Max Mancuso hit a free throw with 1.6 seconds left after getting fouled on a drive to the basket, and the Dominion Titans won an exciting 47-46 contest over Rock Ridge in the Joe Cascio Tournament Final Friday night.
Dominion was just 1-7 coming into the tournament but had played better in recent losses to Heritage, Loudoun County, and Millbrook. Coach Sonny Green felt his team wasn’t all that far off from scoring some victories, and his team was able to ring up three in three days.
“This year we’ve struggled to put together four consecutive quarters,” Green said. “But one thing about these kids is they keep battling back. I’m just proud of them. Early on in the season it was a confidence thing, but now our confidence is sky-high.”
His team certainly did have to battle and put four quarters together to get the victory on this night. The Titans trailed for a decent portion of the game but never by much. Dominion led on occasion but its biggest lead came with 4:56 left in the game at 41-37 after a Mancuso lay-up.
That lead didn’t last long after Phoenix coach Jay Geyer took a time out to settle his team. After Rock Ridge star guard Alex Fitch converted two free throws, James Larsen stole the ball and converted an old-fashioned three-point play just a short time later. Rock Ridge had regained the lead, but the teams traded buckets back and forth until the score was knotted at 46 with just over a minute left.
While the Phoenix could not convert in the final minute, Dominion could. After a time out with about 12 seconds left, the Titans in-bounded the ball and got it to Mancuso. He did the rest, converting the first of his two free throws after he was fouled.
“Coach designed a play to get one of our shooters open, but he wasn’t open,” Mancuso said. “So I just knew I had to get to the basket and score.”
Rock Ridge (5-6) was led by Fitch with 18 points. Dominion did a nice job limiting the dangerous tall shooting guard, but Fitch scored 11 of his 18 in the second half despite obvious extra attention by the Titans. Swingman Andrew Sanderson was key as well for the Phoenix, scoring most of his 15 points in the first half while Fitch worked to find his rhythm.
Mancuso led Dominion (4-7) with 14 points, adding six boards to boot. The guard-heavy Titans got key minutes off the bench from big man Michael Discher, who did a good job protecting the paint and had eight points and five rebounds. Guard Trey Hayes also did good work on the boards against the taller Phoenix, contributing seven rebounds to go with his six points. It was definitely a team win for the Titans as all ten players who played scored.
“I think everyone on the team knows what we can do now,” Mancuso said.
all stats are unofficial
|Threes: Fitch 3-9, Sanderson 0-1, Conrow 0-1, Gray 0-2, Bhakta 0-2|
|Threes: Mancuso 2-6, Hayes 1-2, Hickey 1-4, Frye 0-1, O’Flahavan 0-1, Wajsgras 0-1|