Trailing the entire game and by five points entering the fourth quarter, Mount Zion needed a spark or Laurinburg was going to spring the upset. So, what did the Warriors do? They pressed.
For nearly three quarters of action, Laurinburg was able to dictate tempo. A stingy zone defense, blessed with size inside and designed to collapse on Glen Dandridge and Albert Weber in the corners, was working. Sort of.
The zone certainly limited possessions, slowed the pace of the game and allowed the Tigers to snatch the lead early. Though Weber was getting good looks – and making them – everything else was going Laurinburg's way.
Finally, Mount Zion turned the tables on them. The Warriors began pressing late in the third quarter and the entire fourth quarter. Suddenly, the tempo picked up as Laurinburg had trouble with the pressure. A deep Mount Zion team outscored its opponent 25-11 in the final quarter.
Bright came off the bench all three games for Mount Zion and was the team's most consistent performer. He finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds in the title game and only he and Weber cracked double-digits for the Warriors.
Weber and his points were H-U-G-E. Who knows how big a lead Laurinburg would have mounted in the first quarter if the Alabama-bound senior hadn't drilled 4 3-pointers? Weber finished with a game-high 26.
For Laurinburg, Hatila DeSouza played with purpose and presence inside. All tournament long he'd been hitting the glass hard and finished with 13 and 8 in this one. The Tigers also got a big game from Diego Belizario who had a tournament-high 13 points.
MOUNT ZION (65) – Weber 26, Taggart 0, Rush 8, Tangara 2, Carr 8, Simpson 0, Dandridge 2, MSmith 0, TSmith 0, Bright 19, Pounds 0.
LAURINBURG (56) – Burns 14, DaSilva 0, DeSouza 13, Saye 0, Belizario 13, Njie 0, Sambou 0, ASmith 12, Souza 4, Rodrigues 0.
All-Tournament: Albert Weber, Hatila DeSouza, Anthony Morrow (Charlotte Latin), Donald Sloan (Seagoville), Roy Bright.
MVP: Roy Bright, Mount Zion.
NOTES – Anthony Morrow captured the Slam Dunk championship. Favorite Brandon Rush was eliminated in the first round when he missed both of his high degree of difficulty attempts. …
Mount Zion 65, Laurinburg 56 (National Championship) West Charlotte 57, Charlotte Christian 55 (Local Championship) Seagoville 87, Landmark Christian 57 Vance 60, Victory Christian 58 North Augusta 73, Waddell 63 Garinger 49, Roanoke Catholic 43 Charlotte Latin 74, N. Mecklenburg 48