December 28th 2013
By DUFF TYLER
Sychar Sterling loves the taste of victory in championship games.
He’s been in a few of those as a member of the New Haven High School boys’ basketball team.
So he also knows there are moments when it is necessary to step up and deliver in those big games.
The senior finished four assists shy of a triple-double as he scored a game-high 19 points while pulling down 16 rebounds to lead New Haven to a 70-57 win over South Lake in the championship game of the Rockets’ Holiday Tournament on Saturday.
Trailing the Cavaliers 45-44 late in the third quarter, Brandyn Gonzales chimed in with his only points of the game – a 3-pointer that put New Haven ahead for the rest of the evening. It was one of 10 3-pointers that the Rockets drained in the contest.
But before South Lake could get the ball to its end of the floor, the Cavs’ Justin Navarra threw an errant pass that the Rockets’ Sychar Sterling intercepted and turned into a thunderous dunk that rocked everyone in the building.
It was two of his 15 second-half points as the Rockets grabbed a 49-45 lead.
“I felt like we came out in the third quarter kind of flat. We needed something to bring us up and I guess that was it,” Sterling said of his monster jam.
He later sank a trey of his own and dished the ball to Jyaire Mack underneath the basket for a layup that allowed New Haven (4-0) to close out the quarter on a 9-2 run.
“He has been a leader, a tough player and he’s got ice in his veins,” Rockets’ coach Tedaro France II said. “He’s not afraid to take a big shot.”
It was hard to watch for South Lake coach Kurt Wilson Sr. He watched his team battle back from a 35-29 deficit at halftime. His Cavaliers (2-3) managed to go in front 45-44 on a bucket from Damaris Heard for two of his 10 points.
It was the last time they held the lead.
“New Haven is a good team,” Wilson said. “They’re very well-disciplined and structured. They deserved to win tonight.”
New Haven held a 14-13 edge after the opening period.
Marquis Perkins and Ryan Crayton each scored 18 points for the Rockets. Navarra had 14 points to lead South Lake. Damone Tillman and Anthony Morgan both chipped in with 11 points.
South Lake 13 16 18 10 – 57
New Haven 14 21 19 16 – 70
SOUTH LAKE (2-3): Damaris Heard 10, Jeff Golden 2, Damone Tillman 11, Justin Navarra 14, ParaShaun Cunegin 3, Jeremy Wright 6, Anthony Morgan 11. Totals – 19 (2) 13-18 – 57.
NEW HAVEN (4-0): Mike Kincaid 3, Ryun Crayton 18, Marquis Perkins 18, Jyaire Mack 2, Joshua Mills 4, Joshua Harris 4, Marcus Jamison 4, Brandyn Gonzales 3. Totals – 13 (10) 12-18 – 70.
DETROIT DENBY 51, MICHIGAN COLLEGIATE 41: In the consolation game of the New Haven Holiday Tournament, Detroit Denby defeated Michigan Collegiate 51-41. Jaylen Lamar led the tars with 14 points. Malcolm Cohen scored 14 for Michigan Collegiate.
Michigan Collegiate 10 13 10 8 – 41
Detroit Denby 10 20 8 13 – 51
MICHIGAN COLLEGIATE: Diarra Keeling 2, Melvin Taylor 3, Damon Osley 3, Malik Cohen 1, Shamecio Gibson 4, Malcolm Cohen 14, Justin Parker 13. Totals – 8 (5) 10-25 – 41.
DETROIT DENBY: Anthony York 7, Aaron White 1, Robert Robinson 4, Cornelius Stevenson 7, Jaylen Lamar 14, Nicholas Terry 7, Deangelo Walker 8, Lorenzo Hodge 3. Totals 19 (1) 7-22 – 51.