Blount Tournament MVP as Gents take Tip-Off Championship
Saturday, November 17, 2012 | by Nathan Yacovissi

WINCHESTER, Va – Centenary claimed the Tip-Off Tournament Championship Friday night with a convincing victory over Shenandoah 80-69. Jonathan Blount, who was named Tournament MVP after the game, led Centenary (2-0) with another game high 23 points, shooting 8-17 from the field, and 3-6 from three point range. Brett Bell also had a nice night, getting the only double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Blount was named the Tournament MVP after combining to lead all scorers with 50 points in both games. Caden Cheramie and Bell were both named to the All-Tourney Team.

“I’m very proud of our team effort to win this tournament title,” Gents Head Coach Adam Walsh said. “It was a great road environment and our guys persevered through everything.”

Both teams started out unable to score until Bryce Mitchell made a layup made to put Shenandoah up 2-0 with 16:29 remaining in the half. The Hornets extended the lead to 5-0 before Jonathan Blount hit a three pointer to get the Gents on the scoreboard. Centenary would continue to struggle getting in a rhythm, falling behind 14-9 about midway through the first half.

Bell hit two free throws to bring the game within 3 points, but two quick buckets gave the hornets the largest lead of the night by seven. A layup by Blount would complete a 7-0 run by Centenary to bring the game even at 18. Centenary took its first lead that night 21-20 after a 3 pointer by Blount.

After going up 25-23, the Gents would close the half on a 15-4 run, because of good transition plays that saw contributions from Tyler Wright, Cheramie, and JaColby Hardin-Crawford. Centenary led at halftime 42-27.

The Gents remained hot early in the second half extending their lead to the largest of the night by 20 points. Shenandoah began chipping away at the deficit though, using a 8-0 run to narrow the margin 64-56. Cheramie’s layup ended the run and had some key steals to swing the momentum back in favor of the Gents.

Good defense at the end proved to be enough and Centenary eventually pushed the lead back up to 17 after a free throw by Bell. Shenandoah fouled at the end, but Centenary was able to execute and hold on to claim the tournament championship.

“The strong individual performances from the All-Tourney members were key, but each team member contributed to winning this tournament as a whole,” Walsh said in regards to his team success in the tournament.

Centenary shot 43.9% from the field, 5-15 from behind the three point line, and 25-35 from the free throw line. Cheramie had another nice night behind Blount, contributing 16 points and pulled down 8 rebounds. His 4 steals also were a team high and came at important junctures of the game to swing the momentum. Hardin-Crawford also added 8 points.

The Gents won the battle on the boards, out-rebounding the Hornets 42-36. Some big turnovers led to quick points for Centenary too, as they won that battle 20-16.

Coach Walsh hopes this is a sign for things to come. “We scheduled an early 2 game tournament to simulate our conference tournament at the end of the year so hopefully this predicts what we will be doing at the end of February.”

Four players scored double figures for Shenandoah. Mitchell led the Hornets with 14 points. Jared Carithers followed with 13, and Shaquille Rodney and Xavier Alston added 10 points apiece.

Centenary enjoys a week off and will play at Louisiana College Saturday, November 24 at 3 pm.