As the country was heading for the fiscal cliff, the William Fleming Colonels had some monetary policy of their own going on Saturday night at the Salem Civic Center.
The plan was simple: shut down the Banks. Patrick Henry superstar, Marcus Banks, that is.
The strategy worked great for one half as the stingy Colonel defense held Banks to four first-half points, three coming on a NBA-range three-pointer as the first quarter buzzer sounded.
In the end, however, there was a run on the Banks, and PH came away with the 55-43 win to capture the K-Guard Classic championship.
“To his credit, Marcus didn’t force anything in the first half,” Patriot head coach Jack Esworthy noted afterward of his senior. “They didn’t give him any space, so he just took what was there.”
On the other end, Fleming led by as many as five in the first quarter, and went on a 5-0 spurt to start the second to take a 18-11 lead, its biggest of the game.
The Patriots closed the first half with a 13-5 run to send the teams to the break with PH up 24-23.
“We came out with a lot of energy,” Fleming head coach Mickey Hardy noted. “We were scoring in spurts.”
The Colonels had undoubtably gained a measure of confidence after they knocked off previously unbeaten Gar-Field in Friday night’s semifinal to set up the cross-town final.
The third quarter saw Patrick Henry open up a 41-31 lead after a Christian Kirchman 3-pointer late in the frame, before Fleming’s Adrian Dungee hit from behind the arc to cut the PH advantage to 41-34.
Dungee then created the biggest stir of the night when he netted a full-court heave from the PH free throw line that was just late leaving his hand before the buzzer.
Fleming got to within 3 at 44-41 on a Warren Craft layup midway through the fourth quarter. Banks then took control, ending any hopes of a Colonel comeback.
Banks hit a long three-pointer, followed with a driving runner and finished by making three free throws for a 8-0 run that pushed the Patriot lead to 52-41 with 2:50 left.
“We fought back,” Esworthy said. “We just waited to make a run.”
“I was a little frustrated in the first half,” Banks said with a grin in the Patriot locker room. “I only had one point, but the 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter was a big confidence builder. At the end, the run was ‘PH time’.”
“Marcus Banks is a tremendous player,” Hardy said. “Good players always step up. Hat’s off to PH.”
“I’ve got some really good kids here,” Hardy added. “We play them 2 more times; I’m looking for good things for us down the road.”
Banks finished with 16 points for PH, with Kirchman adding 15 for the Patriots.
Shalik Law led the Colonel scoring with 11 points. Quashawn Robertson added 9 for Fleming, with Dungee netting 8.
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