Former Canarsie Chief Football Star Accepts Division II LIU Post Offer


By Jerry Del Priore

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Kamari Jones-Hunter and his Mother Nicole at their home in Starrett City, Brooklyn.

Kamari Jones-Hunter and his mother, Nicole, agonized over the numerous college offers he had garnered over the past few months.

The five-eleven, 265-pound nose tackle enjoyed a successful run at Monroe College in New Rochelle, a football program that plays in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

But it came time to decide where Jones-Hunter, 20, who registered 14.5 sacks in his final season with the Mustangs, was going to study and play at the next level.

They said there were over 14 official athletic scholarship offers and expressed interest from Division II colleges.

After going back and forth for a while, Jones-Hunter recently chose LIU Post in Brookville, Long Island, the same school his high school football coach-Kyle Allen at Canarsie Education Campus (CEC)-attended.

Jones-Hunter said most of his conversations with friends and family revolved around what school he was going to go to.

“That’s all everybody asked. Of course, that’s going to be on everybody’s mind,” Jones-Hunter said. “I was stressed out the whole process. I am kind of glad it’s over with.”

Jones-Hunter said Allen didn’t sway him toward his old college, just advised him on the positives and negatives of each school, and left the final choice up to him.

“I just guided the horse to water,” Allen said, “and he drank.”

Though many people believe the defensive stalwart has what it takes to play at a Division I college, including several of his old coaches, Jones-Hunter said D-1 coaches were a little skeptical because he isn’t taller.

But Allen, beaming with pride over his former player, feels LIU Post is still a good fit and opportunity for him—no matter that it’s a D-II program—both academically and athletically.

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Kamari Jones-Hunter at Monroe College.

“First off, I’m real proud of the kid to leave here (CEC) and go to a good academic school, with a successful football program,” Allen said. “It makes me feel good, not only as a coach, but as a parent. He put himself in good position to succeed.”

The Ex-Chief two-way standout, who has turned his academics around since his high school days, said the Pioneers, a team in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), gave him a full ride, including paying for books. Plus, the proximity to Starrett City, Brooklyn, as the main reasons why he selected the school.

In addition, Jones-Hunter said LIU Post’s recent success as a program that finished with a 12-1 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II Championship as another motive for his college choice.

As for what type of person and player the Pioneers will be getting, Monroe College defensive line coach Michael Kennedy Jr. said, “As far as Kamari, I think he is a really special person to be around, and is very loyal. He made coming to work very enjoyable, with not only his humor but his focus and leadership.

“As far as his on the field work ethic, no one was close,” the coach continued. “He brought it and competed every day. Never took days off.”

Though Kennedy didn’t doubt that his lack of height limited his D-I options in some coaches’ eyes, he said it didn’t faze Hunter-Jones one bit when it came time to ball out.

“He consistently played bigger O-linemen and had very good success,” he said. “I think LIU is getting a steal with him.”

Instead of the D-1 passover letting it get him down, Jones-Hunter is using the snub as motivation to succeed, and to set an example for other student-athletes in the similar situation.

“A lot big schools skipped over me because of my height,” said Jones-Hunter, who graduated a semester earlier and is already attending LIU Post.

“I feel by them skipping over me made me want to go back into the lab and work harder and never look back or second guess my talent,” he added. “I plan to show that I’m just as good as any player out there, no matter my size. My heart, love, desire and passion for the game is so strong and I plan to show inner city kids it doesn’t matter where you go; it’s what you do when you get there.”

 

 

 

 

Kamari

 

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Lady Gators’ Delilah Kalle Reaches Career 1000-point HS Basketball Mark


By Jerry Del Priore

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Lady Gators junior guard Delilah Kalle looks to in-bound ball at Msgr. King Basketball Tournament.

When Lab Museum United junior guard Delilah Kalle scored her high school career 1000-point against Seward Park last week, head coach Michael Lloyd called a timeout with approximately a minute left in the first half, and presented her with a trophy for the accolade.

