Forest Hills is peaking. And at just the right time.
Backed by 15 points and 13 rebounds, Forest Hills defeated a reeling 67-53 Thursday to claim second place in the Queens AA division. It was Forest Hills' sixth win in seven games. Bayside has lost two straight.
The Rangers (10-4 Queens AA) relied on outside shooting, hustle, and Torres' spirited post play to grab the win. Bayside (14-8. 9-5 in Queens AA) is struggling to regain its early season form. The Commodores finished in third place in Queens AA.
Bayside had defeated Forest Hills 56-55 on Jan. 4
Hero: Follow the action: there's Jose Torres. For Forest Hills' 6-foot-5 center, making contact is an art form. He bulls, he grapples, he grits. Torres scores nearly all of his points in the paint, many the result of a fevered effort. This guy's a pleasure to watch, and he does not quit.
Turning Point: A third-quarter run sparked by Torres cemented Forest Hills' victory. It started when Antoine Tutt found Torres downcourt for a layup. After a runner by Denzel Dulin, Torres blocked Alonso Pizarro's shot. On the ensuing break Nick Padgett took the ball on the wing and buried a momentous 3, giving Forest Hills a 45-34 lead with 1:15 in the third and firm control of the game.
Quotable: Jose Torres on the extremely physical on-court play during the heated rivalry game; "I fell on the floor about eight times. They were hitting me, they were talking trash. It doesn't matter. I've got blood on my shorts," said Forest Hills center Jose Torres after scoring 15 points with 13 rebounds in the win.
"We've been on a slide lately," said Bayside coach , adding, "We haven't been working hard in practice. Whoever is going to work the hardest is going to win."
Bottom Line: After a brutal early-season schedule that included Boys and Girls and Wings Academy and troubles finding the right balance, Forest Hills is looking sharp. Bayside has an impressive crop of young talent, but they don't always play hard, nor make good decisions.
Key Stat: Forest Hills shot 14-of-18 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
Who's Next: Forest Hills will host Jamaica High School on Tuesday in the Queens Borough playoffs Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. Bayside hosts Beach Channel in the Queens borough playoffs on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Box Score:Teams Q1 Q1 Q3 Q4 Final Bayside 13 14 10 16 53 Forest Hills 22 9 17 19 67