By Sean Lynch
BINGHAMTON — Senior guard Brian Moore bit his lip and interlocked his fingers behind his head following his fifth foul with 44 seconds left in the New York Public High School Athletic Association Class AA semifinal.
Wearing maroon & white meant everything to the Tigers’ leading scorer, and he was in shock when he realized he would never play for Kingston again.
He’d show up as early as 7 a.m. at the Kate Walton Fieldhouse to get some shots up before an 8 a.m. practice. He’d go to a gym to get even more shots up — even after a win.
Moore did everything he could to be the best he could be, but tonight, it just wasn’t meant to be.
Kingston lost to Brentwood (Section 8) 74-63 in the last game of six on Saturday night at the Floyd L. Maines Arena in Binghamton.
“It was very hard walking off the floor,” Moore said. “Knowing it was my last time ever playing in high school — it sucks, man. It’s the worst feeling.”
Team: Shot 26/61 (42.6%) from the field and 3/18 (16.7%) on three-pointers; 8/13 on free throws; 31 rebounds; 6 assists
Individual: Brian Moore: 19 points (7/18 FG, 3/3 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists
Shyquan Royal: 14 points (6/13 FG, 2/4 FT), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks
Jimmy Moot: 14 points (6/11 FG, 1/2 FT), 2 rebounds, 3 blocks
Daivel Jackson 12 points (5/10 FG, 2/4 FT), 10 rebounds, 2 blocks
Team: Shot 26/55 (47.3%) from the field and 4/13 (30.8%) on three-pointers; 18/24 on free throws; 35 rebounds; 13 assists
Individual: Bryce Harris: 26 points (8/13 FG, 7/8 FT), 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals
Jordan Riley: 18 points (6/16 FG, 5/6 FT), 4 rebounds, 2 steals
Kenny Lazo: 10 points (2/3 FG, 5/6 FT), 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals
After leading 16-15 after the first quarter, Kingston was outscored 20-11 in the second quarter and trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half. They trailed by five points in three separate instances in the final ten minutes.
“Our goal wasn’t just to be here, it was to get the job done, and we didn’t,” said Kingston head coach Ron Kelder. “When we were in our (2-3) zone, we deflected a lot of passes and it went in their direction and they capitalized on them. Against Mount Vernon, every deflection we had went in our hands, and they didn’t go in our hands today.”
Kingston played their 2-3 zone to perfection last weekend against Mount Vernon, forcing 21 turnovers, with most coming on deflections.
It was Kingston who found themselves turning the ball over — with 16.
“The bright lights didn’t bother Brentwood at all,” added Kelder. “I wouldn’t say we were effected by the bright lights, but we didn’t execute like we usually do offensively. We put the ball on the floor too much and turned the ball over and they made us pay.”
6-foot-5 senior center Daivel Jackson averaged a double-double for the Tigers this season; despite it being only his second year playing organized basketball. Jackson has no regrets to how the season went.
“I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is the greatest team in Kingston history. We put our hearts into every game, which makes it tough to swallow right now. We played with pure passion.”
It’s that same passion that put Moore into tears 14 minutes after the game was over. He sat on an empty crate and ran his hands over his light brown strands of hair and mumbled to himself in despair.
When he moved from New York City to Kingston two years ago, nobody knew who he was.
Two years later, and his name is known by nearly everyone in the city of Kingston. The star, the 1,000 point scorer, the leader of the “greatest team in Kingston history.”