McEachern wins Tournament of Champions; James Wiseman breaks records

Photo: Andrew Jansen/News-Leader

McEachern wins Tournament of Champions; James Wiseman breaks records

Boys Basketball

McEachern wins Tournament of Champions; James Wiseman breaks records


The 2019 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions ended late Saturday night with an overtime thriller with McEachern pulling off a comeback behind the heroics of Sharife Cooper.

McEachern defeated Sunrise Christian 50-46 and became the first public school since 2010 to win the tournament.

Saturday featured three games that were decided in four points or less. The other game featured a record-breaking performance by a player that should one day be playing in the NBA.

Here is how the final night of Springfield’s favorite sports tradition went down:

(Photo: Andrew Jansen/News-Leader)

McEachern wins championship in overtime classic

McEachern head coach Mike Thompson said when the game is on the line, he wants the ball in Sharife Cooper’s hands.

With just over a minute to go and McEachern down three, Cooper had the ball in his hands and sank the game-tying 3-pointer that went on to send the championship game of the Tournament of Champions to overtime. With the game on the line again in overtime, he hit the go-ahead dagger from deep.

McEachern won the 2019 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions championship after a 50-46 overtime win in an instant classic game against Sunrise Christian.

Cooper stared down a defender in the corner of the court before knocking down the game-tying shot with 1:07 left to send the game to an extra period.

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Down one with the game on the line in overtime, Cooper drove down the lane, kicked the ball out to a teammate and dashed for the corner before receiving the pass and knocking down the go-ahead 3-pointer with 26 seconds left.

“He’s a big shot guy,” Thompson said. “Clutch.”

Cooper finished the game with 20 points including four triples. His performance earned him the tournament’s most valuable player award.

But after the game, he said he didn’t feel like a hero.

“I wouldn’t even want to take the credit,” the No. 3 player in the 2020 Chosen 25 said. “I don’t even care about the shots. I just want to thank my teammates.”

Sitting two seats next two him was teammate Isaac Okoro laughing.

“He always takes big shots,” Okoro said.

Sunrise Christian led for a majority of the game behind the No. 1 junior center in the country N’Faly Dante.

The Buffaloes led by as many as 11 in the first half but the clutch buckets from Cooper and Okoro allowed the Indians back in the game.

Dante led Sunrise Christian with 21 points by going 9-of-12 from the field. He scored four of the Buffaloes’ five overtime points but didn’t touch the ball when down two in the final seconds of the game.

“We wanted it,” Sunrise Christian head coach Luke Barnwell said. “I think sometimes when you want something so bad you can sometimes get a little tense.”

McEachern’s title was the first for a public school at the Tournament of Champions since White Station won the championship in 2010.

“It’s just a blessing,” Okoro said. “With all the teams that have won here and we’re one of them… it’s just a blessing.”

(Photo: Andrew Jansen/News-Leader)

Top recruit James Wiseman breaks tournament records in Memphis East win

Chosen 25 recruit James Wiseman showed why he’s a favorite to be selected with the top pick in the 2020 NBA Draft during Memphis East’s win over Shadow Mountain.

Wiseman scored 24 points and grabbed a single-game tournament record 22 rebounds in the Mustangs’ 74-53 win over Shadow Mountain.

The 7-foot senior also set the single-tournament record with a total of 51 rebounds in three games. The previous records were set in 2011 by current Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon.

Wiseman’s performance ended his tournament with an average of 19.6 points and 17 rebounds in three games.

Memphis East controlled Shadow Mountain with ease throughout the night.

The Mustangs jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead thanks to a pair of Antonio Thomas 3-pointers in less than two minutes of play.

MORE:  Behind the scenes with James Wiseman and Memphis East at the Tournament of Champions

MORE:  Shadow Mountain coach Mike Bibby critical of refs after chippy game at Tournament of Champions

Wiseman finished the first quarter with two points but he put on a show for the remaining 24 minutes of game time.

He wasted no time throwing down a dunk eight seconds into the second quarter. His later knocked down a triple while falling to the ground to give Memphis East a 10-point lead.

Memphis East kept its foot on the pedal throughout the remainder of the game while quickly extending its lead to 20 early in the third quarter off a Malcolm Dandridge dunk.

Shadow Mountain never threatened to even be a factor in the game during the night. Matador star guard Jaelen House finished the game with 10 points on 4-of-17 shooting. He also received his second technical of the tournament for arguing with an official.

Want more on the TOC? Visit the Springfield News-Leader.



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