Kalle had scored her 17th point in the game up until that point, but wasn’t fixated on her milestone. It took the dynamic player off guard, to say the least.

“I actually was very surprised,” recollected Kalle, 16, who drained 23 total points in the tilt. “I wasn’t expecting it.”

Moreover, Kalle figured she’d hit the 1000-point mark sometime late this season, but not in the middle of January.

“I didn’t think I would get it so soon. If I were to get it in my junior year, I was thinking late February,” said Kalle, who also plays third base for Lab Museum’s softball team. “But I am pretty proud of myself for getting it now. And I think it’s just been a big goal, and it made me work harder.”

Seeing Kalle play in junior high school, Lloyd beamed with gleefulness as he reflected on her hoops contributions when she first entered the program. But he feels that with a little more commit to the sport, there are a lot more accomplishments left to be had for the five-foot-six-inch sparkplug.

“I am definitely proud of her,” Lloyd said. “I remember seeing her play when she was in another school. And to see her now, I remember her freshman year, she came in right away, working and contributing. I think that now is the situation where if she just focuses on the game a little bit more, she can do more amazing things.”

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Delilah Kalle looks to pass the rock in Lab Museum’s first loss of the season, a 54-46 defeat to Summit Academy at the Holiday Festival Tournament at the school.

Though reaching the momentous individual mark was important to her, Kalle sees the bigger picture. And she believes the Lady Gators can go deep into the PSAL basketball Class A postseason this season because of their white-hot collective desire to win.

“I think we have a good chance to go as far as we like,” she said in all earnest. “We really want to win a (PSAL) Championship, so we can get to Albany and play for the States. And I think that as a team, we’re energized because we really want it.

“I think we have as good of chance, maybe better, than anyone else,” the Upper Eastside naïve continued. “And I think we work well as team, and we have each other’s backs.”

Lab Museum (14-0, 18-2) travels to West 50th Street Campus Friday at 4:30 p.m. for a Manhattan Class A West tilt.

 

 

 

 

Sports Lifestyle Expert Daina Falk Increases Game Day Fan Experience Through Cookbook, Brand


By Jerry Del Priore

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Hungry Fan Daina Falk.

Daina Falk has been immersed in sports practically her whole life. It was commonplace for her to attend sporting events and be around professional athletes, as her father, David, is a pioneering and renowned sports agent, representing athletes the likes of former New York Knick great Patrick Ewing.

So, it wasn’t a surprise when Falk, who studied the culinary arts while living in Florence, Italy and Paris, France, followed in her dad’s sports footsteps. Combining her two passions, Falk created the Hungry Fan® brand, merging food and sports fan culture.

Falk’s widely popular Fangating™ idiom morphed into the Hungry Fan™ platform, which incorporates everything from food and drink to information relating to sports culture and traditions. It also offers product recommendations and tips for a passionate game day enjoyment for sports enthusiasts everywhere.

Hungry Fan’s approach to curating game day for all sports fans is to propose expert solutions for every facet of the experience—whether frenetic fans are celebrating at home, tailgating in a parking lot, at the game, or at a sports bar.

“I am helping sports fans have a great game day,” Falk, 33, said. “There was nobody in that space. It was so genuine of who I am and how I grew up.”

Falk’s popularity grew under her Hungry Fan™ platform, evident by social media presence in which she currently reaches an audience of approximately 125,000 active participants, that her publisher asked her to write a book.

The outcome: The Hungry Fan’s® Game Day Cookbook, which hit bookshelves and online stores in August of 2016. The book includes 165 recipes, mostly her own, but some of which she collected from professional athletes and Olympians, such as LeBron James, Boomer Esiason, Michael Jordan and Andre Agassi.

While tailgating and game day foods aren’t exactly healthy, Falk—who lost 60 pounds several years ago, which she says she maintains through a healthy lifestyle—has tackled the dilemma with simple recommendations and ingredient substitutions in the book that are waistline-friendlier.

