guard play of RCCA.
Sophomore Levaus Greyer led the RCCA offense, scoring 11 points and serving up a team-best 4 assists alongside 3 rebounds. 3 of Greyer’s buckets came from three-pointers, two of which were nothing but net. John Rivera and Lawrence Carr backed up the sophomore’s excellent play with 5 points apiece, respectively.
Early on, Jones Prep. controlled possession and shot their way to a 11-3 lead in the first quarter. Intense and energetic RCCA head coach Greg Fleming pulled guard Lawrence Carr following a turnover in the game’s first minute, and again after his second. Wasted plays and over-dribbling lead to the bench on Fleming’s team. The reminder helped his squad to reign in the turnovers, as they evened the score at 12 late in the second quarter.
“It’s all effort, fellas!” Fleming yells to his players, “run to your spot!”
Jones Prep. sustained a full-court press throughout the game, often pressuring guards into double teams and causing a staggering 23 RCCA turnovers. To mitigate third-quarter damage, RCCA jumped into a full-court press of their own , alongside a 2-3 zone after Jones crossed half court.
After two lead changes and a five-point Jones run, RCCA trailed 30-27 heading into the fourth quarter. Hoping to close the deficit, Greyer hits a nice floater, but Jones Prep. quickly answers with three points of their own. A 10-point deficit with three minutes remaining proved to be too much for RCCA.
Maintaining high intensity until the game’s last whistle, RCCA fell to Jones Prep. 40-32.
Fleming attributed the loss to his teams’ youth.
“It came down to inexperience in the fourth quarter. Mental mistakes. We’re playing with a bunch of underclassmen. Mental mistakes, Mental mistakes, Mental mistakes. I think they played super hard, I think that’s something I’ve tried to get them to do all season. I think our effort was really good”
Hoping to improve upon his team’s 2-13 record, leading-scorer Levaus Greyer noted his team’s effort.
“We’re doing better as a team. We’re working, we’re trying.”
When asked about the team’s focus in practice for the coming week, Greyer highlighted RCCA’s poor shooting performance.
“we’re going to be focusing on attacking the bucket more–and trapping, once they get under the free throw line.”