Survive and advance.
The top-seeded Brooklyn Law and Tech boys basketball team didn’t start off well in its Public Schools Athletic League quarterfinal matchup against Frederick Douglass Academy on March 11, but the Jets weren’t worried about anything except the final score.
Law and Tech kept their season alive with a dominant second half rally en route to a 49–46 victory over Frederick Douglass.
“We started off disjointed on the defensive end, and offensively we were called for about six charges in the first half,” said Jets coach Kenny Pretlow. “I was beginning to feel a little worried about our offense, but I didn’t call any early timeouts because I figured we were going to go on a run. I didn’t expect a 24-2 run though.”
The Jets’ usually high-powered offense was held relatively in check for much of the first half, and the squad faced an 11-point deficit at halftime.
Pretlow said that during the break, he urged his team to refocus their determination and intensity. The Jets looked like a different team in the second half, giving up just three points in the third quarter and moving the ball more quickly on offense.
“Victor [Ogbo] was huge down low in the second half. He locked the paint down for us and came up with important rebounds and blocks,” Pretlow said. “And Mikko [Johnson] took care of the ball and played aggressively.”
Law and Tech looked to its leaders to spark the comeback down the stretch, and no one was more determined than Johnson. The senior guard scored just seven points, but stepped up in a leadership capacity when fellow backcourt mate Larry Moreno was sidelined with early foul trouble.
Johnson directed the offense throughout the second half, leading the Jets on a 28–20 run in the final 16 minutes of play.
“Coach Kenny P told us that the only reason we were down was because they were playing tougher than us,” said Johnson, who also chipped in eight rebounds and ten assists. “And in the second half we toughened up and took the lead back.”
Johnson embraced the physicality of the game late, pushing the ball into the zone and drawing contact. He managed to sink the shot anyway and his teammates took notice, rallying around his play to stave off a fourth-quarter push by Frederick Douglass.
Ogbo’s presence in the post was also crucial to the Jets’ comeback victory. The junior padded his stat line with eight points and 12 rebounds — including six on the offensive glass — giving Law and Tech a handful of second-chance looks that would prove vital in the waning minutes of play. His size down low set the defensive tone, and kept Frederick Douglass from regaining any of its early offensive momentum.
“Our gameplan was centered on defense,” Ogbo said. “Defense is how we win games, coach P tells us that all the time and tonight that was key.”
Law and Tech kept its season alive, and now is eyeing something much bigger — a run at a title. The squad is still perfect against city competition and, right now, the Jets are anxious to stay that way.