Tag Archives: judges

Judges dominate on the court


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

The Benjamin N. Cardozo Judges, the top team in the borough (PSAL 10-0), were reminded to “play Cardozo basketball” before trouncing Martin Van Buren (PSAL 4-7) and keeping their undefeated record.

Both teams were without their starting point guards, Van Buren’s Darron Williams and Cardozo’s Rashond Salnave, at Tuesday night’s game but play stayed strong on both ends of the court.

“Other players had to step up,” said Van Buren head coach Everton Edwards. “We do what we do. Basketball games are won in between the lines. You have to go out and believe you can win.”

Although the Van Buren VeeBees played like they believed they could win, Cardozo set the stage with a successful layup just 10 seconds into the game.

Both teams were slow on shots throughout the first quarter, but remained physical on play. Judges forward Armando Dunn and power forward Carl Edoua Balthazar continued to snatch the ball right from the VeeBees’ hands whenever they had the opportunity.

With three minutes left, VeeBees guard Vladimir Midy faked right, sank a jump shot and got the foul for a four-point play. Forward Kristian Mondesir from Cardozo rebounded the ball and responded with a three-point shot, ending the quarter at 12-6 Cardozo.

The second quarter opened with four successful quick shots, back-to-back from both teams. Dunn blocked a VeeBees’ shot attempt and Judges’ guard Marzuq Jimoh grabbed the ball and ran with it, scoring on the other end of the court.

“If you need 30 seconds, tell me,” Ron Naclerio, Cardozo head coach, yelled to the out-of-breath Jimoh after he made his shot.

Van Buren started making long passes around the perimeter, sending Cardozo players chasing after the ball. In the final minutes of the half, the VeeBees outscored the Judges 6-2.

After halftime, the Judges slumped back onto the court, looking defeated.

Naclerio shouted: “Play Cardozo basketball!” before his team started play.

Center Francisco Williams acknowledged his coach, took the ball and easily sank a layup to start off the half, bringing the score to 24-17 Cardozo, and the team was suddenly revived.

Van Buren missed their following shot and the rebound was snagged by Cardozo point guard Elijah McNeely, who dribbled down the court and sent a sharp pass to Williams in the paint.

The VeeBees continued to play hard but fell short in executing their shots. With 49 seconds left in the game, Edwards used a full time-out despite a 17-point deficit.

After Cardozo got their energy back, they were able to win 53-35, but not without scaring the crowd just a little.

“That was a good game, it made us sweat,” said a group of Cardozo parents.

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Heejun Han sent home on ‘American Idol’


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Phil Mcarten / FOX

For the second straight week, Heejun Han found himself in American Idol’s bottom three. This time though, neither viewer votes, nor the judges were able to save him.

Han was joined in the bottom three last night by Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh, but it was Han whose Idol dreams were ended.

After host Ryan Seacrest announced that Han received the least votes, Steven Tyler informed the 22-year-old that the judges would not be using their one save on him.

After the show Jennifer Lopez consoled Han, saying she wanted to save him, but couldn’t.

Han advanced as far as fellow Queens crooner Pia Toscano made it last year. Both finished in ninth place in the singing competition.

In his Idol exit interview, Han said he felt surprisingly upbeat.

“I feel great actually,” the Flushing-native said, “This is not as bad as I thought it would be. I feel like I showed what I got and I finished with a high note.”

Han’s performance of “A Song For You” on Wednesday night’s show drew a standing ovation and praise from the judges.

“Finally the Heejun that we selected came back to us tonight,” Randy Jackson said. “Welcome back.”

“It was my first time getting a standing anything and it happened to be Steven, Randy and Jennifer, so it was an awesome experience.” Han said.

One aspect of the show that he said he will miss though is the stage and everyone cheering for him.

“Stay crazy, stay humble and stay with me. It’s only going to get crazier,” Han tweeted after last night’s show.

By making it to the top ten, Han guaranteed his spot on the Idol concert tour that will kick off this summer.

Two Queens contestants make it to American Idol’s top 24


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Fox

Hundreds of thousands of “American Idol” hopefuls were narrowed down to 24 over the past month, with two Queens crooners making the cut.

Heejun Han, of Flushing, and Astoria’s Creighton Fraker both withstood the auditions, Hollywood and a trip to Las Vegas to make it to the shows semifinals round, and now have the opportunity to sing live in front of America, hopefully earning the viewers’ votes.

Fraker grew up as a preacher’s kid in South Dakota, finding his voice in church choirs and local boys’ singing groups. He took private lessons throughout the years and eventually joined a touring choir, serenading audiences across the nation.

The 28 year old moved to Astoria eight years ago.

For his turn in front of the judges, Fraker belted out Smokey Robinson’s “Who’s Lovin’ You,” as well as an untitled original piece.

“[The judges] had only good things to say. They were shocked at how unique I was,” Fraker told The Courier.

READ CREIGHTON FRAKER’S INTERVIEW WITH THE QUEENS COURIER

Han, 22, originally from Korea, shocked the judging triumvirate with his audition performance of “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” by Michael Bolton.

“You have a beautiful tone,” Jennifer Lopez told Han, who said he loves singing Soul and R&B.

Han’s Facebook fan page already has nearly 8,000 likes.

In their final performances before the judges, both Fraker and Han paid homage to their hometown singing Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.”

The semifinalists will be sliced in half during next week’s round. The men will perform Tuesday night with the women singing for the “Idol” lives on Wednesday. Viewer votes will determine the 12 finalists who will compete to become the 11th American Idol on Thursday.  Each show airs on Fox 5 at 8 p.m.

Additional reporting by Alexa Altman