NEW YORK, NY - If looks were weapons that could kill, the scowl on Mount Vernon big man Will Robinson's face after he misses an easy basket could easily set off a metal detector.
It happens sometimes, but when his feet are set, he's an immovable force and when it's time to do the dirty work, he's the first to raise his hand. The 6'3", 280 pound senior was big in Saturday's game between Mount Vernon and South Shore, literally and figuratively.
"Will is a big, wide body; he's not easily moved," said Mount Vernon Assistant Coach, Brian Pritchett. "He took charges and did what we needed him to do down the stretch.
Robinson's hustle antics, key late game basket, and clutch free throw (combined with solid team defense and free throws from teammate, Isaiah Cousins) helped the Knights stave off a feisty South Shore squad in the Big Apple Basketball Invitational at Baruch College, 55-54.
The Knights went to work on the Vikings with their depth early, as Cousins (who scored a game high 15 points) and Randy Stephens (12 points, 6 rebounds) led a balanced attack from Mount Vernon. As South Shore started the game with starters Terrence Samuel and Shamiek Sheppard on the bench, back-up guards Ayodele Akinmola (7 points) and Doudmy Saint Hilaire (8 points) picked up the slack to balance the scales and keep the Vikings in the mix. Sheppard's insertion late in the first quarter provided some punch and the Vikings made the most of their trips to the charity stripe (they shot 8-10 in the second quarter), but the Knights went on a run that saw junior guard Josh Doughty (7 points) sink a trey to put his team up ten, 27-17. The Knights were cruising, but it wouldn't be for long.
South Shore's pressure turned Mount Vernon over in a near silent third quarter for the Westchester team, and Sheppard, Samuel, and Wayne Martin combined to pull the Vikings back in striking range. Martin's (10 points, 8 rebounds) man move in the paint tied the game at 40 and Sheppard's free throw moments later gave South Shore their first lead since the first quarter.
The fourth quarter's see-saw action suggested the game was up for grabs, and both teams took turns answering each other with big shots. But Mount Vernon's contributions and sacrifices on the defensive end gave them an edge.
"The coaches put me in there to do the dirty work, so that's what I do," said Robinson, who scored 8 points, took 3 charges, and grabbed 4 boards. "We all know we have to go hard and make plays.
Robinson's willingness to sacrifice his body in the lane afforded the Knights possessions, as did a foul-hampered Quadere Lovell's willingness to do the same and risk fouling out. Although Robinson missed a few chip shots, he made the crucial ones count - one to tie the game at 42, another to give the Knights a 52-50 lead, and a 1-2 trip to the stripe that put his team up for good. The Knights closed the game out from the line, as Cousins (who hadn't scored since the second quarter) sunk the pair that sunk the Vikings.
Stephens earned the MVP, while Martin took home the Sportsmanship award.