Dec 29, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Officially, it’s called the Mayor’s Roundball Classic – but unofficially, Henninger has gained exclusive property over the annual boys basketball gathering of the city’s four large high schools.
When the Black Knights pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat Fowler 62-48 Wednesday night in the championship game at LeMoyne College, it captured the Mayor’s Cup for the fifth consecutive year – and the seventh time overall in the tournament’s nine-year history.
No doubt, having talent, strong coaching and a program with a deep history of success helps – but a little bit of good fortune has to exist in order to capture any single event year after year.
Just that sort of fortune found Henninger during the final. Fowler, still in search of its first-ever Mayor’s Roundball Classic title, was standing up to what Henninger was throwing at them, at one point gaining a 28-20 lead late in the first half.
Midway through the second quarter, though, one of Fowler’s top players, Malcolm Jones, went to the sidelines with an injured left foot, not to return. Jones was a vital reason why the Falcons were off to a 3-1 start, including Tuesday night’s 53-40 victory over Nottingham in the opening round where Jones finished with 19 points.
Without Jones to bother Henninger in the middle, the Black Knights quickly erased its deficit early in the third quarter, moving ahead 36-32. Fowler fought back and tied it, 36-36, early in the fourth quarter, but its thin roster (it dressed just nine players) was left even more vulnerable with Jones on the bench.
So when Kavon Delee hit a 3-pointer from the corner to push Henninger back in front 39-36, it launched a 15-3 run. The Falcons were kept without a field goal for nearly seven minutes as the Black Knights, once again, secured city bragging rights.
Tommie Spinner, who finished with 18 points, was named the tournament MVP. Tevin Chisholm and Marquies Young each added 12 points, with Delee contributing nine points. Fowler saw Dieudonne Pierre produce 18 points as Larry Rivers earned 13 points.
Nottingham, who lost to Fowler in the first round, recovered to grab third place on Wednesday – but had to hang on at the end of the consolation game to earn a 53-51 victory over Corcoran.
The Bulldogs led by as many as 10 points, and were still up 50-41 with barely a minute to play before Corcoran, using a barrage of 3-point shooting (plus some missed free throws from Nottingham), to pull within two as time ran low.
Off yet another missed foul shot with 10.3 seconds left, the Cougars, out of time-outs, hustled down the court and had Delvon Adams open in the middle for a lay-up with two seconds left – but it slid off the rim, and time ran out before Corcoran could get another chance.
Marty Clanton led Nottingham with 11 points. Shatiek Smith added 10 points. Cameron Isaac (nine points) and Delquan Holmes (eight points) were close behind as Adams paced the Cougars with 11 points of his own.
All this came as a result of Tuesday night’s opening round at LeMoyne, where Henninger flattened Corcoran 77-50 and Fowler fought past Nottingham.
Remarkably, this was Corcoran’s first game of the season, having seen early games wiped out by Section IV schedule changes that caused possible opponents to cancel. By contrast, Henninger was playing for the fourth time, and it was not happy in the wake of losing at home to Utica Proctor on Dec. 23.
The Black Knights took out that unhappiness on the Cougars (who were further handicapped by having three starters sit out), especially in the middle stages. Ahead 18-15 after one quarter, Henninger blitzed Corcoran 46-18 over the course of the next two periods to end the suspense.
Markell Stith, with 16 points and 13 rebounds, led a balanced Black Knights offense where Spinner threw in 19 points and Delee also had 16 points. Young had nine points. On Corcoran’s side, Brandon Reed and Shaquille Breland each had 12 points, with Adams adding 11 points.
Fowler was 2-1 going into its game against Nottingham. Though ahead 13-6, the Falcons went cold in the second quarter, getting just two points – but the Bulldogs could not take advantage, only closing the gap to 15-10 at halftime.
Steadily, the Falcons built back its margin in the second half, led Jones as he earned 19 points. Pierre added 16 points and Wilquan Burke had eight points. On Nottingham’s side, Cameron Isaac had 12 points, while Shatiek Smith added nine points.
Isaac and Brandon Reed (Corcoran) joined Spinner, Stith, Pierre and Jones as part of the All-Tournament team, so every school was represented – even if a familiar one took the big prize back home to the north side.