Great Mills boys claim tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship

Hor­nets boys cap­ture tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JOHN NISWANDER jniswan­[email protected]­news.com

While high schools in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence en­joy their win­ter re­cess away from classes, the boys and girls bas­ket­ball teams of a few of the SMAC schools par­tic­i­pated in the Show­time Deli Hol­i­day Clas­sic bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment at Chop­ti­con High School on Thurs­day and Fri­day.

Chop­ti­con, Great Mills and Patux­ent had both its boys and girls teams com­pet­ing.

The fourth school par­tic­i­pat­ing in the boys tour­na­ment was Leonard­town, while the King Ge­orge Foxes from Vir­ginia rep­re­sented the fi­nal school in the girls tour­na­ment.

“It is al­ways good to see so many county teams come to­gether like this,” Great Mills head boys bas­ket­ball coach Jeff Bur­rell said. “It is prob­a­bly one of the coolest things I have seen coach­ing bas­ket­ball here when our county teams come to­gether like we do in these type of Christ­mas tour­na­ments.”

On Fri­day night, the girls cham­pi­onship was con­tested first which pit­ted the host­ing Chop­ti­con Braves against King Ge­orge.

Chop­ti­con (5-3 over­all) led by two

points af­ter one quar­ter of play, but ul­ti­mately fell to the Foxes 56-33.

“We came out in the first half to­day and played phys­i­cal and played hard,” Braves head coach Joe Cook said. “We com­peted, but in the se­cond half [King Ge­orge] wore us down and our of­fense was nonex­is­tent.”

Chop­ti­con only scored 12 points in the se­cond half, while the Foxes were able to hit four se­cond half three-point­ers to help their lead widen.

Se­nior guard Ciara Thomas led the Braves with 14 points and was named to the all-tour­na­ment team along with ju­nior for­ward Cait­lyn Burch who scored two points in the cham­pi­onship con­test.

“Their per­for­mances were very good all week­end,” Cook said. “Ciara [Thomas] han­dles the ball for us and pro­vided scor­ing. Burch does a lot of lit­tle things and re­bounds for us very well.”

Chop­ti­con’s girls bas­ket­ball team is sched­uled to be back in ac­tion at West­lake on Jan. 9.

Chop­ti­con was well rep­re­sented in the fi­nals of their home tour­na­ment, as the boys team took the court in the fol­low­ing game look­ing for a win in the tour­na­ment fi­nale against the Great Mills Hor­nets.

Early on, the two teams traded buck­ets at a fre­netic pace with both teams push­ing the ball in tran­si­tion.

The Hor­nets (4-3) led by as many as nine points in the se­cond quar­ter, but the Braves trimmed the deficit to four at the half, 33-29.

“The first half was a very close game. Chop­ti­con bat­tled. They are a real scrappy team,” Bur­rell said. “They made us turn the ball over a lot more than we ex­pected. They were real strong in get­ting to the rim and made tough shots.”

Great Mills ex­ploded for 23 third quar­ter points, in- clud­ing three three-point­ers and buck­ets from five dif­fer­ent play­ers en route to a 75-51 vic­tory.

“I am thank­ful in the se­cond half our guys played with a lot more dis­ci­pline, en­ergy, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and they gave it their all,” Bur­rell said. “At the end of the day, we pulled off a great win.”

Isiah Mills led the Hor­nets with 16 points, while Troy Her­bert and Jar­ale Barnes each added 12.

“Win­ning the tro­phy is some­thing that I hope sparks off a cou­ple more wins mov­ing for­ward,” Bur­rell said. “Teach­ing our guys how to win has been some­thing we want to work on.”

Chop­ti­con guards se- nior An­tone Smith and sopho­more Steven Lawrence were named to the all-tour­na­ment team.

Lawrence led the Braves with 19 points while Smith scored all four of his points from the free-throw line.

Mills and Her­bert were named to the all-tour­na­ment team from Great Mills, while ju­nior Do­minic Max Brooks was named the tour­na­ment’s Most Valu­able Player.

“I did what I had to do in or­der to help my team get the ‘W’,” Brooks said. “I had a lot of boards that were help­ing me get my points.”

Brooks only scored nine points in the cham­pi­onship game, but his pres­ence on the court de­fen­sively is some­thing that won’t show up in the stat sheet.

“I think Do­minic Brooks is al­ready one of the top young de­fen­sive play­ers in the state. He is on a record-set­ting pace with blocked shots,” Bur­rell said. “He held the paint down again tonight. We are a dif­fer­ent team when he’s on the court be­cause he is our an­chor.”

Chop­ti­con (3-5) is slated to host West­lake on Jan. 9 while Great Mills is sched­uled to host La Plata on Jan. 4.

“We got some work to do,” Brooks said. “We will get back to the lab and come out even bet­ter.”

STAFF PHOTO BY JOHN NISWANDER

Chop­ti­con sopho­more guard JuWaun Queen looks to get open work­ing against fresh­man Great Mills guard Isiah Mills dur­ing Fri­day’s cham­pi­onship game at Chop­ti­con High School. The Hor­nets pre­vailed 75-51.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY JOHN NISWANDER

Chop­ti­con sopho­more guard Steven Lawrence sees his shot re­jected at the rim by ju­nior Do­minic Max Brooks from Great Mills. Lawrence led the Braves with 19 points while Brooks scored nine for the Hor­nets and was named the tour­na­ment’s Most Valu­able Player.

Chop­ti­con girls bat­tle King Ge­orge for a loose ball on the base­line dur­ing the first half of Fri­day’s cham­pi­onship game.

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