The BAISS champions were tested right away in their opening game but a key defensive stop allowed them to escape with the win and advance.
With possession and trailing by three with less than 20 seconds left to play, the Bluejays had an opportunity to tie, but a stifling Falcons defence didn’t allow them to get off a shot attempt before time expired.
Wilfred Ferguson was the only Falcons player in double figures with 11 points, Adam Johnson added nine points and seven blocks, Frantwion Newton added nine points and seven rebounds while Sherman Marshall scored seven.
Delano Dean led the Blue Jays with 21 points and 12 rebounds – both game highs.
Dean scored seven of the Blue Jays first nine points in the first quarter and had the response whenever the Falcons would make a run. The Falcons opened 0-5 from the field before Ferguson made a fast break layup and converted a three-point play halfway through the first. He would go on to score seven of his 12 in the quarter.
The Falcons led 12-9 at the end of the first.
Both teams traded baskets on first two possessions but went into a drought that lasted for nearly four minutes. Marshall made a pair from the line, followed by another from Newton. The Falcons ended the quarter with a brief flurry, with an offensive rebound and putback from Mateo Taylor for a 22-14 lead just before buzzer ended the first half.
In the third, the blue Jays lead cut to four on Jordan Smith runner, 24-20 with 1:41 left in the period, but the Falcons got scores from Johnson and Newton to push the lead back to eight. They led by as much as nine but Dean’s three pointer beat buzzer to trim to six headed into the fourth, 30-24.
The Blue Jays came within one, several times in the fourth but couldn’t take the lead for the first time since the first quarter. Dean’s jumper cut it to 32-31, but Newton answered with baseline three for the Falcons on next possession.
Eight Mile Rock came within one again moments later, 35-34, but turned the ball over on a shot clock violation with a chance to take the lead. The Falcons would take advantage when Johnson split a pair at the line, Marshall forced a turnover at halfcourt and the Falcons connected with an alley-oop dunk to Johnson who was fouled and converted the three point play for a 39-34 lead.
Tabernacle Falcons – 51
Teleos Cherubims – 36
The newly minted Hugh Campbell champions came out on fire from long range in the first quarter and the Cherubims never recovered.
Tabernacle looked every bit the top overall seed as they opened the game on a 12-0 run, led wire to wire and never by less than nine points in the route.
Franco Miller scored a team high 12, Deangelo Rebis Cooper added 10 while Desmond Butler added nine.
Kenneth Johnson led Teleos with 14 points, while Michael Brennan and Rogar Hemmings each added six.
Teleos would tack on a pair of field goals near the end of the first, but the Falcons maintained a 20-6 lead.
They outscored Teleos 14-6 in second chance points and 12-3 in points off the bench.
After Teleos cut the lead to nine in the second quarter, Cooper scored seven consecutive points to stretch the lead back to 15. The Falcons would take a 28-14 lead into the half.
Tabernacle opened the third quarter with back to back threes from Butler and Miller for their biggest lead of the game, 34-14.
They took a 45-24 lead into the fourth en route to the most lopsided win of day one. The Falcons made nine shots from beyond the arch while the Cherubims managed just one.
Jack Hayward Wildcats – 46
Anatol Rodgers T’Wolves – 33
The GSSSA champions suffered the /first “upset” of the tournament with an opening round loss.
Ackeem Hanna led the Wildcats with a game high 18 points, Mickell Bethell had nine and Trimaine Ferguson finished with eight points and 12 rebounds.
Dominick Bridgewater led the T’Wolves with 16 points and Devanno Whitfield scored nine.
Without head coach Harcourt McCoy on the sidelines, the Timberwolves looked flat-footed and a step slower on the boards and in their defensive rotations all game.
The Wildcats won the battle on the boards by seven and had a 10-point edge on second chance points.
Jack Hayward opened on a 9-2 run before Whitfield finally made a shot from the perimeter for Anatol Rodgers. The Wildcats led 14-7 at the end of the first.
The T’Wolves offense was out of sync without Bridgewater’s ability to penetrate and create for his teammates. Hanna made a runner and a pair at the line to give his team a 24-14 lead into the half.
Jalen Hall made a pull up jumper for the first score of the third and the Wildcats were in the bonus just two minutes into the third quarter. The T’Wolves late rally was able to trim the deficit to seven, but was unable to legitimately threaten in the fourth.
Sunland Baptist Stingers – 32
CC Sweeting Cobras – 26
The Stingers dominated the second half, the fourth in particular, en route to the come from behind win.
Joshua Cornish scored nine to lead the Stingers, while Howard Burrows added eight. Marco Beckford led the Cobras with nine and Ricardo Mathieu finished with six.
Backed by an eager home crowd, the Stingers opened 3-3 from the field and to an 8-2 lead. Their offence struggled the remainder of the half and they scored just a single field goal in the second quarter as the Cobras moved ahead. Mathieu and Beckford made threes for the Cobras and they eventually took a 16-11 lead into the half.
The Stingers offence had a much more efficient third quarter, opening with scores from Chosen Levarity and Conrnish to regain momentum. The Cobras took a slim 22-21 lead into the fourth quarter.
Levarity’s early layup in the opening moments of the final frame regained the lead for the Stingers. Burrows followed with a baseline jumper, followed by scores from Javares McIntosh and Cornish for a 6-0 run to put the game away for good as the Cobras managed just two field goals in the fourth.
CI Gibson Rattlers – 59
SAC Big Red Machine – 33
The Hugh Campbell runners-up had a point to prove in their tournament opener it came at the expense of the Big Red Machine.
Three Rattlers reached double figures, led by 13 from Deon’ta Tinker in the most lopsided win of day one.
Terrance Storr added 12 for the CI Gibson while Tyrell Butler scored 11 and nine Rattlers players scored.
Cornelius Clyde led the Big Red Machine with 15 points and Johnathan Johnson scored eight.
The Rattlers turned defence into offence early on as the halfcourt trap forced SAC into a series of turnovers. Three steals led to three easy baskets as CI took an early 6-0 lead. Butler came off the bench to make a three pointer and give the Rattlers an early 11-1 lead and they led 15-3 at the end of the first.
Tinker made a three and a layup during a brief stretch in the second to push the lead to 20 for the first time, 23-3 early in the quarter.
SAC trailed 33-15 at the half as the Rattlers cruised through the second half with their reserves receiving the bulk of the playing time.
St. George’s Jaguars – 60
Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins – 44
The Jaguars protected home court in the night’s finale.
The first quarter featured three ties and three lead changes in the first before the Jaguars began to pull away and took a 16-12 lead into the second. Mateo King made a contested runner just before the half and they led 34-16 at intermission. Doris Johnson cut the lead to just six in the final quarter before Howard Hinzey made a reverse layup to shift momentum and keep the Jaguars ahead for good.