“I think a big part of it is portion control,” the Manhattan resident explained, who played on the Women’s Club Tennis Team at Duke University. “If you’re like me, you eat healthy six days a week. There’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself to have a cheeseburger. Plus, allow yourself to have what you want, but keep portion control in mind.”

More importantly, though, Falk offers up simple suggestions on making game day fare healthier, like replacing sour cream with low-fat Greek yogurt, and adding just a splash of olive oil to improve its taste and consistency. In addition, she says use a 100 percent whole wheat bun on your burger instead of the white bread variety.

Here are a few recipes (health and not-as-healthy food) from The Hungry Fan’s® Game Day Cookbook:

Bacon Hummus (Makes about 1 3⁄4 cups)

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Bacon Hummus? Yes, please!!

8 strips bacon

1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

5 ice cubes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 crushed cloves garlic

1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cooking directions:

  1. Brown the bacon in a large skillet over medium-low for 15 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate, and reserve the drippings in the skillet.
  2. Purée the bacon and its drippings in a food processor until smooth, not grainy (or as minimally grainy as possible). Alternatively, purée 6 slices, and reserve 2 for garnish. Add the chickpeas, and blend well, adding in 1 ice cube at a time. (This helps to make it creamy.)
  3. Add the oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper, and blend again until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl, and crumble the remaining 2 slices of bacon over the top.
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Try some Black Bean Salsa!!!!

Black Bean Salsa (Contributor: Mark Schlereth; Makes about 3 cups)

This is Mark’s black bean salsa recipe, which he recommends you serve with his Green Chile Eggs Benedict.

1 (14-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup Homemade Salsa (see below)

1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Juice and zest of 1 lime

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the black beans, salsa, cilantro, and lime juice, and zest ingredients in a bowl. Season with the salt and pepper, and stir well.

To purchase a copy of the cookbook, visit Amazon.com, or other online bookstores. To learn about Faulk and her brand, log onto http://hungryfan.com.

Should Trevor Hoffman Get the Call to the Hall?


By Jerry Del Priore

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Trevor Hoffman, who served as a coach for Team Great Britian at the World Baseball Classic Qualifier in September at MCU Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn, signs autographs for fans.

On Wednesday, at 6:00 p.m. ET, Major League Baseball will announce its 2017 Hall of Fame class.

One name creating a measure of HOF consideration, and speculation, is former All-Star closer Trevor Hoffman, who is on the ballot for the second year (he received 296 votes, 67.3 percent of the casted ballots in 2016, with 75 percent granting eligibility).

It seems what HOF voters struggle with the most is enshrining closers with baseball’s highest honor. The game’s traditionalists don’t view a modern-day fireman’s role of coming in at the end of the game for just one inning, regardless of the success rate, that it warrants a spot in the Hall.

As proof, only five are currently honored with plaques in Cooperstown, all of which also started some of their time in the majors.

Furthermore, some media and fans alike don’t view Hoffman as dominate a closer as Hall Famer Bruce Sutter and sure-fire, future honoree Mariano Rivera.

Perhaps playing most of his career on the Westcoast with the San Diego Padres limited his visibility?

However, the facts remain as this: Hoffman, a shortstop in high school, college, and early in the minors, saved 601 games—second all-time—converting nearly 89 percent of his opportunities (Baseballreference.com).

The “Hells Bells” reliever may be hurt by his lackluster performance in the 1998 World Series against the New York Yankees.

But the former San Diego Padre was one of the most reliable closers during his era, one marred by enhanced PED sluggers (and yes, some pitchers did use as well, but more hitters partook, if one had to guess).

Hoffman, who had one of his kidneys removed at six weeks old due to an arterial blockage, shouldn’t worry. The 49-year-old Bellflower, Calif., native possessed one of the best changeups in baseball history, and should get the requisite votes this year, many baseball insiders believe.

In fact, ESPN has 17 voters particpating this year, and they have him in at 76.5 percent.

