Posted: 6:33 pm Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
5 thoughts on Summit Christian’s 62-50 win over Grandview Prep; Summit coach Murray Smith pans rival
By Jeff Greer
Updated on Friday, March 4, with clarification about recent transfers.
LAKELAND — Summit Christian settled the who’s-better debate (at least this season) with a comfortable 62-50 win over Grandview Prep in the Class 1A title game at the Lakeland Center. Here’s some insight into how that happened, and all kinds of quotable lines from Summit coach Murray Smith.
Basketball, like baseball and pretty much any other sport, can be simplified by a box score. You don’t have to look too far to find out why Team X beat Team Y. So here are three reasons why Summit Christian (28-4) topped Grandview Prep (27-3) in the all-Palm Beach County final:
(1) Summit Christian shot 56 percent as a team.
(2) Grandview shot 36 percent.
(3) Farad Cobb
But my five thoughts would be boring if I was all about stats. So let’s add some flavor, turn the heat up a little bit and get cooking. (I apologize for that previous sentence.)
1. Farad Cobb, MVP. Apparently they stopped giving out MVP awards at the state finals a few years ago because of lack of interest from the media. Given that I was one of, like, five people in media row, I like to think a vote of mine would have actually counted for the first time since I moved to Palm Beach County (rim shot).
I would have voted for Cobb, who had 20 points in each game and made seven 3-pointers. He was 12 of 23 shooting and was 7 of 11 from 3. He was also 9 of 12 from the charity stripe. He had four assists and three steals in the title game. He didn’t get going until he converted an and-one layup on a fast break. He then scored seven of his team’s 15 points during Summit’s decisive 15-0 run in the second quarter. Grandview never recovered.
“I kind of had a slow start but I came into the game not worried about stats,” Cobb said. “I was just gonna continue to play hard the whole game to help my teammates because I know we only needed one win. This is the most important game of the season, to win the state championship, so I just kept playing, I didn’t give up and I came through.”
Smith said, “I would love to be Farad Cobb or (junior 6-8 forward) Brandon Williams for the next few years because their careers are gonna be unbelievable.”
2. Defense, too. But it wasn’t just Cobb’s offense. He also played a key role in shutting down Grandview Prep’s scoring guards — Ivan Canete, Daniel Garga and Eric Mance — who had 21 points in the final after putting up 43 in the semis. Cobb had help from 5-7 guards Kadeem Robinson and Kyle Yong and underclassmen Josue Levy and Dorian O’Neal.
“I got sick of some people saying that they felt like my bigs were better because we had two, but they thought their guards were bigger, were better than our guards,” Smith said. “I just said, ‘I’m not gonna argue with you. We’ll find out.’
“Yesterday, they were having target practice, their guards. Today, not a lot of points. There wasn’t a lot of dunks by that guy today, Garga. He didn’t have a highlight show today. Mance, yesterday, had some great shots. He got one basket today. We knew ID was gonna get some points, but if the other guys … they didn’t combine for a lot and I’ll bet you half of that was at the end of the game. They didn’t have many.”
Grandview coach Joe Dawson was asked about his team’s offensive struggles. The Pride made 1 of 16 3-pointers and couldn’t get much to fall after the first quarter.
“They did what they had to do to win,” Dawson said. “They absolutely — we could not score in the first half. We got off to a good start, up three or four early, but for some reason, we just couldn’t score. That’s the first time this year we couldn’t score. We couldn’t move it. That’s what it takes to win games.
“Yesterday we shot the ball real well. We had open shots. Today I don’t think we had many open shots at all. Their defense was really good. Whoever had the ball, if you passed it, they moved really well getting to their guys. There’s not much to say, but their defense just won them the game … They were just quicker to the ball. For some reason, we didn’t move it enough … We just couldn’t get anything going offensively.”
3. Making ID work. Ismaila Dauda has great touch around the basket. At 6-9, he has the length to match his soft hands, and he’s a handful for any opponent. He got 26 points today on 9 of 16 shooting, but he never felt like he was in the flow of the game. He went to the foul line 10 times. Grandview had to pull him out a few times because the Pride needed to create turnovers with pressure.
It was a frustrating game for Dauda, who will have to go to prep school for a year before he goes to Miami because he does not have enough high school credits accepted by the NCAA. Summit switched between 6-4 forward Jean Prophete, who plays a lot like DeJuan Blair only with a jump shot, and 6-8 forward Brandon Williams, who’s a lengthy player who bothers shooters with his reach.
