UNION TOWNSHIP | Is Griffith becoming a basketball school? Yeah, right.
That's like Knute Rockne wearing Air Jordans or Bronko Nagurski working on his reverse spin dribble.
But fans wearing black and gold monkey-ear helmets might be suggesting such a thing after Saturday night's performance in the championship game of the Wheeler Holiday Tournament.
Griffith's boys basketball team played high above the rim in beating Clark 62-40 to earn the Panthers first title in this event. It was also the third straight win for Griffith (5-3).
“We're very young,” Griffith coach Gary Hayes said, noting he had three ninth graders on the floor for long stretches of the game. “Sometimes we go up and play real good basketball. Sometimes we have brain cramps.
“I thought we played pretty good defense today and when (Ben) Parish gets the ball inside we're a good team.”
Parish had 10 points as did freshman Tremmell Murphy. Murphy's twin brother, Anthony, chipped in nine points.
“Being a senior, going out with the championship is great,” Parish said. “We're young but we come out and go hard. Everyone's looking to find the open man.”
“We're progressing more and more every day,” Tremmell Murphy said. “Beating Hanover (Central) was a big win for us. We're getting more confidence every day. This is great.”
Clark (3-5) was led by Bernateau Jean-Michel.
“We just didn't have the energy we had this morning,” Clark coach Joe Delgado said. “Wheeler is a good team and we played well in the second half. That was a good win. We just wanted to finish the day with another one.”
The Panthers beat the Pioneers 66-48 on Nov. 30.
Hobart came back from a four-point deficit with a minute and change left in the final quarter to force overtime. Hobart beat Wheeler 65-59 in the extra session.
Hobart (3-6) was led by Jarrett Colvin's 16, Anthony Burgos added 13 and Juan Lamar scored 11.
The fact that Hobart scored more than 50 pleased coach Mike Black. The Bricks had not scored more than 50 since Nov. 20.
“We've had trouble with our offense, but our defense has been good enough to win,” Black said. “We'll take this though. (Burgos) did a nice job down the stretch getting us points.”
Burgos had missed the first four games of the season. He said he's starting to get into the basketball groove now.
“I'm starting to get rhythm,” Burgos said. “We're going to get a couple more guys back soon. I believe we're going to get this going.”