The strategy for the DeWitt Clinton boy’s basketball team was to drive down to Far Rockaway educational campus’ gym at 5 p.m. on Tuesday to catch the first round city playoff game against Queens High School Complex.
Clinton, the No. 3 seed, has a bye in the opening round and instead of waiting for their next opponent; they’re choosing to scout them instead.
The winner of that Far Rockaway (No. 30 seed, 12-4) and Queens Complex (No. 35 seed, 10-6) game is scheduled to play Clinton in the next round March 2.
“We will drive down to Far Rockaway to scout both teams and come up with a game plan that we must execute to be successful come Thursday evening.” Coach Chris Ballerini said. This year, the Governors aren’t taking anyone for granted.
“We are going to take it one game at a time. To be playing Friday is not promised to anyone,” Ballerini added.
That’s the sort of energy and focus this Governors team has shown all season. They may have come up slightly short against the bigger, more accurate Stevenson two weeks ago in the Bronx Borough playoffs, but you couldn’t say it was due to a lack of effort and will.
If we were to look past Thursday’s game for the hyper-focused Clinton and Ballerini, then we’d see some interesting and difficult teams that could come down the line for the Governors. Notably, the top 5 seeds are all the same tournament teams as last year but in a different order, and seeds one through four all made the semifinals – including Clinton, who was the No. 4 seed.
If Clinton advances, the Governors could see No. 6 seed Graphics campus (13-1), who has only lost a close game to Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School. That loss, however, was 10 days after Clinton beat WHEELS handily in a non-league game 63-38.
If Clinton gets past Graphics, they could see No. 7 seed Lehman campus (12-0), the only other undefeated Bronx A team during the regular season. The common opponents they’ve had include Morris educational campus and Longwood Prep Academy, but Clinton beat both teams by wider margins.
Arguably the biggest match-up, however, would be a rematch with No. 2 seed Transit Tech (18-0) from Brooklyn, who beat the Governors in last year’s semifinal game.
The question is if Clinton will show up in the same form they did last year But as Ballerini said: “We are really looking forward to the challenge.”