Trevor Lockwood’s father began working with him in third grade when McCutcheon’s 6-foot-8 center first realized he had potential for long-term success in basketball.
Sure, genetics helped, but make no mistake about it, Lockwood busted his tail to become the best player he could be.
On Saturday night, the Maverick senior was the game-changer coach Rick Peckinpaugh knew he had potential to be, nearly collecting a triple-double to lead McCutcheon to a 63-46 J&C Hoops Classic championship victory over Class A No. 2 Central Catholic at Crawley Center.
“I just went out there and tried to do what I know I am capable of doing, blocking shots, altering shots and grabbing rebounds,” said Lockwood, who was named tournament MVP after scoring 17 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and blocking eight shots Saturday night.
The Mavericks repeated as champions with Lockwood leading the way, but juniors Tre’Shon Heard and Mark Neill were consistently good throughout the three victories this week and joined their teammate on the all-tournament team.
Heard led all scorers with 19 points in the championship and also had eight rebounds. Neill struggled from the field and scored just six points, but supplied the spark needed in close victories over Class 3A No. 8 Frankfort and Twin Lakes.
“Mark Neill, he wasn’t maybe our leading scorer, our leading rebounder, but he might have been one of the most valuable players with us throughout the whole tournament because of little things he did,” Peckinpaugh said. “Every night, he plays with passion and plays hard.”
Nick Thompson led the Knights (2-1) with 11 points and six rebounds, holding his own in the second half against Lockwood.
By that time, the game was no longer in doubt.
In CC coach Dave Barrett’s mind, momentum switched late in the first quarter. Senior Gage Ulery attacked Lockwood as the whistle blew and Ulery threw up a shot that went in. A possible three-point play would have got CC within 17-13.
Instead, Ulery was called for an offensive foul, saving Lockwood from two fouls in the first period and allowing McCutcheon’s big man to remain in the game.
“We tried to get it inside and we just couldn’t get (Lockwood) up in the air,” Barrett said. “He just kept swatting everything away.”
CC’s zone failed to stop McCutcheon, which got eight first-quarter points from Heard, including two 3-pointers. When the Mavericks weren’t hitting shots, Lockwood was cleaning up the misses inside.
McCutcheon had 14 second-chance points in the first half to build a 35-19 lead.
“We played how we should play every game,” Heard said. “The first two games, we struggled in the first half. Most teams won’t allow us to come back in the second half, so we had to put it together for the whole 32 minutes.”
The Mavericks wrapped up their third J&C Hoops Classic championship and repeated as the incoming tournament favorite. On Saturday, senior Nate Deno scored 10 points and Darnell Butler added nine to support Heard and Lockwood’s big scoring nights.
“This year, we probably had been labeled the favorite and that means you’re going to get the best effort out of other team,” Peckinpaugh said. “I think our kids came more ready tonight.”