BAYSIDE, NY - When a player has a rough game against a team, the best thing he can do is get them back if and when he sees that team again. That is exactly what Omar Williams of Cardozo did on Thursday when the Judges took on Bayside.
After scoring just 5 points and fouling out in the 3rd quarter when Cardozo lost to Bayside in late December, Williams was upset and had this game on his mind ever since. He took out all his anger and frustration on Thursday going off for 32 points as he helped his Cardozo team even the season series with Bayside, taking them down 78-69.
Leading up to this clash, Cardozo coach Ron Naclerio joked to Williams about his status in Queens.
"I told him in Queens they know about Williams, Austin Williams, not Omar," Naclerio said.
With that in mind, Cardozo's Williams got off to a hot start scoring 13 points in the first half including 3 threes. Travis Flagg, the transfer from Hudson Catholic in New Jersey, also started off well for the Judges. He played solid on ball defense and connected on a couple long range shots as Cardozo hit 7 first half three balls and took early control.
Bayside did counter in the name of Cantrell Barker who was shifty and elusive in getting free of defenders and finding space to hit 3 threes of his own in the half. Bayside's Williams also had a nice first half getting into the lane and creating at the rim and being a facilitator of the offense. The Commodores seemed right back in the game late in the half, but Kyle Credle stuck a couple big baskets late to give Cardozo the 38-30 lead at the break.
Control of the game seemed to flip in the 3rd quarter as Bayside outscored Cardozo 22-12 in the period behind Brandon King who knocked down a couple of long threes from the wings, and Barker who used his speed to get out on the break and control tempo for the Commodores. The shots that were falling for Cardozo in the 1st half, were not in the 3rd quarter and Bayside took a 2 point lead going to the 4th.
After King hit a left corner to 3 to open the 4th quarter, Bayside had their largest lead of the game at 55-50, and the packed Cardozo crowd seemed stunned, but that's when Omar came to the rescue.
It seemed to be a 2nd wind that Williams had found. After scoring just 2 points in the 3rd quarter, he put in 17 in the 4th including a pair of bombs from NBA range. Bayside hung tough though and tied the game back up at 65 after a pair of Barker FT's, but Williams kept taking the ball and finishing from long range and at the rim. Williams, along with a couple big shots by Credle late helped Cardozo finish the game on a 12-4 run in the last 2:20 to see the Judges get their revenge and beat Bayside 78-69.
Williams led all scorers for Cardozo with the aforementioned 32 points, while Flagg and Credle added 17 and 13 respectively. Barker ended up pacing Bayside with 25 points in the loss, with King putting in 13.
The 32 was a career high for Williams, and he admitted that the first game has haunted him for almost 2 months leading up this encounter.
"I was out for revenge. I had it on my mind and took it all out today," Williams said.
Not only was Williams the man for Cardozo, but after a game like that, Bayside coach Cory Semper could only tip his cap to the performer with the big time game.
"Omar killed us. I mean on the H.S. level from where he was shooting some of those shots, you don't really see them from out that far," Semper said.
Naclerio, who razzed Williams leading up to the game, only had praise for the senior's game afterwards.
"He had some chutzpah that's for sure. What he did today was really something special," a happy Naclerio said.
It wasn't just revenge that Cardozo got with the win, but the #1 seed in the Queens Borough Playoffs which begin on Tuesday. That was something else that made Williams happy, but was he satisfied with just getting revenge?
"The #1 seed, that means a lot, but it's not enough. I'm not satisfied so when we see them again I'm going to take all my aggression from my game at Bayside out on them again," Williams said.
It was a big time performance from Cardozo, and from a player who at least for today can say he is the best Williams in Queens.