“First of all, I have to congratulate Summit for being the champion,” Dauda said. “They played good defense under the rim. Any time I got the ball, even when I was going to score, I had to work harder to put the ball in there. So I have to congratulate them. They did a good job.”
Williams said, “Jean got two quick early fouls so I figured I had to step up real big and do what I had to do to stop him. I guess I held him. It was harder for him to score.”
On defense, when he was on the floor, Dauda regularly picked up Williams, but having two big fellas enabled Summit to exploit a mismatch somewhere on the offensive end. Prophete and Williams combined for 26 points and 12 boards.
“When we got up a comfortable 12 or 14, they struggled,” Smith said. “How are they gonna cover Jean? (Dauda) was a problem on offense, but he was a problem for them on defense when they’re behind because he’s gotta step out and guard. We just pop Jean out and Jean goes by him, or we let Jean hold the ball and we win the game as the time ticks off. They’ve gotta guard one of them. If they guard Brandon, we just pop Brandon out and Brandon can go by (Dauda).”
4. That underdog feeling. There was a sense of … how can I put this? … disdain for reputations during Summit Christian’s press conference Thursday. You got the sense that the Saints felt disrespected coming into the tournament, and they certainly felt like Grandview was given the favorite status. There’s no doubt Orlando Christian Prep was favored in Wednesday’s semifinal against Summit. OCP was ranked No. 31 in the nation by ESPN Rise.
Anyway, I know these are big chunks of quotes, but they do a better job of explaining what I mean than I would if I kept writing …
“These guys don’t care about Orlando Christian Prep or Grandview Prep,” Smith said. “They don’t care what they’re ranked. These are basketball players. These are guys who believe in each other … They came up here to win a state championship. Whoever they had to beat to do it is so be it. I don’t think OCP believed that and I don’t think Grandview believed that.”
Later on, Smith answered a question specifically about Summit Christian’s sort of Cold War with Grandview Prep. They never schedule each other in the regular season, and the debate over who was better had raged on for some time before they finally met Thursday. He had plenty to say about it:
“Just pick up the Post tomorrow,” Smith said. “It better say it. It’s a great win because all year they talk about Dwyer, they talk about Grandview, they talk about Summit. Well, we just took one of them out of the equation. And we’ll stay, and on Sunday, if they’ll let us, we’ll play Dwyer …
“They’re good. Those two teams are very good. They’re very good. But we were always ranked third. The argument’s over. There’s something to be said for chemistry. Grandview’s a great team, and I’m sure Grandview’s kids like each other. They ran out with 27 kids today. We have 10-to-12 kids … Our guys like each other. That matters when you get to this point. I’m a big chemistry guy. I believe in guys getting along and loving each other. These guys love each other. They will lay it on the line and that’s what they did.
“The Grandview thing … that’s huge. Everybody now — ‘We want to send our son to a private school, we have to pick a school: Grandview or Summit. Well, we’re going to the winner.’ I’m making that up, but you know what I’m saying. They’ve got to choose who’s got the better team. I say that with a little bit of — because they had a couple of kids on that team that went to our school. [NOTE: A few Grandview players had transferred from Summit in recent years. Smith did not specifically call out any players.]
“So, yeah, there’s a little bit of — you’ve got parents over there with Grandview shirts on that I don’t want to see walk out of here winning because, you know what, you left us. You thought the grass was greener, and it’s green, but the grass doesn’t have a medal.”
5. A rematch next year? Looking down the rosters of each team, it’s hard to miss the youth movements on both squads. Dauda and Prophete will be gone, but the other key players (if they don’t transfer) will be back for another run.
Summit Christian returns juniors Farad Cobb and Brandon Williams. Around them they can use 6-1 junior guard Dorian O’Neal, who had a nice title game with 10 points, and 6-2 sophomore wing Josue Levy. Levy can jump out of the gym and has the kind of athleticism that colleges notice pretty early.
For Grandview, Dauda leaves a pretty big hole in the interior, but the Pride has all kinds of guards coming back. Start with explosive 6-3 guard Daniel Garga, who, like Levy, can really jump. Sophomore Eric Mance can light it up from outside and may rival Cobb and Dwyer’s Victor Adams as one of the best shooters in Palm Beach County.
Then there’s heady point guard Ivan Canete, a sophomore who plays above the rim and has a nice all-around game. Throw in highly touted eighth grader Kamil Williams, and there’s plenty for Dawson to look forward to next season.