Friday, Feb. 25, 2011
By: Chris Pellizzari
Not only did the No. 11 Spartans capture a 2A regional title on Friday. They did it with style.
In front of opponent Chicago Christians own fans, Hales (25-4) put on a show that consisted of a barrage of slam dunks and steals. When the curtain finally came down, the Spartans walked away with the 78-49 victory.
Halfway through the first period, Hales junior Aaric Armstead (12 points) caught a pass just beyond the three-point line. He blew by his defender and bursted down the right baseline before elevating over another Knight defender and throwing down a tomahawk dunk.
Seconds later, Dominique Walls (16 points, eight rebounds) stole a pass and took it the length of the court for another dunk.
It was also the beginning of an onslaught of Knight turnovers.
Leading by only seven points early in the second period, The Spartans turned their game up another gear. Junior Eddie Alcantara, who led all scorers with 21 points, connected with Walls for an alley-oop dunk that sparked an 8-0 run.
Armstead then stripped the ball from a Knight player and took it in for another uncontested dunk. Chicago Christian (21-7), who finished the game with 35 turnovers, had four turnovers on four straight possessions during the run.
Two mid-range jump shots by Aaron Armstead capped off the run and gave the Spartans a 27-12 lead.
Chicago Christian had a hard time just getting the ball past the half-court line and committed 10 turnovers in the period while only scoring eight points. Aaron Armstead scored seven points alone in the period.
Appropriately, the half came to an end with two more steals and another dunk. Jerry Humphrey (four points) had both steals, one which led to a dunk by Alcantara and the other an easy layup for Humphrey.
The Spartans held a commanding 34-18 going into half time.
We wanted to come out and push the ball, said Aaron Armstead. We did a great job of attacking their gaps and scoring in the paint. It was total team effort offensively and I did what I had to do.
With 5:12 left in the third period, Hales jumped out to its biggest lead of the game, 42-21, when Alcantara stole a pass and took it all the way for a dunk.
As the rest of his teammates were throwing down dunks, Walls showed off his skills as an offensive rebounder. The 6-6 senior timed the ball perfectly before soaring in the air and tipping it in off the glass. He scored eight points off offensive rebounds in the period.
The Knights turned the ball over eight more times in the period. Alcantara, who had four steals in the period, took advantage of the turnovers for nine third-quarter points.
Defensively, we had a great game plan tonight. We brought a playoff intensity, said Alcantara. We are hungry for a state championship and we plan to will ourselves to wins.
Michael Kamp led Chicago Christian with 17 points.