If not, with his strong voter support last year, he has enough time to gain HOF access in the next few years.

Only time will tell, though.

Lady Gators Bite Back to Finish Strong in Msgr. King Basketball Tournament


By Jerry Del Priore

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Sophomore Dasha Goodman all smiles as Lab Museum is comfortably in control late in the game Monday against Scholars’ Academy.

After losing to Fontbonne Hall Saturday, Lab Museum United rebounded and easily beat Port Richmond Sunday and The Scholars’ Academy Monday at the 48th annual Msgr. King Basketball Tournament at St. Thomas Aquinas Gym in Brooklyn.

The Lady Gators (12-0, 16-2) made short work of the Seawolves, routing them, 82-61, in the second consolation game of the competition on Monday. It helped them secure fifth place, head coach Michael Lloyd said.

Sophomore guard Kayla Bridgeman led Lab Museum’s charge with 22 points. Junior guard Wei Jing Lam followed with 13 points and senior forward Rianne John had 12. Sophomore guard Dasha Goodman and freshman forward Melanie Earle dropped in 10 each.

Scholars’ Academy sophomore guard Kelsey Flynn drained a team-high 18 points while sophomore forward Misa Dowdell chipped in with 17.

On Sunday, the Lady Gators dismantled Staten Island’s Lady Red Raiders, 61-39.

John poured in a game-high 17 points while Goodman and freshman guard Anna Kitch scored 10 and nine, respectively.

Freshman guard/forward Mary Lee Mitchell paced Port Richmond (3-5, 8-7) with 14 points.

Though Lloyd would like to see his team play a little tidier, he said he was happy to see his girls recover and win the last two games. However, the main point his continues to drive home to Lab Museum is to have faith in the natural progression of its system.

“We played a little sloppy, but we went 2-1, and that’s not bad. We took the first loss, but bounced back from it,” Lloyd said after Monday’s tilt. “But, we just got to keep working and get better. Everybody’s got to remember their roles, understand their roles, and understand the process. And believe in the process.”

Lab Museum returns to PSAL Class A action Wednesday versus High School of Environmental Studies 4:45 at home.

 

 

Lab Museum’s Second Half Collapse Leads to Defeat to Fontbonne Hall at Msgr. King Hoops Tournament


By Jerry Del Priore

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Lab Museum sophomore forward Melaine Earle gets ready for the action in a 63-55 loss to Fontbonne Hall at the 48th Annual Msgr. King Basketball Tournament at St. Thomas Aquinas Saturday night.

The Lady Gators fared well in the first half, in which their determined effort helped them take a 28-27 lead into the locker room against Fontbonne Hall.

But Lab Museum United (12-0, 14-2) failed to sustain any type of momentum in the second half, losing, 63-55, to the Bonnies Saturday in the first round of the 48th annual Msgr. King Basketball Tournament at St. Thomas Aquinas in Brooklyn.

Lady Gators head coach Michael Lloyd believes that, though their offense sputtered at times, it was their defense, which creates lots of offensive opportunities off stops and turnovers, that ultimately led to their demise.

“We got cold (offensively), but once again, it’s our defense,” Lloyd explained. “Our defense gives us certain easier looks. I feel we had a game plan, and I don’t think we executed it well. In terms of just fighting, they kept punching. Fontbonne, I have to give them all the credit. We took some of the punches, but we didn’t throw much back.”

Junior guard Delilah Kalle scored six points to help Lab Museum jump out to a 15-12 first quarter advantage.

Sophomore Kayla Bridgeman drained a free throw to complete a three-point play that helped the Lady Gators build a six-point lead with 6:42 left in the second period.

Fontbonne battled back, however, overtaking Lab Museum, 27-26, with less than 20 seconds remaining in the second quarter. But Sophomore guard Dasha Goodman hit two from the charity stripe to give the Lady Gators a one-point advantage at the half.

