Now in the tournament’s ninth year, York has more championships than any other participating program. This is also the fourth straight season the Knights have defeated Cal-Mum in the finals.
Midway through the second quarter, it did not seem York would be raising the championship trophy, however.
Cal-Mum’s Steve Gaffney, who finished with a game- high 33 points, came out firing from deep, pacing the Red Raiders to a 30-20 lead with 4:52 left in the second quarter.
On their home court with a raucous cheering section on their side, a ten point lead felt much more daunting.
“If I compared this game to anything, it felt just like a sectional game,” York’s Nick Curry said, who finished with 19 points.
Despite the atmosphere, York’s patient, balanced offense, led by tournament MVP Tyler Shutts, who also added 19 points, the Knights were able to claw back in the game.
As the half wound down, Shutts drilled a step back three-pointer to cut the lead to two. Then, after Gaffney countered with a three of his own, York scored five consecutive points to end the half, putting the score at 39-38.
“We really needed to get at least one win in his tournament,” but it was even better to get the championship,” York’s Tyler Shutts said. “The goal is to get a top four seed and hopefully back to the Blue Cross.”
The Raiders and Knights continued to trade baskets as the second half began. Then, a clutch three-pointer from York guard, Eli Laboy, put the Knights ahead, 50-49. This lead they would not squander for the rest of the game.
York head coach, Ed Orman was pleased with the victory and a fourth consecutive title. However, Orman realizes his team has a tough road ahead of them if they want to reach their ultimate goal.
“Everybody was counting us out, we’ve never counted ourselves out,“ Orman said. “We have heard for a long time how great Caledonia was and we came here focused to play tonight. The key is getting our team to nights like tonight where any given night we can light it up.”
With the victory, York not only improves their record to 5-2, but they also hand Cal-Mum their first loss. The Red Raiders now stand at 6-1.
All Tournament Team
Hunter Spiotta – Oakfield-Alabama
Nick Curry – York
Matthew Cook – Wheatland-Chili
Steve Gaffney – Cal-Mum
Andrew Short – York
Madison Suhr – Cal-Mum
Tournament MVP: Tyler Shutts – York
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