WNY Athletics

Joe’s Tops Ken West to Win Ken-Ton Tournament

They say that defense wins championships, but the St. Joe’s Marauders twisted that phrase a little bit, as an impressive shooting performance gave Joe’s the Ken-Ton Holiday Tournament title in a 75-68 win over Kenmore West at Kenmore East High School.

The Marauders came out hot, as they rocketed out of the gates to a 21-11 lead after quarter one on the back of four total three pointers, three of which coming from Caleb Cockrell, who dropped 11 in the first eight minutes.

Joe’s didn’t slow down in the second, putting up another 21 point quarter, as Ken West were narrowly hanging around thanks to strong play on the offensive glass and in the paint as a whole. A buzzer beating layup for Joe’s brought quarter two to an end, as the Marauders went into the locker room with a 42-30 lead.

The third quarter was the polar opposite of the first half for both sides, as sloppy play and turnovers consumed each team, with the Marauders putting up a mere eight points and West scoring ten. A five second violation on the opening inbound pass for St. Joe’s seemed to set the tone for the quarter and swing the momentum, as the Blue Devils quickly strung together a 6-0 run to cut the Joe’s lead to six. Unfortunately, Ken West was unable to produce much else offensively, as a Naseer Jackson three point play to close out the third set Joe’s up with a 50-40 lead going into the final eight minutes.

The Marauders got back on track during the start of the fourth quarter, as they swiftly extended their lead to fifteen, which would be the largest lead of the game for either side. As time dwindled down, turnovers led to points for the Blue Devils, as they managed to come within five late in the fourth. But right when the tides looked to be turning, another Naseer Jackson three point play killed West’s dreams of a comeback, as St Joe’s cruised to finish to crown themselves the Ken-Ton Tournament champs.

The Marauders were led by Caleb Cockrell, who led all scorers with an impressive 25 points, as well as Naseer Jackson with 22, including a clutch 6 for 6 shooting performance at the foul line in the fourth quarter, and going 10 for 14 for the whole game. Jackson was also selected to the All-Tournament team. The two wins in the tournament put Joe’s at 5-3 on the year.

“We needed to stop Ken West’s stars and play with discipline on defense, and we were able to do that,” said Joe’s head coach Mark Simon. “We also needed to be disciplined offensively, and we did that too.”

Ken West was led by Tyler Aquilina and Tal James, who put up 21 and 17 respectively in the loss. On the positive side for the Blue Devils, Aquilina and Kyle LaPlante, who had 14 points in the championship, were both selected to the All-Tournament team. The loss sits West at 3-5 this season.

“We need to play better defense, we gave them too many open jump shots, and they took advantage and shot really well,” said Blue Devils head coach Mike Meetze.

Prior to the championship, the third place game between took place between Cardinal O’Hara and Kenmore East, resulting in a 72-55 win for the Hawks.

In a game where eight of the nine O’Hara players who dressed put up points, Jermaine Haynes led the way for the Hawks with 23, as Torree Cheatham and Justin Hemphill both put up 14 and 12 respectively. Cheatham was also named to the All-Tournament team.

Konner Flynn put up 23 in the loss for the Bulldogs to lead the team and give himself a spot on the All-Tournament team.

The win put O’Hara at 3-4 this season and the loss dropped Ken East to 2-6.

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