By Joseph Staszewski
Kamari Murphy’s shoulder is safe.
“[Chaz Williams] said he wanted me to have a good game,” Murphy said. “If I didn’t he was going to give me birthday punches.”
The sophomore’s 12 points and 13 rebounds was enough to spare him the 16 jabs and Williams added a game-high 23 points to help Bishop Ford hold on for a 46-41 win over Forest Hills at the PSAL-CHSAA Challenge at Baruch College Sunday.
“I told him I expected more from him today because it is his birthday,” Williams said. “He did his part and I did mine and we came out with the victory once again.”
Even after what appeared to be solid statistical performances and Bishop Ford win, Williams still wasn’t happy. The Hofstra-bound point guard watched his team nearly give back a double-digit fourth-quarter lead, even with Forrest Hills shooting poorly on the other end of Falcon mistakes. Forrest Hills (2-5) shot just 22.8 percent for the game and 53.8 percent from the line.
“We were kind of disappointed all around with our performance,” Williams said. “We didn’t get out and run like we usually do.”
Maurice Harkless (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Andre Armstrong (15 points) helped lead a furious Forrest Hills fourth quarter comeback. Harkless’ putback cut the Falcon’s lead to 43-41 with 10.7 seconds left. Williams connected on 1-of-2 free throw to put Bishop Ford (4-0) up three. But the Rangers were then charged with a technical foul after calling time out with none left as they struggled to get the ball in bounds, as comeback fell just short.
“Playing hard for three minutes doesn’t justify not playing hard for 29,” Forest Hills coach Ben Chobhaphand said. “I don’t want to make excuses for the kids, but you can’t not play hard for 29 minutes and expect to beat Bishop Ford.”
The Rangers led early, but then watched William and Murphy change the momentum. Williams started scoring and dishing in the lane. He went untouched through the middle of the lane at times and other times did a great job drawing contact.
“We wanted him to get the ball and take it to the basket,” Bishop Ford coach Dan Infortunio said. “We want our guys to get to the rim and draw the fouls. ”
Murphy’s four blocks stopped Forrest Hills from doing just that until the final mintues. His presence had the Rangers changing their shots to avoid contact on the basket an in the lane.
“Kamari had some blocks in the beginning that had my big men hesitating,” Chobhaphand said.
The performance still needs to be better for Bishop Ford as it plays a league game against St. John’s Prep on Tuesday and then heads to Christ the King Friday night.
“Give us today first, then Tuesday and then we’ll get ready for Friday,” Williams said. “That’s going to be the biggest test for our team. Not a lot of people see us as one of the premier teams in the city. We are a good team, from the one to the five.”