CORAL SPRINGS, FL– The 22nd Annual Kreul Classic kicked off Saturday night with a battle between Florida’s Champagnat Catholic and Canadian contingent Father Henry Carr of Toronto, with scouts on hand from Florida, FAU, South Alabama, Wisconsin, Tulane, Bryant, and Florida Gulf Coast, among others.
The FHC Crusaders had their hands full with a Champagnat team lead by nationally ranked, 6’11 center Tonye Jekiri (who averaged 20 points and 13 rebounds per game lastyear) as well as guard Mikhail Rolle, cousin of NFL Pro-Bowler Antrel Rolle.
Despite the height disadvantage, the tallest Carr player being four inches shorter than Jekiri, the Crusaders big men shut the Miami commit down for most of the night, getting him in early foul trouble. As a result, the current NPH #1-ranked team in Canada earned a 52-51 victory in their first game ofthe Kreul Classic.
The game was filled with emotional runs from both squads,with Father Carr going up 15-6 early after stealing the ball three times in the first two minutes. Champagnat rebounded quickly, going on a 7-2 run of their own to finish thequarter down just four, 17-13. After seeing their lead cut down to two baskets, Carrcame out firing in the second quarter with Jekiri on the bench with three fouls.
A steal and long three pointer from guard Josh Bell sparked an 11-0 run, putting the team up 28-13. When “Big Tonye” came back on the floor, though, the momentum swung drastically in the favor of the Lions, who started playing staunch defense, as Carr had been doing all night.
Carr only scored one basket in the final four minutes of the firsthalf as Champagnat closed the quarter with an 11-2 run, heading into half time down six, 30-24.
The Crusaders fed off their half-ending run with similar play, scoring the first five points of the third quarter to get within a point, 30-29, but never took a lead, ending the quarter down two, 37-35.
However, the first two minutes of the fourth quarter belonged to Carr’s senior forward Shane Osayande, who had a thundering dunk off a missed shot, followed by a turnaround layup. The Lions would not go away, though, taking their first lead of the game on a Tonye Jekiri dunk and one with 5:31 left in the game, making it 42-41 Champagnat.
Once Champagnat got a lead, they held onto it for most of the quarter,going on an 8-0 run to go up 49-41 with 3:32 left. Father Henry Carr guard Lincoln Samuels ended the run with a free throw, and hit a three nineteen seconds later to put the Crusaders within four, 49-45, with three minutes to go when Tonye Jekiri was charged with his fourth foul, forcing him to play safe for the rest of the game.
Carr pulled within two when Tre Boutilier got an offensive rebound off a missed layup and put it back in with under two minutes to play.
In the clutch, Henry Carr needed someone to step up. With a such a talented team there are various options however this time it was senior guard Tramique Sutherland who has been rock solid for FHC all season!
The senior had been the best defensive player on the floorall night, and distributed the ball well, giving Bell and Osayande open shots. With a quick first step, great floor vision, and the aforementioned elite defensive presence, scouts were definitely impressed by the guard, who does not yet have any D-1 offers.
Down 51-48 with under a minute to go, Father Carr missed two free throws, and Champagnat brought the ball down the floor, ready to run the clock down and coast to their victory. Tramique Sutherland would have no part in this.
The quick-handed guard stole the ball and drove down the court, converting on a contested fast-break layup to make it a one point game with 51.1 seconds remaining. Sutherland then stole the long inbounds pass, preventing a wide open layup, and dished the ball inside to a Carr big man who was hacked without a foul call, drawing boos from the crowd.
The Crusaders fouled with 23 seconds left, giving Champagnat an opportunity to make it a three pointgame. The Lions missed both free throws, and Carr successfully got the rebound with 12.8 seconds left.
Sutherland, bringing the ball down the floor, passed it around before ultimately finding 2014 PG Brendon Chevannes, who drew a foul with 1.1 seconds togo, making up for the missed call a few seconds earlier.
The guard made both free throws, putting Carr up one. The team from Toronto played great defense on the inbounds, preventing a long pass, forcing Champagnat to pass to senior forward Teran Watson, who threw up a Gordan Hayward-esque half-court heave that narrowly missed, giving the Father Henry Carr Crusaders a dramatic victory!
With the win, Carr moves on to the semi-finals, where they will face Pines Charter (FL), who edged out Spencer Rivers and Winter Park. The Crusaders and Jaguars will face off Monday afternoon at 2:30, with the winner playing either Collegiate(NY) or Columbus (FL) in the finals Tuesday.