Tag Archives: Ron Naclerio

Cardozo HS boys basketball team wins city crown


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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There has been lots of murmuring about Benjamin Cardozo sophomore guard Rashond Salnave being one of the best basketball players in the city.

Expect those whispers to grow louder after his performance in the PSAL Division AA city championship on Saturday, March 9.

Trailing the Thomas Jefferson Orange Wave by one point at the Barclays Center, Salnave drove hard to the basketball and was fouled while shooting with 2.5 seconds remaining. The shot didn’t go in, but then, despite enormous pressure weighing on him, the sophomore buried two free throws to win the game, 55-54.

“I was nervous, too,” Salnave said. “I’ve been in those situations before, it’s just that the situations before weren’t as big as this one. Some people say I’m only a sophomore and it’s a big feeling, but I knew what I had to do.”

Salnave finished with 16 points, and was 10 of 12 from the free-throw line, to help lead the Cardozo Judges to their first city crown since 1999. He was the undisputed recipient of the league’s MVP award.

After the final buzzer, Salnave and Cardozo head coach Ron Naclerio cried and shared a hug. It was an emotional win because during the 15-year drought between city titles for the Judges, Naclerio said the team faced many hardships, including losing a player he “considered a son” to another school, and Naclerio’s own suspension of a few games during the playoffs last year after he tossed the Queens Borough Championship runner-up plaque.

Naclerio satirically cradled the championship trophy from the time he received the golden basketball, and didn’t let it go while taking tons of pictures with fans, then walking through the halls of the Barclays Center, then during the press conference with reporters, and even in the locker room.

Cardozo senior Francisco Williams embodies the difficulties the team faced during its drought. Williams started as a freshman at the high school, but personal problems, such as joining the wrong crowd and health issues with his mother, forced him to transfer schools. But this academic year he transferred back to Cardozo, and became one of the team’s most complete players.

Williams added 21 points and six rebounds in the win, and was a dominant defensive presence under the rim. The senior was so happy that his return helped win a championship that he was looking to celebrate in a special way.

“I’m really excited,” Williams said. “We’re going to stay up all night tonight. I’ll probably play 2K (NBA 2K14 video game) and go to Hooters.”

 

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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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