December 30, 2007

Peekskill Wins Slam Dunk in OT Thriller

On Saturday night, in a packed Westchester County Center, The Peekskill Red Devils were up against the White Plains Tigers for the championship of the 9th Annual Slam Dunk Tournament. The Red Devils, however, persevered through regulation and overtime to come out on top 61 - 54.

Each Coach was asked before the game as to what the keys to victory were. White Plains coach Spencer Mayfield responded, "We need to keep the ball in front and contain Mookie (Jones)." Peekskill Coach Lou Panzanaro had a different plan of attack saying, "We have to stop their transition game."

With the tip-off, as predicted by Coach Panzanaro, The Tigers tried to immediately hit the ground running but the Red Devils countered with an aggressive defensive attack of their own which gave them the lead but also put Syracuse-bound Mookie Jones on the bench with two fouls early in the 1st quarter.

After a timeout however, Peekskill refocused in denying the transition play of White Plains evidenced by an outlet interception by Red Devil 5'8" point guard Daquan Brickhouse and on another occasion when 6'5" junior guard Ralph Watts blocked White Plains go-to-guy, Sean Kilpatrick on a drive to the basket. The helter skelter low scoring quarter ended with The Red Devils up 12 - 7.

Panzanaro's gamble to sit Jones for most of the first quarter paid off in that White Plains did not gain too much of an advantage with him out. The second quarter started off with Kilpatrick and Rashad James getting up and down the floor and even initiating a well-rehearsed ally-oop dunk (see video). White Plains also effectively shut Mookie Jones down by having Kilpatrick shadow him all over the court. Peekskill did get the lead down to one point with 3:15 as Brickhouse picked up the scoring slack that resulted due to the containment of Jones. Coach Mayfield, however, had his Tigers applying pressure defense which resulted in Peekskill only scoring 2 point in the second quarter giving them the lead at the half 19 - 14.

Coming into the third quarter Kilpatrick nailed a three point increasing the Tigers lead. Daquan Brickhouse broke the Red Devil shooting drought with a lay-up but White Plain's sophomore point guard Nick Cutsumpas countered with a three ball. In the highest scoring quarter of the game key shots from Peekskill came from 6'1" senior guard Karl Baker and 6'3" junior forward Darien Thomas and with Mookie Jones finally scoring his first bucket with 1:15 left in the quarter (see video). A Ralph Watts bucket briefly gave Peekskill the lead 28 - 27 but Kilpatrick gets fouled with seconds left and hits two to end the third with White Plains up 34 - 32.

Pressure "D" was the name of the game in fourth from both teams as a minute and half passed before 6'5" senior Elliot Watson would score for Peekskill to knot it up at 34. The two teams volley back and fourth and with 3:19 left Peekskill is up by one but commits its 10th team foul, compared to White Plains 4th team foul. Mookie Jones would then scores again extending the lead to three points with 2:30 left in regulation play. 6'3 sophomore forward Bobby Jones provided some offense for White Plains but Brickhouse slashed to the basket countering. Kilpatrick ties the game with 44 seconds and Brickhouse commits a costly turnover. With 11 seconds left in regulation, Panzanara calls a set play to get the ball to Kilpatrick for the win but he misses the open jumper and the game goes to overtime.

In OT, Sean Kilpatrick comes out aggressive to the hole, draws a foul on Watts and breaks the tie with 3:05 left. Brickhouse answers with a drive and a foul on Kilpatrick and hit one of two. Rashad James scores with 2:32 left but Mookie Jones drives and kick to Watson for the basket and-one which put Peekskill up 50 -48 with 1:30 remaining.

Jonathan Stanley who replaced Cutsumpas then commits an unexplainable and unnecessary backcourt foul on Brickhouse who luckily only hits one of two, increasing the Peekskill lead to three with under a minute remaining. A Kilpatrick turnover, a basket, and a foul shot by 6'1" senior guard Karl Baker would seal the deal as Peekskill went on to win the game and the tournament.

High scorer for Peekskill was Daquan Brickhouse, who was also the MVP, with 14 points followed by Darien Thomas and Elliot Watson, both with 11 points each. Sean Kilpatrick was the leading scorer for White Plains and in the game with 27 points.

As a side note but worth mentioning, George Washington-bound Tony Taylor of Archbishop Stepinac broke his last years scoring record this year, then broke that record the following night with a 54 points explosion during a consolation match in the Slam Dunk Tournament.

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