The Bishop Carroll Golden Eagles won the 2019 Tournament of Champions Saturday, coming from behind to beat the Junction City Blue Jays 64-54.
The Blue Jays led by as many as 10 points in the first half and 16-10 at the end of the first quarter, but the Golden Eagles were far from finished and tied the game on a 3-pointer by senior Carsen Pracht with under seven seconds left in the second quarter.
It was the beginning of what became the end for the Blue Jays, despite their best efforts to make a comeback late.
The Eagles outscored the Blue Jays 19-7 in the third quarter, and 38-28 in the second half to take the Championship Game.
Pracht finished with 12 points for the Eagles. Senior Carson Lee had a team-high 14, and junior Tanner Mans had 11.
The Eagles led 45-33 at the end of the third, but the Blue Jays continued to fight hard, cutting the lead to 3 points at various occasions in the final quarter.
“We didn’t play well the first half, and that’s a credit to (the Blue Jays),” Bishop Carroll head coach Mike Domnick said. “We talked about how athletic they are and we see that a lot in our league, but these kids are pretty special in Junction City, and it took a while for us to get a feel for what they were trying to do.”
The Eagles started to hit shots, which was key, but Domnick also pointed out that at the end of the game the Eagles struggled to handle the Blue Jays’ pressure.
“I was really disappointed in how we handled that,” Domnick said. “We built a comfortable lead, I think 12 points, and next thing you know we gave up easy looks where we don’t do very much and they put pressure on us and we didn’t handle it very well.”
At the end of the day, the Eagles came out of it on top, and Domnick said he was happy.
Blue Jay head coach Nick Perez said he thought his team had their opportunities, and that senior AJ Dickerson and junior Qua’vez Humphreys both played great.
“We’ve just got to find a third and fourth guy to go with that group,” Perez said.
Dickerson and Humphreys scored the most and second-most points respectively in Saturday’s Championship Game. Dickerson had 21, and Humphreys had 18.
Perez said Pracht’s 3-pointer was a momentum changer.
“We knew they were going to jump because they’re good in the third quarter,” Perez said.
He said looking back he probably could have used a couple of timeouts earlier to slow the Eagles’ momentum.
“We kind of dug ourselves a hole, but I love the fight in our kids,” Perez said. “They played hard until the whistle blew. We tried to come back, we got it to about 4. Then we fouled, they made a free throw, we turned it over and they made a layup.”
In the end, Perez said he was extremely proud of his team.
“I think we’re better today than we were when we got here,” Perez said.
Final Tournament of Champions placings:
1. Bishop Carroll
2. Junction City
3. Shawnee Mission South
4. Dodge City
8. Wichita North