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Seahorses finish 2nd in Stone Tournament

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Sophomore Mike Gbinije of Christchurch soars for 2 of his 18 points in last week’s win over Gar-Field in the John Stone Memorial Basketball Tournament. (Photo by Tom Hardin)

Christchurch fell 73-57 to a powerful Paul VI Catholic High School squad from Fairfax in Saturday’s championship game of the 19th John Stone Memorial Basketball Tournament at CCS.

Behind the solid play of Virginia Tech signee Eric Green, the Panthers took an early lead. CCS pulled within 3 points near the end of the first half, but could get no closer. Green, a point guard, finished with 27 points.

Coron Williams led CCS (3-3) with 23 points; Mike Gbinije and Noble Cunningham had 11 apiece; Sam Miller 7; and James Ford 5.

In the tournament semifinals on Friday, the Seahorses stage a miraculous comeback win, 68-66, over a tough Group AAA Gar-Field squad from Woodbridge.

Christchurch erased a 14-point deficit in the final four minutes to secure the win. Coron Williams hit the game-winning shot with seven seconds left.

The Seahorses fell behind by 14 points in the third quarter but got a late offensive push from C. Williams and Ford to narrow the lead to 9 points heading into the fourth quarter.

Gar-Field pushed their lead back to 14 points with just over four minutes remaining in the game—then the Seahorses roared back. The tandem of Gbinije and C. Williams began attacking Gar-Field’s defense off the dribble. Gbinije powered home two drives, and Williams did the same, including a slam dunk right down the heart of the Gar-Field defense.

“There were so many big plays in the last few minutes of the game, it’s hard to recount them all,” said CCS coach Glen Taylor.

Sam Miller knocked home a very important 3-pointer and Ford hit an outside shot to pull the Seahorses to within a point. Gar-Field would make two free throws to push the lead back to 3 points, and on the ensuing possession Christchurch effectively executed an offensive set and Gbinije was fouled in the act of shooting a 3-pointer. After missing his first free throw, Gbinije canned the last two to pull the Seahorses to within one point again.

The Seahorses regained possession with 15 seconds to play and point guard Noble Cunningham pushed the ball up the right hand side of the court and reversed it to Gbinije at the top of the key. Gbinije swung the ball to C. Williams on the left wing, who buried a very deep 3-pointer for the win.

Taylor said his team “looked dead in the water but mustered up a great deal of courage and fortitude to pull off the stunner. Again, the win was such a collective effort.”

C. Williams finished with 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 steals; Gbinije had 18 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 blocks; Ford tallied 15 points, 3 rebounds, and some hard-nosed defense; Miller had 5 points and 8 rebounds; Cunningham finished with 4 points and 7 assists; and Trace Larabee nailed a 3-pointer.

Both Coron Williams and Mike Gbinije were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Christchurch downed Prep League foe Trinity Episcopal 61-42 on Dec. 10. Gbinije finished with 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 blocked shots; C. Williams finished with a double-double (15 points and 10 rebounds); and Miller chipped in 10 points and 8 rebounds.

This Saturday Christchurch will play Virginia Episcopal School on  the College of William and Mary’s home court in Williamsburg at 5 p.m.

The Seahorses played Norfolk Collegiate on Dec. 16. More details in next week’s Sentinel.

posted 12.18.2008

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