Unfortunately for Lab Museum, its defense couldn’t stop the Bonnies in the third period, as the opposition surged ahead, 47-41, at the end of the quarter. 

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Lady gators Junior guard Delilah Kalle looks to in-bound ball.

 Fontbonne claimed its biggest lead of the contest when junior guard Breanne McDonnell sank two foul shots to swell its margin to 16 points with 2:26 to go in the tilt.

It was too much of a lead for Lab Museum to surmount in the end, as the Bonnies dribbled away with the victory.

Kalle led the Lady Gators with 15 points while Goodman and Bridgeman scored 14 and 10, respectively.

McDonnell dropped  a contest-high 28 points for Fontbonne.

Lab Museum faces Port Richmond in the Tournament’s consolation game Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

 

 

 

 

College Basketball Recruiting Heats Up for Lab Museum’s Rianne John


College Basketball Recruiting Heats Up for Lab Museum’s Rianne John

By Jerry Del Priore

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Senior forward Rianne John poses after a practice at Lab Museum United.

Richard John wanted his daughter, Rianne, to participate in some type of sport as a freshman at Lab Museum United High School in Chelsea, Manhattan.

“When she came into high school, I told her I wanted her to get into a sport in her freshman year,” Richard said. “I told her to pick a sport, any sport, I didn’t care.”

He said it wasn’t until Rianne’s sophomore year when she decided to sign up for tennis, volleyball and basketball.

Though Rianne didn’t have any organized basketball experience at the time, she decided to choose hoops in her second year at the school because her dad’s love of the sport infected her, too.

It’s now paying dividends for the senior as she said she’s garnering interest from college basketball programs, including Division 2 Niagara University, and Division 3 State University at Old Westbury and Buffalo University, along with the school she has her heart set on—D3 SUNY Purchase.

Getting recruited wasn’t something John saw as a possibility because she wasn’t as good as her teammates in her sophomore year, she noted. That all changed over time, however, as hard work on the hardwood changed her mindset.

“When I started, and I saw my other teammates, how talented they were, I didn’t think it was possible,” the Lefferts Garden, Brooklyn, native explained of receiving college basketball interest. “But playing in the summer with coach and the spring, and just throughout the season, coming to practices, and developing, I saw that I slowly began to improve. And that I could potentially be like the girls I saw playing in my sophomore year.”

However, life as a student-athlete was something new to her at first, and Richard said his daughter needed to work on it to get right. All she needed was a good example: her Mother.

“The transition of balancing basketball and school was rough for the first year,” he said. “And she got behind last year, her most important year, junior year, but she’s picking it up now. She just took her SAT two weeks ago. As with basketball, she’s heading in the right direction, because her mother’s back in college, and she now sees the work you that have to put in. And she’s supper, super focused.”

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Rianne and Richard John share a special Dad-Daughter bond that is strengthen by basketball.

John is enjoying a fine season thus far, averaging 8.89 points per game along with eight rebounds through nine tilts for the Lady Gators, who are 9-0 in the Manhattan Class A West division.

Typically utilized as the muscle of the squad, the five-eight, 160-pound forward scored a season-high 20 points in a lopsided 96-14 winning effort against the High School of Economics & Finance Friday night at home.

“I want her to be our anchor on defense, our inside presence,” Lab Museum United head coach Michael Lloyd said. “I definitely want her to control the boards, run the rim, and kind her be like an old-school big man post player that’s missing from the game.”

While John started her basketball career late, Lloyd lauded his player for her ability to overcome her inexperience, and improve to the point of getting noticed by colleges.

“She’s definitely a late bloomer,” Lloyd said. “But it just shows you if you keep working hard and got good teaching fundamentals and a good work ethic, you can catch up. She’s getting recruited by several schools. She just works.” 

South Shore Lady Vikings Continue Its Hoops Dominance With Convincing Win Over Wagner


By Jerry Del Priore

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Earlette Scott awaits for ball to be in-bound at South Shore vs. Wagner game last week, which was won by the Lady Vikings, 67-41, at Midwood.

