Mount Vernon had to sweat its way through Friday night's semifinal at the SNY Invitational, but not so in Saturday's championship.
The Knights jumped out to a big early lead against St. Raymond's and never looked back, cruising to a 70-54 victory at NYU's Coles Sports Center.
The Ravens went in front 4-2, but Mount Vernon responded with an 8-0 run, keyed by six points from Sherrod Wright, and St. Ray's never saw the lead again. Two buckets trimmed the Knights' lead to 10-8, but Mount Vernon scored nine straight points in less than a minute to go ahead by 11. Five more Mount Vernon points stretched the advantage to 23-8 after a quarter.
The Knights also tallied four straight to start the second period, and they ended the half on top 40-19.
St. Ray's showed more fight in the third quarter, going on a 14-6 to cut the Mount Vernon lead to 46-33. Wright answered with an up-and-under score and Sean Harris added a three for the Knights. Sidiki Johnson was then called for intentionally fouling Wright and the star forward hit both free throws.
Mount Vernon led 55-37 after three. The Ravens battled back once again, and a Harold McBride three-pointer brought St. Ray's within 60-49 with 4:56 remaining.
That, however, was as close as the Bronx school would get. Four quick transition points, including a dunk by 6'0"-on-a-good-day guard Jabarie Hinds, put the game away for the Knights.
Wright led the way for Mount Vernon with 28 points and took home MVP honors for the invitational. Later, he spoke of the easier nature of Saturday's game compared to Friday's squeaker over Thomas Jefferson.
"Jefferson's a great team actually," he continued, "they put a lot of pressure on us and we couldn't handle it at first. But if we would've come out how we came out this game, I don't think it would've been that much of a problem."
The senior also acknowledged a chip on the collective shoulder of his Westchester school. "Sometimes people say we couldn't play in the PSAL or the Catholic league," Wright said, "so to come out here against some of the city teams and get a win, it makes us feel better."
Wright was aided by 18 points from Hinds, a rapidly improving sophomore. Odayne Clark corralled 16 rebounds for the Knights, 11 of which came on the offensive glass. McBride led St. Ray's with 14 points.
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