KINGWOOD, Tex. -- A tired defense and a jet quick Tac Minor proved to be a fatal combination for Ft. Sooy No Limit on Sunday afternoon at the 8th Annual Kingwood Classic.
Minor sliced through Ft. Sooy for 34 points to lead Houston Hoops to a n 83-69 victory and a the Kingwood tournament title.
"We came out kind of slow because we had to play back to back games, but once we got it going, it's hard to stop us," Minor said. "Daniel Gibson and I are tough to stop from penetrating."
Minor, who said he is considering an official visit to Cincinnati this spring and also lists Duke, Texas, UConn, Arizona and LSU among his college possibilities, helped the Hoops wrest control of the game late in the first half.
After trailing for a good portion of the first half, Minor's penetrating and scoring ability helped the Hoops grab a nine point halftime cushion.
Minor's burst and a strong second half start allowed Houston to extend its lead to double digits before Ft. Sooy mounted a serious threat. Senior forward Blake Schilb of Rantoul, Ill. (who may prep next year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire), capped a 10-1 run that chopped a 59-45 Hoops' lead to just 60-55 midway through the second half.
Houston pulled away just a few minutes later thanks to the talented sophomore point guard Gibson, who attends Jones H.S. Gibson scored on consecutive possessions, the second time off an in-bounds pass, to push the lead to 73-60 with 4:29 left.
Gibson and 6-2 swingman Prince Cousinard scored 17 and 19 points, respectively, for the Hoops, but it was Minor's performance that an exhausted Ft. Sooy squad could simply not match.
"He was tough," Ft. Sooy Head Coach Verdell Jones, Jr., said. "I think he was the key in the game, that and fatigue. We had no legs, and a lot of the jump shots we usually make just didn't fall today."
After winning a grueling semifinal tilt over a talented California Team Select squad, Ft. Sooy had ten minutes to rest up and play the Hoops. By contrast, the Hoops had about 45 minutes of rest between the semifinal and championship round game.
Both teams had to play three games on Sunday just to reach the championship tilt, as the Sweet 16 was whittled down to just a pair. Some teams began play as early as 7:30 a.m. in the 17 and under Gold Championship Division.
"Fatigue made the difference," Jones said. "Several guys cramped up, and more space between games would have allowed us to be fresher to compete."
But Jones added that he took nothing away from the Hoops squad, which just happened to be a bit better on the afternoon.
Richard McBride led Ft. Sooy with 18 points and Schilb added 13 points in the loss. Forward Brian Randle, a key Big 10 recruiting target in the Class of 2003, was severely hampered by cramps and managed just eight points in the title tilt.
Randle enjoyed an excellent weekend for Ft. Sooy, and was a key factor in their ascension to the final. After the game, he was writhing in pain on the floor with cramps, but later recovered and walked off under his own power.
In an interview after the game, Randle told Rivalshoops.com that he is considering Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Kansas and Notre Dame.
We will have more details and profiles on some of the top players in attendance at the Kingwood Classic throughout the week, so keep it here for the best coverage of the Class of 2003.