FDA wins borough championship one year after losing to WHEELS in title game.
BY James Wilkins
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, February 14, 2015, 7:29 PM
Most sequels don’t live up to the original, but for Frederick Douglass Academy, a second Manhattan borough championship matchup against Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School in as many years was much sweeter than the first.“We came up short last year and it hurt,” FDA senior Jaylin Montalvo said after his team’s 69-58 tournament win over WHEELS at Queens College. “It feels real good. This time we won and we won it for our former seniors.”
While Montalvo felt vindicated after last year’s 58-50 loss to WHEELS, FDA coach Pat Mangan entered the game more worried about the task in front of him than seeking revenge. “They only have three players from last year and we have four,” Mangan said. “It’s not like we have a lot of the same guys. If I had five guys that were juniors last year it’d be a different game, but I’ve got one senior (this year).”
FDA jumped out to a quick lead in the first quarter but WHEELS kept it tight thanks to senior Emile Lewis, who seemed locked in from the get-go as he drained two early threes and had eight first quarter points. A suffocating FDA defense and three quick fouls on Lewis, however, threw momentum on the Lions’ side in the second quarter, but FDA headed into the break clinging to a four-point lead. The FDA full-court press made it tough on the WHEELS offense in the second half, when no one aside from Lewis — who finished with 23 points — was able to get into a rhythm.
“That’s the key for us, defense,” Mangan said. “We live and die by the full court defense.”
To complement its stingy defense, FDA got a huge boost from Montalvo, who scored 31 points but still gave all the credit to his teammates. “It was my teammates,” Montalvo said. “They got me the ball where I like to shoot it. “There’s no leading scorer (on this team), it’s everybody. We don’t care who we play, we play every game like it’s our last.”
While Mangan didn’t have revenge on his mind, the win was still sweet. “It’s really hard to win a championship in high school, with so many teams,” Mangan said. “To win a Manhattan borough tournament is the real deal. It’s really special to be the best in your borough.”