- Last Updated: 1:51 AM, March 5, 2012
- Posted: 1:51 AM, March 5, 2012
Boys & Girls has won its share of big games this year, from road victories at Catholic league powers Cardinal Hayes and Christ the King to two wins over bitter rival Lincoln and another over Thomas Jefferson.
Each contest had a common denominator: Leroy (Truck) Fludd was at his best.
That was no different Sunday afternoon as the second-seeded Kangaroos knocked off No. 7 South Shore, 63-51, in the PSAL Class AA boys basketball quarterfinals at St. John’s University.
“He’s that guy who’s been on the two championship teams, he’s been in a lot of big games,” Boys High coach Ruth Lovelace said. “He knows what it takes. He relishes the challenge.”
When the team met at Boys High early Sunday morning, Lovelace asked Fludd if he was prepared for the contest. He laughed. “I was born ready,” he told her.
Fludd came out on fire as such. He scored nine of Boys High’s first 12 points and finished with a game-high 20 as the Brooklyn school returned to the final four for the seventh time in nine years. It will take on No. 3 Lincoln, a 60-57 winner over sixth-seeded Curtis, next Saturday, back at St. John’s, at 5:30 p.m.
“I had to send a message to the other team – it’s the playoffs,” the uncommitted senior said. “They wanted to try to stop me, but they couldn’t.”
His right-handed baseline slam gave the Kangaroos an early 10-point lead, an advantage they would never surrender. They led 29-20 at halftime and South Shore (19-9), bedeviled by turnover woes and 15 missed free throws, never got closer than six the rest of the way.
Fludd has a relatively quiet second half offensively, but teammates such as Bryce Jones (12 points), Rashad Andrews (10) and Courtney Solomon emerged on the offensive end and Shakur Pinder played a major role defending the Vikings forwards inside in helping the Kangaroos hold South Shore to one of its lowest scoring outputs of the year.
“Since I’ve been the coach, that’s been the catalyst to our success,” Lovelace said. “We’re gonna do a great defensively. I think our defense bothered them today.”
It helped that South Shore kept shooting itself in the foot. It never could full get a run together. When the Vikings got within 34-28 midway through the third quarter, Terrence Samuel (eight points) committed a turnover and Shamiek Sheppard (six points) missed everything on a jump shot.
After a Tyrone Johnson basket, South Shore only trailed 52-45 with 2:31 to go, but Fludd hits two free throws and the Kangaroos made 11 of their final 12 attempts at the charity stripe.
The Vikings entered the year as a chic title favored, led by the highly recruited duo of Samuel and Sheppard, yet their season ended once again to Boys & Girls (22-6). Only this time, they didn’t blow a lead. South Shore never had one.
“We just needed to play better,” South Shore coach Mike Beckles said. “We had opportunities to play, we just didn’t take advantage of them.”
While South Shore goes home, Boys High has its sights set on a third straight city championship. To get back to the Garden, the Kangaroos will have to get by fierce rival Lincoln.
“It doesn’t matter who’s in our way,” Lovelace said. “As the No. 2 seed, we’ve had to pay the toughest bracket. Maybe it will be good for us.”
They won two of three matchups from the Railsplitters, though star sophomore Isaiah Whitehead missed the last meeting in the Brooklyn borough playoffs and sustained an ankle injury late in the third quarter of the middle meeting with Lincoln ahead by seven points. Boys High rallied for an overtime win without him.
Fludd, however, isn’t fazed by Whitehead’s return.
“It doesn’t make a difference who’s playing,” he said. “We’re gonna win.”Follow @NYPostsports