After routing Wagner, 67-41, at Midwood High School last week, South Shore looks prime for a trip to Madison Square Garden in March for a chance at a three-peat PSAL girls basketball championship. 

South Shore (3-0, 7-2) established early dominance, dribbling out to a commanding 23-10 lead in the first period. The Lady Vikings didn’t let up in the second quarter, outscoring the Lady Seahawks 14-9 for a 37-19 advantage going into the locker room.

South Shore’s aggressive defense locked down on Wagner (5-2, 9-4), limiting the opposition to two points in the third period, while scoring 18 of its own for a comfortable 55-21 lead.

At that point, the rest of the game was at hand, as the Lady Vikings held a sizable 34-point margin over the Lady Seahawks going into the last period. But Wagner performed much better in the fourth quarter – albeit against backups – posting 20 points to South Shore’s 12.

Though the Lady Vikings have been flattening the local competition thus far, head coach Anwar Gladden said he’s isn’t permitting his girls to take their foot off the collective gas pedal. South Shore has been playing tough competition in non-league games, hoping to prepare themselves for bigger things this season.

“We’re just trying to get better every day,” Gladden said after the game. “We went 3-1 down in Myrtle Beach. The girls looked good; they bonded. So, we’re going to keep working. We’re trying to get to the states (championships).”

Senior guard Tsahai Corbie poured in 13 points while junior forward/center Jasmine Johnson chipped in with nine.

The Lady Vikings kickoff a busy month of action in January as they travel to Brooklyn Collegiate Thursday at 5:00 p.m. for a PSAL Class “AA” tilt.

Lab Museum Suffers First Loss of Basketball Season at Holiday Festival Tournament


By Jerry Del Priore

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Sophomore Forward Melaine Earle gets for play to start again.

It had to happen at some point in the season, Lab Museum head coach Michael Lloyd believed. He said it would’ve been difficult to go perfect for the regular season, as the Lady Gators were upended, 54-46, by Summit Academy in the championship game at the Lab Museum United Holiday Festival tournament.

“This was a learning experience,” Lloyd said. “It’s still early in the year, with this being our tenth game. So, we’re going into the new year, and now we can start off with a different mindset. Hopefully this is a blessing in disguise.”

Lab Museum (7-0, 9-1) led, 19-17, after the first period, with freshman guard Nina Hennessy dropping in six points. The Lady Gators extended their slight advantage to 28-24 at the half.

Summit (4-3, 6-5), however, took the lead at 33-32 midway through the third quarter. The Lady Eagles tacked on eight more points to Lab Museum’s three to widen the gap to five at the end of the period.

Summit proved too much for the Lady Gators in the end, outscoring them, 13-10, in the fourth quarter to secure the victory, and

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Junior guard Delilah Kalle looks to pass the rock in Lab Museum’s first loss of the season, a 54-46 defeat to Summit Academy at the Holiday Festival Tournament at the school.

deliver the host squad’s first loss of the campaign. Though the offense failed to click, Lloyd believed it was his team’s poor defensive play that led to their ultimate demise.

“I thought we started to play a little tight when our shots weren’t fallen. But I don’t think the offense was our problem,” Lloyd explained. “Defensively, we didn’t do a good job. Usually our defense creates our offense. We get a stop, and get an easy basket—a layup or two—that kind of gets you going. We didn’t have many of those today.” 

In addition, Lloyd said the Lady Eagles’ size advantage hurt Lab Museum in the rebounding department.

“They killed us on the boards,” he said. “I don’t know what the numbers were on the boards, but they killed us.”

Junior guard Delilah Kalie led the Lady Gators with 11 points while Hennessey chipped in with 10. Summit sophomore point guard Daysiah Smith scored a game-high 20 points.

Lab Museum defeated Bryant the night before to advance to the finals.

Lab Museum squares off against Millennium at John Jay Campus Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.