The FDR High School Presidents were riding high when they faced off against the Marlboro Iron Dukes for a home basketball game on Jan. 24. FDR had just keyed three straight wins over Dover, New Paltz, and Rondout Valley, beating each opponent by at least 15 points.
But Marlboro had other plans for the Presidents, and they left with a 67-58 win.
There was little-to-no mojo early for either team, with both the Dukes and the Presidents playing heavy defense with a high, half-court press. FDR didn’t get on the board until Rubin Jimenez put down a field goal at 5:01. Jimenez was FDR’s offensive catalyst on the evening, scoring 19 points and tying for the scoring lead with Marlboro’s Julian Allen. It was Jimenez who kept the Presidents above water in the first quarter, scoring six points altogether, to help FDR leave the quarter leading 15-11.
Jimenez opened up the second with a bucket on a break, putting FDR up 17-11 — their biggest leading margin of the game — but things started to get dicey as the Presidents hit a serious scoring drought. Isaiah Cotton drained the Presidents’ only other point of the period on a free throw, and FDR couldn’t find a way through Marlboro’s high defense.
“We couldn’t get to the basket — we were frustrated with our penetration. Credit to them, their zone gave us fits. We could not score after that first quarter. We really struggled,” FDR head coach Kevin Hart told the Observer.
Marlboro broke out early in the third, sinking four unanswered buckets as FDR tried to hammer it inside. Again, Jimenez stepped up and managed the team’s first basket of the quarter with four minutes left. Marlboro’s Tyler Banks also made things a lot harder for the home team in the third: after going largely quiet in the first and second, with only one bucket, the center-forward put down 11 points on his way to an 18-point night. Marlboro came out of the quarter up 47-33.
The Presidents tried to make things happen in the fourth quarter, but the Iron Dukes had a response for every FDR bucket. FDR did manage to cut the lead to 9 on an Isaiah Cotton three, but in the final minutes there was nothing to be done about the Marlboro lead.
“We could have played a lot harder. We got off to a rough start in the second half — I think we played a pretty good first half,” Jimenez told The Observer. “We just weren’t rebounding, weren’t hustling. It came to bite us in the end.”
“We’re flat,” Hart added. “We didn’t execute against their 3-2 zone. The second half, we didn’t knock down open jumpshots.”
“I’m disappointed in the energy level we had tonight, something that we’ve had for the last three weeks,” he said.
In spite of the loss, which brings the team to 5-7 overall, FDR is tied for first with Saugerties in the Section 9, Class AA division.