Jessie Sapp Sparkles At Showcase

Jessie Sapp has a great first half and helps lead the Gauchos to a playoff victory

The New York City Gauchos basketball program has always maintained the same offensive philosophy – get the ball to the rim. It was never more evident than last night's first-round playoff game against the Illinois Warriors at the Showcase in the Disney Wide World of Sports complex. And the main warrior who took it upon himself especially in the first half was Jessie Sapp, who torched Illinois for 18 of his 24 points during the first 16 minutes of play.

Because of Sapp's outstanding effort, the Gauchos advanced to today's quarterfinals with a 73-68 win. But in the true style of the Gauchos, they managed to make a double digit lead disappear with three minutes to go as the Warriors cut the lead to one point with about 28 seconds left in the game.

But two clutch free throws by Weyinmi Efejuku sealed the Gauchos' victory. Efejuku finished the game with 18 points and helped the Gauchos play keep away in the final three minutes of the game.

The Gauchos led 46-41 at the half and 59-51 after three quarters. When outstanding rising senior Julian Wright fouled out with 1:30 left in the game, it looked like Illinois was finished. But the Warriors narrowed the lead to just a single point until the clutch free-throw shooting.

"I felt really good to start the game," said Sapp. "They had beaten us before in Virginia. So we wanted to win this one bad. They are a tough team. But we are a tough team too."

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