Holiday Invitational

HCYA edges Wilbraham & Monson, 75-70

Posted December 28, 2013

It was a tale of two halves in the Summit Hospitality third-place game between Spring, Texas, Homeschool Youth Christian Association and Wilbraham (Mass.) Wilbraham and Monson Saturday afternoon.

Fortunately for the Warriors of HCYA, their first half trumped W&M’s second half and HCYA escaped with a 75-70 victory.

The Warriors were in complete control at halftime, leading the Titans, 46-23. But W&M nearly came all the way back in the second half to make the game competitive, a fact not lost on HCYA coach Mike Decker.

“We played a great first half, but when I congratulated (W&M coach Mike Sparks), I told him whatever that speech was at halftime, I’d like to get a copy of it,” Decker said.

HCYA senior forward Justin Jackson finished with a game-high 33 points to lead the Warriors – and it also put him in the HSOT record book as he finished with 111 points in the tournament. Jackson’s tournament performance equaled that of Devin Booker of Moss Point, Miss., and both are now tied for second all-time behind Donald Williams of Garner, who scored 115 points in the 1990 Holiday Invitational.

“It’s a blessing,” said Jackson, whose future college coach, UNC’s Roy Williams, watched play in Saturday’s game from the Holliday Gymnasium baseline. “All the glory goes to God. There’s nothing I can’t do without Him.”

J.J. Decker finished with 13 points and Elijah Lee added 12 for the Warriors.

W&M placed four players in double-digit scoring, led by Max Hoeztel’s 20 points and Goodluck Okonoboh’s 16. Marcel Pettway had 14 points for the Titans and Taylor Fortin added 10.

“We finished out this tournament 1-2 and we’re certainly disappointed about that,” said W&M assistant coach Mike Mannix, who represented Sparks in the post-game press conference. “In the second half … we got stops and rebounds. “

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