Wakefield Dethrones Pinecrest
Pinecrest ran into a team with too much size and too much Antonio Stabler in Tuesday's Holiday-in-the Pines basketball tournament title game.
Stabler turned out to be the difference at both ends of the court as the Wolverines dethroned the defending champion Patriots 61-52, also knocking them from the undefeated ranks in the process.
The 6-foot-5 senior guard put together an MVP performance that included 28 points and six steals. Jarrin Wooten led the Patriots with 15 points and was also an all-tournament selection.
Pinecrest (11-1, 2-0) gets back to action tonight in a Mid-Southeastern Conference game at Douglas Byrd (6-6, 0-2)
For the second night in a row the Patriots dug an early hole, trailing 11-1 before Daquan Towns made the team's first basket of the game with under two minutes remaining in the first period. They rallied to close to within a basket on a three-point play by Wooten toward the end of the half.
"I was a little surprised we got out an 11-1 lead at the start of the game," Wakefield coach Pat Kennedy said. "But they've got a lot of seniors on that team with a lot of pride. They dug in their heels."
The uphill battle continued for the Patriots. Stabler had back-to-back steals for layups in the third quarter that increased their deficit to 39-27.
"We scouted them a little," the Wolverine guard said. "We knew what they were going to do, so I was ready for it."
As the fourth period got under way the Pats made another of the kind of runs that had kept their record unblemished.
Two baskets by the slashing Julian Brewer, and one by Wooten, made it 46-44 Wakefield with 5:45 left in the game. Seconds later, it was a one-point game after Wooten went 1-for-2 at the line.
Their penetration really started to hurt us," Kennedy said. "We knew we'd have trouble defending No. 41 (Brewer) and No. 43 (Wooten) down there. At the same time, they had to defend us down there too, and they had trouble with our height."
After Stabler made a pair at the foul line, Brewer drove the base line for a basket that closed the gap to one for the final time with just over four minutes left in the game. That would be the last Patriot field goal.
It was still a two-point game at 52-50 when the Pats' Blake Smith sank a pair at the line at the 2:55 mark. Stabler and Darius Leonard were perfect in six tries from the foul line in the final two minutes while the Patriots uncharacteristically faltered in that department.
Leonard, one of the two 6-8 players for Wakefield finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds. He was an all-tournament pick along with Lovell Joy (Richmond), Anthony Papillion (Trinity Christian) and Jordan Lawson (Durham Academy).
Brewer was the only other Patriot in double figures in the final, scoring 12 points.
Patriot coach Mike Apple was impressed with the play of Stabler after watching him play three times. The slender guard missed a triple double by two assists in the tournament opener.
"The thing that is impressive to me about him is he lets the ballgame come to him -- he doesn't force a lot of things," the Patriot coach said. "I think Wakefield has a great scheme to get him going."
During the tournament, both Kennedy and Apple talked about using it as preparation for conference play -- their main priority.
"Like I say," Apple said, "the biggest game we've got is Friday night this week. We wanted to win the championship tonight, but we came out on the wrong end. I don't think there is a lot wrong. I feel like we're headed in the right direction."
Richmond defeated Trinity Christian 47-44 in the third-place game. Overhills let a 21-point half-time lead fall to one before beating Holly Springs 87-72 for fifth place.
Rodney Williams led the Jags with 29 points while Quentin Underwood scored 26 to go with 17 rebounds in the losing cause.
Durham Academy got 30 points from Lawson in a 67-48 victory over West Montgomery in the seventh place consolation game. Lawson was the tournament's leading scorer with a total of 65 points in the three games.
Wakefield improved to 9-4 on the season with its second championship game win in the six-year history of the tournament. The Wolves defeated Trinity Christian for the title in 2006.
Wakefield 16 11 17 17 61
Pinecrest 6 17 15 14 52
Wakefield Stabler 9 10-12 28, D. Leonard 6 3-5 15, T. Leonard 1 0-0 2, Stephenson 1 0-0 2, Saddler-Mee 1 1-2 3, Armstrong 1 2-2 4, Balzer 2 1-2 7, Okoye 0 0-0 0, King 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 17-23 61. Pinecrest McCullough 0 1-2 1, Scales 0 0-2 0, Cole 1 0-0 2, Wooten 4 7-15 15, Person 0 0-0 0, Thredgill 1 2-2 4, Allbrooks 2 0-0 4, Towns 1 1-2 3, Smith 2 4-5 9, Brewer 6 0-0 12, Baldwin 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 15-28 52. Three-point goals: Wakefield 2 (Balzer 2); Pinecrest 1 (Smith).
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