Brooklyn, N.Y. — Often Brooklyn High School basketball teams will grab all the headlines on the New York City hoops scene. But Manhattan’s Baruch College Campus High School (3-0) is holding its own early this season, as 18 points from senior forward Dante Conley-Leonardi led the Blue Devils Bearcats to a convincing 79-40 victory over East Side Community at I.S. 96 – Seth Low (Brooklyn) Saturday afternoon in a PSAL Manhattan Class B Boys game.
“Everybody told me when I first took the job this fall, Brooklyn is the place for (the best) players,” first-year Baruch coach Steve Podias said. “So, yeah, sometimes I feel left out of the conversation, but we’ve done fairly well when we scrimmage Brooklyn teams this year.”
And he feels his team is on the rise.
The Tigers (0-5) played with the Blue Devils Bearcats in the first quarter. But Baruch started to distance themselves in the second period. Conley-Leonardi, who Podias said is garnering a lot of college basketball attention, highlighted the quarter by stealing the ball around the hoop, then depositing it in the basket for a 38-18 advantage late in the second quarter.
The Blue Devils Bearcats ending the first half up by a 21-point margin.
Sophomore Tanner Senyigit drilled a three-pointer (44-20) to start off the scoring in the third period for Baruch. Senygit made three treys in the tilt for a total of nine points.
Sophomore David Heller, who finished with 14 points, hit back-to-back buckets to give the Blue Devils Bearcats a 58-24 advantage with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Baruch continued to pour it on in the fourth period, going up by a score of 70-30 after William Li drained one from behind the arc with over six minutes to go in the contest.
The rest of the game was academic for the Blue Devils Bearcats, as they won going away.
Podais believes his team’s success comes down to playing effective defensive off the press, as well as having players with the ability to score on the other end due to the intense defensive pressure.
“We have a lot of answers to questions,” he said. “We can play defense full court. I think, in my league, the team that can press successfully, will win. And we can press very, very well. We can score 14, 15 points in a row because of our press. And the other thing is we run the ball, and have players who could finish.”
Baruch travels to Lab Museum United Monday for a 4:30 p.m. important early-season game.