Follow Section 1 boys basketball on Twitter: @MSGVarsityHVC
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — As good as the Arlington High School boys’ basketball had been shooting from the perimeter during the four-day Dutchess County Basketball Coaches Association Holiday Tournament, head coach Matt Hoyt was mildly concerned.
“You know, typical coach’s worry – we make 14 three-pointers in the semifinals but we shoot less than 50% (5-of-12) from the free throw line,” Hoyt said.
He had nothing to worry about on Friday night.
The Admirals were clicking on all cylinders, including from the foul line where they shot 17-for-20 in the fourth quarter, and Arlington beat Beacon, 70-64 for the championship of the 23rd annual tournament.
The tourney was played at Our Lady of Lourdes in the town of Poughkeepsie.
It was the first Dutchess County Basketball Coaches Association title for the Admirals since 2004 when, ironically, they beat Beacon.
Tournament MVP Gio Rodriguez and teammate Brian Brocker both had a career-high 24 points each to lead Arlington. Brothers Marquise and Jarell Brown had 23 points apiece for Beacon.
Rodriguez had four of the Admirals six three-pointers – including a four-point play for the second consecutive night – and Brocker helped his team control the inside by consistently beating Beacon’s defenders on the baseline for reverse layups.
“Really, a lot of that was about penetrating by our guards and drawing the defense,” Brocker said. “But I tried to get fakes going to move their zone around. A lot of times they jumped up on the blocks so I was able to get inside.”
Arlington jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the game but the Bulldogs erased it with 11 consecutive points to close the quarter. In the second period, the Admirals blistered the nets for 10-of-14 shooting from the field and took a six-point lead into the break, a lead that stayed at six, 43-37, heading into the final quarter.
Beacon got as close as three, 58-55, on a marvelous tip-in by John Gonzalez with just under three minutes to go, but from that point on every point the Admirals scored was from the foul line – and they went 12-for-14 in the final 2:50, including four each from Brocker and Rodriguez.
Arlington is 6-1 now heading into league play.
“I can’t look farther ahead,” Rodriguez said. “We’re playing well now and I think we have a real shot at our league, but we have to take it practice by practice.”
Beacon is now 3-2 but both losses were a step up in class – losing to Class AA Arlington and North Rockland.
“I thought we played pretty well in general, if you look at the whole body of work,” Beacon coach Tom Powers said. “They pushed us in the second half and they made 22 foul shots for the game and we made eight. That’s a big difference right there. But we’ve only lost to the two Double A teams and this was only our fifth game. This was a great learning experience."
Follow Rich Thomaselli on Twitter @RPTSPORTS