Dec 30, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Now it’s a routine for the Henninger boys basketball team – to not just contend for league and sectional championship honors each winter, but in late December go to Le Moyne College and pick up the big trophy as the champions of the Mayor’s Roundball Classic.
It’s now six consecutive years that the Black Knights has won bragging rights among Syracuse’s larger city high schools, the title earned again Thursday night as Henninger pulled away from Corcoran in a 65-41 victory.
In truth, the tournament’s biggest suspense came in Wednesday night’s opening round. Here, the Black Knights nearly surrendered the crown in the waning seconds against Nottingham, but held on to beat the Bulldogs 49-48.
All looked routine when Henninger jumped ahead of Nottingham 20-12 in the first quarter. But the Bulldogs slowed the game’s tempo down and never allowed the Black Knights’ point guard, Tevin Chisholm, establish any kind of flow.
As a result, Nottingham stayed within sight through the middle stages and, in the fourth quarter, started hitting outside shots, paring away at the margin until it was within a point and had the ball in the waning seconds. Without a time-out, though, the Bulldogs could only take a long-range 3-pointer that fell off target as the buzzer sounded.
With Chisholm shut down, Kavon Delee stepped up, leading both sides with 20 points, while Marquies Young got 12 points and Tommie Spinner added 10 points. For Nottingham, Tyquon Rolon led with 16 points.
By contrast, Corcoran had flattened Fowler, 78-50, in the other opening-round game, steadily pulling away from the Falcons as it built a 66-30 lead through three periods. Sophomore Henry Sullivan lit up Fowler for 27 points, while Torrence Commodore added 13 points.
Henninger knew that, against the Cougars, it could not afford an effort similar to the Nottingham scare. And just to make sure his players knew of the game’s importance, Black Knights head coach Erik Saroney brought in one of his former stars, Ben Cronin, for a pre-game prep talk.
“(Ben) got our guys fired up,” said Saroney. “They knew it was championship night, and stepped up to the occasion.”
During a back-and-forth first quarter with seven lead changes, Chisholm provided the spark with seven points. By the second period, Henninger was exploiting its size advantage, even though Delee was on the bench with two early fouls, as Young’s six points helped the Black Knights to a 28-21 edge at the break.
The real getaway, though, took place in a third quarter where Spinner managed 10 of his 15 points and Young also worked his way to 15 points and tournament MVP honors. A 10-0 run where Delee had six straight points, finishing with a drive and dunk, put it out of Corcoran’s reach.
Shakem Buckmon, quiet in the Fowler game, led the Cougars with 14 points, but Sullivan only had seven points as Chris Putnam contributed seven points.
Sullivan, Spinner and Delee would join Young on the All-Tournament team. Nottingham defeated Fowler 69-51 in the consolation game, with Rolon and Fowler’s Wilquan Burke also garnering All-Tournament honors.
A third game on Thursday featured Institute of Technology Central, the state’s no. 2-ranked Class C team, pulling away in the second half to beat Faith Heritage 58-44. Mikell Clemons led the Eagles with 13 points, while Rensey Chandler and Joe Boatwright managed 12 points apiece.
Henninger would go from one big challenge to another, going east to face Troy on New Year’s Eve at Albany’s Times Union Center before returning home Jan. 5 for a showdown with Fayetteville-Manlius, a fast-rising Class AA challenger off to a 7-0 start.