Anthony Prescott felt sporadic shots of pain in his lower back. He was bleeding from his lip, a napkin soaking up the blood.
Forgive Eagle Academy if it didn’t feel bad for Transit Tech’s star point guard as he left the Bronx school on Feb. 16. The 13th-seeded Eagles’ pain is much worse – their season is over – and Prescott is the reason why after dropping 32 points in a 74-56 victory in the opening round of the PSAL Class AA playoffs.
Prescott incurred the bumps after drawing a charge in the first quarter and Transit Tech coach Mike Perazzo asked if he wanted to go to the hospital.
“He looked at me and laughed,” Perazzo said.
The performance was no laughing matter.
Prescott sank six of No. 20 Transit Tech’s 12 3-pointers and scored nine first-quarter points, helping the Express race out to a 22-8 lead. The differential grew to 39-16 after a Prescott 3 before Eagle awoke, but by then it was too late. The deficit never got closer than eight, as Transit Tech answered every run with a 3-pointer or key defensive stop.
The win held even more significance for Prescott since he plays during the summer with several Eagles on the Abyssinian Church AAU team. The program’s coach, Ghandhi Martin, was in attendance.
“It was bragging rights,” Prescott said. “I came in even more focused.”
On paper, the victory was an upset, but that’s not taking into account geography. Transit Tech hails from Brooklyn AA, the best division in the city which his home to four of the top seven seeds, including No. 1 Lincoln and No. 2 Boys & Girls.
“I think we’re a pretty good team and we’re a better team than people give us credit for,” Perazzo said. “We’re certainly capable of beating good teams.”
As is often the case, the Express have improved as the season has gone on, even if their 3-11 league record doesn’t illustrate such progress. Junior forward Richard Williams (15 points) has developed more confidence at both ends of the floor, sophomore Matt Banton is one of the top underclassman guards in the PSAL and Prescott has taken on a leadership role after a shaky middle of the season.
Without forwards like Rhamel Brown and Barry Posey, who were linchpins in recent years, Transit Tech relies on the perimeter jumper. When it goes in, like it did against Eagle, the East New York school is dangerous.
“We just have to rebound,” Prescott said. “That’s our main focus for the playoffs.”
Prescott missed four games for disciplinary reasons, but has come on of late, averaging 14 points per game in league play. He certainly was sharp on Wednesday, whether it was making long jump shots, setting up teammates off the dribble or getting into the lane and finishing himself.
“He’s one of the best players in the city and he hasn’t gotten the recognition that he deserves because we haven’t been very successful this year,” Perazzo said. “But he’s played terrific games we saw.”