It was a record-setting game. Too bad for Bishop Luers and James Blackmon Jr. it wasn't enough to overcome Snider.
Blackmon Jr. scored 45 points, 40 in the second half, as he set the single-game record for points in the SAC Holiday Tournament, but Snider took the quarterfinal victory 101-87. The Panthers play Northrop in the semifinals at 6:30 tomorrow evening.
The large point totals were due to an extremely fast-paced second half for both teams as Snider only led 35-29 at halftime.
“We had to counter-attack because they went with five little guards, so we had to go with five little men as well,” Snider head coach John Todor said. “But we have a 6'5” sophomore I think most people are starting to find out about. Devlyn Williams is a hell of a player.”
Williams second half helped Snider maintain its lead after Blackmon Jr. took off. The sophomore scored 16 of his 21 points after the break as Snider continually looked to him inside the paint in the third and fourth quarters.
“At the beginning of the game, you know, it was slow-paced and people was putting up shots and didn't really get it in the post as much, but towards the second half we went into the locker room, and I talked to coach, and all the players started looking for me in the post,” Snider's Devlyn Williams said.
The inside looks were important as Williams was more than needed for the Panthers. They managed to hold Blackmon Jr. to only five points in the first half on 2-10 shooting, but he heard the right things at halftime.
“My dad (head coach James Blackmon) told me 'That's your shot every time,'” Blackmon Jr. said. “I'll make those 90 percent of the time if I'm open. Just (needed) to get lower. I wasn't low on my shot (in the first half). I was standing straight up.”
The advice worked as he and brother Vijay scored all 21 of the Knights' points in the third quarter. Then in the fourth Blackmon Jr. hit four 3-pointers on top of multiple drives with an and-one attached.
Then, with under a minute to play and the game out of reach, he broke former Bishop Luers standout Deshaun Thomas's record of 43 points with an easy layup.
“We (Snider) wanted him to put the ball on the floor and drive the paint and have our big mean step-up and contest his shots,” Todor said. “We started backing up on him and backing up on him and letting him pull-up and shoot. He was just sizing them up.”
After the game, Blackmon Jr. didn't even realize he had set the record, but said it's tough to lose a game when scoring so many points.
The second half splurge never really got Bishop Luers back in the game, though. Snider never trailed in the game and the Knights would only get as close as four points in the third quarter. At that point, the Panthers went on a 14-4 run to end the third and the lead was at least 11 the entire fourth quarter.
“We knew they'd wear out, scouted them well,” Todor said. “Knew the two Blackmons would do most of the shooting, and they didn't have an inside presence, knew that coming in … Now we have to regroup and get our legs back and get some water in us. We have another tough one tomorrow evening.”