Update, 5:45 p.m.: We’re about 15 minutes or so from tip-off. The teams are warming up. Obviously, this is the most anticipated game of the week. The seats are mostly filled and some fans are still filing in.
Obviously the two keys to watch for are how New Ro gets out of the gate and how Mount Vernon handles the pressure. Both teams have failed in those areas so far, although it has clearly cost Mount Vernon more than New Ro, which won both meetings.
Update, 6:05 p.m.: The game is about to tip-off. The place is packed. New Rochelle just gathered at center court after warmups and did a little chant.
Update, 6:13 p.m.: Mount Vernon leads 6-4 midway through the first.
Update, 6:17 p.m.: Three-point play for Brandon White gives P.J. Torres his second foul. Torres is on the bench and MV leads 9-4 with 1:36 to go in the quarter. Timeout New Ro.
Update, 6:21 p.m.: Mount Vernon leads 14-7 after one quarter. Jabarie Hinds just hit a stepback 3 and added a pair of FTs. He has seven points. Antoine Mason has five to lead New Ro. Let’s see how long they go without Torres, who has been on the bench with two fouls the last two minutes. Also, please note that New Ro has not pressed once so far. Could they wheel that our here, too?
Update, 6:26 p.m.: Timeout New Ro after a basket by Mason. Hinds just had a brilliant sequence. He made 1 of 2 FTs, grabbed the offensive rebound after he missed the second and hit a little fadeaway off glass. MV leads 17-9 with 6:24 to play in the half.
Update, 6:28 p.m.: The press is on and New Ro already has two steals and two hoops.
Update, 6:31 p.m.: Huge, huge sequence. New Ro was surging, but Mason was called for his second foul on a drive by Hinds. He then shoved Brandon White under the basket and was hit with a tech — his second and third fouls. Mason is on the bench. Then Torres picked up his third 35 feet from the rim. So MV leads 21-15 and New Ro’s two top players are on the bench.
Update, 6:45 p.m.: Timeout Mount Vernon after another breathtaking play from Hinds, who stripped A.J. Burton, raced the other way and drew the foul from Burton by shielding the ball with his body before laying it in. MV leads 32-22 with about 28 seconds to play.
Update, 6:47 p.m.: MV leads 34-22 at the half. Another steal, this one by big man William Robinson, led to a breakaway. Robinson grabbed a miss by Hinds and put it in to push the lead to 12. For a minute, MV seemed in line to not take advantage of the absence of Mason and Torres. Instead, they scored five points in the last 30 seconds.
Hinds has been absolutely brilliant. He has 17 points and four steals already. He has been THE difference-maker. MV also has gotten help from Robinson (two blocks) and Jarrell Marshall (five points, two rebounds) off the bench.
Here’s the problem for New Ro without Mason and Torres: They can’t press or run as effectively without their top two scorers, who are both very versatile. Their absence hurt New Ro in so many ways.
Expect them to return. MV will have to withstand early pressure here, but it can also try and force further foul trouble that would put Bill Murphy in quite the bind.
Update, 7:00 p.m.: Mason, Torres and Dwyer all start the second half despite three fouls.
Update, 7:05 p.m.: Two FTs by Torres. MV leads 38-30 with 3:33 left. Khalid Samuels and White have three fouls apiece.
Update, 7:10 p.m.: Mason misses two FTs, it’s 43-30. hinds just hit a 3 from the left corner. It’s a 13-point lead again.
Update, 7:12 p.m.: A putback by Isaiah Cousins gives MV a 45-30 lead. New Ro ball with 48.6 left in the quarter, timeout MV.
Update, 7:15 p.m.: Two things: MV leads 49-31 at the end of three. Robinson, who has been fantastic, just scored off a sick feed from Hinds in the final seconds. Second thing: I have read your comments. To say the press is on would be inaccurate. To press, you have to score, and New Ro had three baskets all quarter, none in the final 4:30 of the quarter.
Update, 7:20 p.m.: Burton just picked up his fourth. MV leads 51-35 with 6:24 to play.
Update, 7:21 p.m.: Hinds just saved a loose ball by calling a timeout. The New Ro fans are not happy it was granted. MV 51-35, 6:11 to play. Mason has four points this quarter but, looking back, the sequence when he and Torres were sent to the bench in the second completely turned the game around.
Update, 7:25 p.m.: This loss will really sting for a while in New Rochelle. Marshall just threw down a two-handed dunk on a long feed over the top of the press by Cousins. Then Robinson grabbed the rebound of Mason’s long 3 miss and fired a long pass to Hinds for a layup. It was bedlam, and MV now leads by 20, 57-37 with 5 minutes to play. The MV sophs of Marshall, Robinson and Cousins are playing with great confidence.
Update, 7:32 p.m.: A basket by Mason makes it 59-46 with 3:11 to play. Burton fouled out a few seconds later.
Update, 7:35 p.m.: Cousins 1 and 1 after Torres’ 4th foul. Makes both, 62-46 with 2:50 left.
Update, 7:36 p.m.: White fouls out for MV. Torres at the line.
Update, 7:40 p.m.: Torres just picked up his fifth. Samuels is at the line shooting two. MV up 62-50 with 2:24 to play. Torres scored 14 points.
Update, 7:42 p.m.: Basket by Mason. Timeout New Ro. MV leads 65-52 with 1:37 to play.
Update, 7:47 p.m.: Dwyer just picked up his fifth. 69-55 MV with 1:00 to play. Robinson at the line.
Update, 7:48 p.m.: MV leads 72-59 with 31.0 left.
Update, 7:51 p.m.: Mount Vernon wins 75-61. The Knights will play Poughkeepsie at 6 on Wednesday for their fifth straight gold ball.
Update, 8:38 p.m.: Hinds led Mount Vernon with 24 points, and added five rebounds and four steals. The sophomores, William Robinson, Isaiah Cousins and Jarrel Marshall combined for 24 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and three blocks off the bench. Marshall scored 11 points and Robinson grabbed nine rebounds and had three blocks.
Mason led New Rochelle with 26 points. Torres added 14 points before he fouled out with 2:28 left.