- Published on Wednesday, 02 January 2013 12:38
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The Foxes Den was a holiday extravaganza! As the lyrics from the Kurtis Blow “Basketball” song say - “They’re playing basketball, we love that basketball.” The fans that attended the 8th annual King George High School (KGHS) Boys Basketball Winter Tournament got more than their money’s worth as they cheered on their favorite team. The tournament was sponsored by Westbrooke Homes.
For the first time in the tournament’s brief history, the format featured a junior varsity semi and championship game match-up. Over a two-day period - Dec. 28-29 - on the courts of KGHS, the varsity and junior varsity teams from Brooke Point, Riverbend, McDonough, and King George battled over a total of eight games for the holiday title.
When the dust settled, the Riverbend Bears (8-4) reigned supreme as they defeated King George (6-4), 62-52. As for the junior varsity holiday championship representative, McDonough edged Brooke Point, 43-39.
The Foxes junior varsity (7-3) narrowly defeated the Bears (2-9), 24-22 to win the consolation game. “Today’s game was better, because they were more motivated and displayed more energy than they did in the last couple of games,” KGHS junior varsity head coach, Neil Lyburn said. “I think we could have competed against any of these teams.”
Varsity championship game, Bears vs. Foxes
Former long-time KGHS boys’ varsity basketball coach, and current Riverbend boys’ varsity coach Eric Davis has learned a thing or two about preparing against his high school alma mater over the years. After scouting the Foxes he realized that his team would have to bring their A-game into play if they were to have any chance against the Foxes. “I thought coming in that they have some great scorers, and we had to take their outside game away,” Davis said. “We did a great job in the first half, of not letting them get anything from the outside, and we frustrated them.”
In the first three and a half minutes of the first quarter, the Bears rattled off seven answered points. Leading the charge was junior David McCauley, who finished the quarter with six points, including one three-pointer. Ultimately McCauley led all scorers as he finished the game with 16 points. While the Foxes eventually managed to score nine points before the end of the quarter, it was evident that the Bears’ fast-break offense was in full force.
Trailing 16-9 going into the second quarter, the Foxes had their work cut out against them. Throughout the second quarter, the Bears dominated the boards on both ends. In fact, the Bears defense held the Foxes scoreless for eight straight minutes. Edward Buchanon helped extend the Bear lead to 31-9, as he added six points. Also, Chris Baird, Elijah Brown and Tomas Cibak combined for 15 points during the quarter.
In the third quarter, in an effort to take away the Bears’ momentum, the Foxes threw everything at the Bears including the kitchen sink. De’Quan Whiting and De’Shon Brown gave the Foxes a boost, as they combined for 10 points. Andrew Key and Anthony Howard attempted to keep the Bears off the boards, but it was too little too late. Going to the fourth quarter, the Bears lead 43-24.
Although the Foxes managed a 9-6 run at the start the fourth quarter, the factor of time began to weigh heavily on King George. In final two minutes of play, the Bears continued to sustain a 23-point lead, which eventually lead to a 42-55 win.
Varsity consolation game, Brooke Point vs. Riverbend
The McDonough Rams defeated the Brooke Point Black-Hawks, 80-70 to win the runner-up consolation game. In the first quarter, it appeared that the Black-Hawks were in full control, as they took an early 11-3 lead with 2:44 left in the quarter. However, minutes later after an exchange of baskets, and three-point baskets by Mahammed Sulemana and Rashad Kennedy, the Black-Hawks’ lead was reduced to 16-13—which closed out the quarter.
Reenergized, the Black-Hawks roared into the second quarter with a 6-2 run; however, their run was matched basket for basket throughout the remainder of the half, with Brooke Point leading 38-28 at halftime
Nicolas Lee began the third quarter with three straight three-point baskets, which cut the Black-Hawk deficit to five points. Minutes later, after a 12-2 Ram run the game was tied, at 44-44. Before the end of the quarter, the Rams would rally and take a 53-50 lead.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Rams extended their lead to 64-44, but the Black-Hawks refused to throw in the towel as they valiantly fought back to cut the Ram lead to 64-61 with less than three minutes to play. With only a minute left in the game, the Rams were triumphant, as they closed out the game with a 6-5 run.
Junior varsity championship, McDonough vs. Brooke Point
In the first quarter, after the Black-Hawks took a commanding 6-2 lead, the Rams responded with an exchange of scores, along with closing the quarter out with three consecutive scores from Robert Smith.
With their press defense in full effect, the Rams quickly gained advantage of both offensive and defensive boards. While the Black-Hawks managed five points in the quarter, the Rams collectively featured 12 points from five different players.
In the third quarter, Osirus Holmes paced the Rams with six points including two assists that extended McDonough’s lead to 36-26. However, the Black-Hawks responded with an additional six points that cut the Ram lead to 39-32 at the end of the quarter.
In the final quarter, both teams struggled for ball possession, with the Rams methodically running off as much time as they could. Although the Black-Hawks out-scored the Rams 8-1 in the final minute, the clock had run out, and the Rams were officially junior varsity tournament champions. The final score, was 44-39.
