Opponents have been throwing different defenses at Morrison all season, but the Eagles have had the answer every time. Even the most problematic of situations often had the same answer: get the ball to Kristopher Robledo and let him cook.
Robledo was the star in Saturday’s 3-Pt Club championship game, scoring 19 points as he led the Eagles to a 44-28 victory over Centertown. Robledo was named the tourney MVP following the championship, which capped off a 12-0 run for Morrison through the regular season and postseason in the 7-8 grade league.
Rylon Morrison (11 points) and Eli Davis (six points) also played a big part in Morrison pulling away from the rugged Warriors. Both were named all-tournament for their performances, as was guard AJ Whitman scoring three points and playing hounding defense in the title tilt.
“I think those who watched would agree it was closer than the final score would indicate. We knew we would get Centertown’s best effort – they are disciplined and well-coached,” said Morrison coach Chris Roberson. “I felt like we did a great job executing what we were trying to do. I credit the players – they put in the time and effort over the year and maintained a resilient mentality through the contest.”
Defense was the name of the game early, as both teams refused to give an inch on either side. Morrison tried to use its impressive size – with both Davis and Morrison showing up as enforcers at the rim – and quickness on the perimeter to slow down the Warriors, while Centertown cycled through zones to keep the Eagles from finding a groove.
Kayden Solomon was usually the key to the Warrior defense, hounding Eagle ball handlers, including Robledo, all night. Solomon, who also scored eight points while playing great defense, was one of two Warriors to be named to the all-tournament team. Guard Kiptyn Medley also was recognized after hitting three 3-pointers in the championship game, while center Ryan Romzek was named all-tournament as well for Centertown.
Medley’s second triple of the first half, along with a 3-pointer from Ryder Gilispie, put Centertown up 13-12 shortly before halftime, but Robledo’s 3-point play put Morrison back out in front. He added another layup right before the break, knocking over Centertown defenders to go up 17-13.
Rylon sparked Morrison in the second half, getting an early 3-point play off a putback to give the Eagles a 22-15 advantage. Whitman added a 3-pointer later in the third, hitting every inch of rim before getting it to fall through.
Once Davis powered his way to a layup and got a putback – buckets that were sandwiched around two Robledo floaters – Morrison led 33-22.