Mike Williams recalled the conversation his coaches had with the Bishop Loughlin junior guard prior to Saturday’s anticipated matchup against Mount Vernon.
“I felt like my coaches stressed how good Mount Vernon is. I said ok, I love tough games like this,” Williams said. “I wanted to show everybody that I’m level headed and I can play against everybody.”
Williams came out to shine at packed Wadleigh gymnasium by scoring a team high 22 points and grabbing six rebounds in Bishop Loughlin's 76-56 victory at the seventh annual Wadleigh-Rucker Christmas Classic held in Harlem.
Williams, a junior 6-foot-1 guard, was lethal from the outside, knocking down five 3-pointers and creating another matchup problem that Mount Vernon could not solve.
Bishop Loughlin (5-1), ranked No. 3 in New York City by MSG Varsity, raced off to a fast start, leading 27-15 after one quarter and never relinquished the lead.
“I’m very confident in my shot. My team has a lot of confidence in my shot. Anytime they see me open, they know I’m going to knock it down,” Williams. “It [the win] means a lot because they are the two-time Federation champions and they are good public school team.”
The Lions were able to score a lot of baskets in transition with highly regarded junior guard Khadeen Carrington scoring 18 points.
The 6-foot-3 guard scored 12 points in the first half as St. John’s coach Steve Lavin watched from the stands. Bishop Loughlin established a 16-point lead late in the first quarter by disrupting a young Mount Vernon team into rushing shots and committing turnovers.
“We were looking forward to playing this game,” Carrington said. “We made a statement beating this team and I heard they were nationally ranked. We know we’re a tough team and we can play against anybody.”
The quick feet of Josh Doughty got Mount Vernon (3-1), ranked No. 1 in Hudson Valley/Westchester by MSG Varsity, back into the contest in the second quarter. Doughty knocked down five 3-pointers, and had 19 in the half to spark the Knights and cut the deficit to 40-33 at half.
Mount Vernon, which has five new starters, could not cope with the quick start Bishop Loughlin made in the second half. The Lions went on a 10-0 run to take a 50-33 lead on a layup by Anthony Vernon with 6:18 remaining in the third quarter.
Doughty said he found it hard to recreate his first half heroics with Loughlin defender Darius James shadowing him. The Knights senior guard said his team had difficulty defending the numerous scoring options the Lions presented on the floor.
“I give props to Bishop Loughlin. They came out strong," Doughty said. "They played very well. I’m not mad, my team played hard."
Loughlin coach Ed Gonzalez was impressed with his team’s performance against a Mount Vernon team led by coach Bob Cimmino. The next stop for the Lions is the STOP-DWI Tournament in Binghamton after Christmas.
“It’s great for our young kids. They knew they had to start strong going in, they’re [Mount Vernon] well coached and well prepared,” Gonzalez said. “My kids were up for challenge and it’s a good morale booster to beat them by that many points.”