Junior varsity consolation game, Foxes vs. Bears
Qu’Shawn Allen paced his team with eight points, and five assists as the Foxes defeated Riverbend 24-22. Allen’s teammate, Zach Johnson added eight points and one assist. As for the Bears, AJ Small led his team with seven points.
Fox junior varsity head coach Neil Lyburn is thrilled have Allen take charge of his offense. “He has no fear, and will take it to you, and do everything he can to help his team win,” Lyburn said. “He has a good all-around game, whereas he has a keen eye when it comes to feeding the ball to open teammates.”
Throughout the course of the game, the tempo was dictated by both opposing defenses. While Allen was dishing assists to his fellow Foxes, Jecolby White, Jason Yowler, and Johnson were instrumental in keeping the Bears offense in check, as the post zone soon became known as no man’s land. At the end of the half, the Foxes were slightly ahead, 12-10.
The Foxes defense limited the Bears to three free throw opportunities. Allen finished the quarter with four points and one assist.
In the final quarter, the Bears pushed the Foxes to the limit, as Bear forward Gavin Valencia nailed a three-point basket that cut the lead to 20-18, with less than two minutes to play. Moments later, Allen closed the game with a lay-up and a assist to Deante Peyton.
Semi-final varsity matchup, Foxes vs. Black-Hawks
From the moment the ball was tipped off, the Foxes were in seek and destroy mode. With 4:30 left in the first quarter, baskets from Keenan Frye, Anthony Howard and De’Shon Brown lifted the Foxes to an 8-1 lead. Although Brooke Point had managed some semblance of offense, the Foxes led 12-7 going into the second quarter.
The second quarter resembled the first quarter, as the Foxes began with a 12-0 run. Throughout the quarter, the Foxes feasted on a heavy supply of steals that were converted into fast-break layups—courtesy of De’Quan Whiting, Brown, Sam Sharp, Nana Djan and Howard. At the end of the half the Foxes led 30-21.
The Black-Hawks did very little in the second half to thwart the Foxes’ sustained surge of offense. The Foxes carried a 47-36 lead into the final quarter.
Crippled by a suffocating Fox defense and a overwhelming offense, the Black-Hawks’ hopes of a fourth quarter rally became a distant memory. The Foxes defeated the Black-Hawks, 62-52. While Whiting paced the Foxes with 14 points, Black-Hawk Aaron Sanders led all scorers with 19 points.
Semi-final varsity matchup, Bears vs. Rams
Elijah Brown scored four points, while dishing out two assists to pace Riverbend to a 18-7 first quarter lead over McDonough.
Although the Rams cut the Bears’ lead to 18-13 at the start of the second quarter, Riverbend’s front court defense led by Chris Baird and Edward Buchanan made entering the Bears’ post zone problematic. The Bears led 31-23 going into the third quarter.
In the third quarter the Rams rallied with a 9-0 run at the start of the quarter to cut the Bear deficit to eight points. The sudden surge in Ram offense eventually led to a 39-39 tie at the end of the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the momentum changed swiftly back into the hands of the Rams, as forward Nicolas Lee scored a three-point basket, and free throw to put the Rams ahead 43-41 with 6:11 left to play. In the final minutes, the Bears managed to regain the lead, and end the game with a 59-51 win.
Semi-final junior varsity matchup, Foxes vs. Black-Hawks
As both King George and Brooke Point jockeyed for position, the first quarter ended in a defensive standoff, with the Black-Hawks holding a 9-4 lead going into the second quarter.
Throughout the second quarter, the Black-Hawks never relinquished their lead. Paced by Jason Yowler, and Qu’Shawn Allen, the Foxes cut the lead to 20-15, just before halftime.
Rejuvenated, the Foxes entered the third quarter determined to give the Black-Hawks a run for their money. With Yowler winning the battle of post zone against Black-Hawk center, Issac Dove, the Foxes climbed back into the game. With 2:16 left in the third quarter, Jecolby White scored two free throws to tie the game at 23-23.
Although the Black-Hawks ended the third quarter with a two-point advantage, the Foxes remained a threat up until the midway point of the fourth quarter. From that moment on, the Black-Hawks never looked back, as they extended their lead to 42-27 to win the game.
Semi-final junior varsity matchup, Bears vs. Rams
McDonough sophomore Daryl Anderson began the semi-final tournament against Riverbend with a block, and ended the first quarter with 10 points. As for the Bears, they finally got on track in the mid to late stages of the quarter by scoring seven points. However, Anderson had already established the momentum for the Rams, as they continued to dominate throughout the rest of the half.
Anderson would later finish the game with 14 points, but foul trouble hampered his second half contributions. Although the Rams managed a 5-7 point lead throughout most of the second quarter, the Bears scrambled in the remaining seconds of the first half to cut the Ram lead to 22-21.
At the start of the third quarter, after an exchange of scores, the Bears scored two consecutive three-point baskets to take a 29-25 lead. In the latter stage of the quarter, the Rams cut the deficit to one point after three free throws from Derrick Butler.
In the final quarter, the game hinged on who would maintain possession the longest. After several ties, and lead exchanges, the Rams prevailed 50-45.