The storyline was present on Saturday for the 2017 PAL Citywide Championship. Florence E Smith Center (Queens) returned to St Francis College with an extra chip on their shoulders. The Florence E Smith team returned every player from last year’s team that lost in the championship game to a very talented Harlem Center (Manhattan). Their opponent this year’s championship was New South Bronx Center (Bronx) vying for their first championship as well.
The game was a great entertaining game from start to finish. Both teams started out playing with some championship jitters which lead to some early turnovers but as the game got going you could sense the players settle in and play their game. At halftime the score was 37-32 with Queens holding the lead over Bronx. Coach Randy of Florence E Smith Center told his players to step up the intensity on defense and everything else would work itself out. Coach Evan of New South Bronx told his players to settle down and take better shots and that’s exactly what the team did in the second half. They came out hot and made some outside shots vs Queen’s 2-3 zone defense. The game went back and forth with a couple lead changes and momentum shifting from team to team. A costly turnover by the Bronx team in the closing moments of regulation was one of biggest moments of the game. In the overtime period Bronx came out and took the lead but the last final 3 minutes of overtime was all Queens as they locked up the Bronx guards and scored off turnovers.
When the dust settled in overtime, Queens got the redemption that they came for and were crowned the 2017 PAL Intramural Citywide Champions.