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Gar-Field boys capture Wakefield tourney title

The moment the first shot left his hand, Gar-Field junior Curtis Einsmann knew it was going to be a good night. And as one of two outside shooters for the Indians, Einsmann’s marksmanship would be essential during the championship game of the Wakefield Holiday Hoops Tournament Wednesday night in Arlington.

With Osbourn Park using 1-3-1 zone for much of the night, Gar-Field swung the ball from side-to-side and consistently found open shots. Given a clear look at the basket, Einsmann drilled four three-pointers and finished with 13 points during Gar-Field’s 51-33 win.

“We knew if we could get the ball swinging around then we could find open jump shots, especially in the 1-3-1 zone,” Einsmann said. “We were doing a good job of reversing the ball around and kicking the ball out.”

Of the groove that he found himself in, Einsmann added, “I was feeling good. I just have to remember how I did it the first time and try to keep that feeling.”

The win helped Gar-Field improve to 8-2 this season. It was the third holiday tournament victory during Coach Andy Gray’s 17-year tenure and first since 1999.

By beating Fairfax and Cardozo, Gar-Field reversed the idea that teams actually need to practice to have success. Because of the pre-holiday snowstorm, Gar-Field was able to hold a team practice just once -- on Saturday, Dec. 26 -- for about 90 minutes prior to the tournament.

“For only practicing once, and to be able to push through, I think we executed well,” said senior Jeremiah Johnson, who finished with eight points and 10 rebounds and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. “We’re just a real hard-working group.”

Gar-Field closed the first half on a 7-1 run, as a pair of juniors, Lawrence Johnson -- who was the recipient of many of the Indians’ open looks inside while matching Einsmann with 13 points -- and Corey Bonds (8 points), combined to score all seven points for the Indians. The spurt also created all the separation that Gar-Field would need.

Johnson kick-started the run with an off-balance layup and later added a free throw; Bonds hit a pair of free throws and converted a layup three seconds before halftime, as Gar-Field outscored Osbourn Park, 16-6, in the second quarter.

Osbourn Park was led by Joseph Serrano, who scored eight of the Yellow Jackets’ 11 first-quarter points and finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Brandon Jenkins also had 10 points and 6 rebounds for Osbourn Park, which dropped to 2-4 with the loss despite posting wins in this tournament over Massaponax and Maret.

With an established star in Johnson, who came in averaging 16.1 points per game, Gar-Field was able to find a few complementary options, especially considering Johnson missed almost six minutes in the second quarter when he picked up an early second foul.

“Both he and Justin [Pittman], knocking down those threes, it makes a big difference for us. It gives us some flexibility on offense so we don’t only have to rely on Jeremiah,” Gray said. “We found the open man and sometimes the shots were inside, sometimes the shots were threes. That made a huge difference in what they wanted to do against us.”

By Jason Mackey  |  December 30, 2009; 9:29 PM ET
Categories:  Boys' Basketball , Cardinal District , Gar-Field , Northwest Region , Osbourn Park  
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Next: Broad Run boys roll to another holiday tournament title

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