Dec 30, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Win the Mayor’s Roundball Classic, and a basketball team can go for an entire year bragging that they are the best in Syracuse.
Henninger is getting quite used to doing the big talk, for it’s now claimed the Mayor’s Cup three consecutive years, and five times overall in the tournament’s seven-year history.
Fowler tried to topple the Black Knights and win its first-ever classic in Tuesday night’s championship game at LeMoyne College, only to watch Henninger dominate the final five minutes on its way to beating the Falcons 62-44 and earning that three-peat.
Only once did the Black Knights trail — at 4-2, less than three minutes into the game. Led again by point guard Kihary Blue, Henninger got out to a 19-10 edge in the first quarter, then watched Fowler, with Chris Gilkes earning 11 first-half points, close within three, 31-28, at halftime.
Then the Falcons went cold in the third period, at one point going nearly six minutes without a field goal. Henninger used that time to stretch its margin to 44-31, almost running away.
Still, Fowler fought back, with a 10-2 run of its own to make it 46-41 with less than five minutes to play, luring Falcon partisans into thinking it had a chance to finally earn that first-place gold trophy.
But as champions tend to do, Henninger finished strong, using eight points in a span of less than 90 seconds to build the lead back to double digits and, overall, closing on an 18-3 run.
Finishing with 18 points, plus his usual array of sharp passes and steals, Blue was named the tournament MVP. Lamar Spinner gained 13 points, with Jermaine Taylor adding 11 points. Also, Taylor combined with Jon Cooper to contain Fowler center Tysheim Barfield all night long. Gilkes, with 19 points, was the night’s top scorer.
For Fowler, just getting to the final was enough of an adventure.
After jumping way out in front of Monday night’s opening round game against Corcoran, the Falcons had to sweat all the way to the final seconds before beating the Cougars 57-54.
Corcoran would play dearly for a game-opening drought that saw it go more than six minutes before scoring. Fowler bolted out to a 15-0 lead, controlling every aspect of the game.
Once the Cougars got on the board, though, the mood changed. It closed to 17-10 at the end of the first quarter, and though Fowler boosted the margin to 12 at one point in the second period, Corcoran used a 12-3 run to close the half and move within three, 29-26, at the break.
Throughout a tight third quarter, Corcoran had many chances to go in front, finally doing so when Mike Stenson’s 3-pointer late in the period. Fully recovered rom its awful start, the Cougars took a 45-41 lead to the final period.
Fowler clawed its way back holding the lead for much of the fourth quarter, though it had to hang on in the end. Down 55-52, Corcoran got within one on Algeron Torrence’s basket with 34 seconds left. After a steal, Corcoran had a chance to grab the lead — but with 16 seconds left, Riley Stroman’s jumper from the top of the key went halfway down, then bounced out.
Grabbing the rebound, Gilkes got fouled with 14.5 seconds left. He made both free throws, then saw Corcoran’s attempt to tie the game in the waning moments come up short.
Gilkes led Fowler with 17 points, while forward Tysheim Barfield had 15 points. Torrence, in defeat, paced the Cougars with 20 points.
Henninger, by contrast, breezed through its opening-round game with Nottingham, bashing the Bulldogs 68-43. The Black Knights started the game on a 19-8 run and never got caught.
Taylor, with 18 points, led three Henninger players in double figures as Blue earned 16 points and Spinner added 12 points. Nottingham, in defeat, got 11 points from Mabior Mayen and 10 points from Deanzel Crouch.
Corcoran would beat Nottingham 58-47 in Tuesday night’s consolation game, rallying from a 24-17 halftime deficit by applying full-court pressure and erupting for 26 points in the third quarter to go in front for good.
Dewan Bohannon led the Cougars with 13 points, all in the second half, while Kinsey and Mayen had 15 points apiece for the Bulldogs. Mayen and Torrence joined Blue, Taylor and Gilkes on the All-Tournament team.