Rochester’s Arben Camaj (12) slams home two of his 14 points as West Bloomfield’s Brandon Cole (23) tries to block the shot during the first quarter of the game played on Saturday Dec. 29, 2012 at Rochester High School. The Falcons beat the Lakers 63-55 to win their own Holiday Classic Tournament. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
Basketball - Boys
BOYS BASKETBALL: Young slips into a zone, leads Rochester to win over West Bloomfield in tourney finals WITH VIDEO
By SCOTT M. BURNSTEIN Special to The Oakland Press
West Bloomfield’s Michael King (1) puts up a layup over Rochester’s Michael Murri (2) during the third quarter of the game played on Saturday Dec. 29, 2012 at Rochester High School. West Bloomfield lost to Rochester 63-55 (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
Rochester’s Terron Dumars (32) puts up a runner as West Bloomfield’s Josh Birnberg (11) moves in to defend during the first quarter of the game played on Saturday Dec. 29, 2012 at Rochester High School. Rochester beat the West Bloomfield 63-55 to win their own Holiday Classic Tournament. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
ROCHESTER – Every time the outcome was in doubt during the course of Saturday night’s title tilt in the finals of the Rochester Holiday Classic between the host Falcons and a spunky West Bloomfield squad, James Young took over.
Young, the home team’s all-state senior swingman, came up big in every way possible, collecting 33 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and five steals to catapult Rochester to a 63-55 victory and the tournament crown.
“I got into a rhythm and just rode it the whole game,” Young said. “I made some key buckets and my teammates all played well, too.”
In his first year at Rochester after transferring from Troy back in August, Young has the two-time defending league-champion Falcons off and running to a 5-1 start.
Almost a shoe-in to be named a McDonald’s All-American later this season, the silky-smooth 6-foot-6 ½ combination guard-forward will be playing his college hoops at national power Kentucky.
The crowd on Saturday saw why.
Although West Bloomfield displayed a fearless spirit, Young answered every one of the Lakers’ punches with thundering counter-blows.
After going down 11-0 to open the game, West Bloomfield fought its way into the lead at 17-16 with a little over 90 seconds left in the first half, only to see Young put in seven consecutive points to end the second quarter and provide Rochester a 23-19 lead heading into the break.
With the Lakers hanging tough in the fourth quarter, Young delivered several back-breaking plays to put the game to bed.
His tip-dunk started things off with a bang and was quickly followed by a pull-up jumper in the lane and an NBA-range 3-pointer from the top of the key, allowing the Falcons to sprint in front 52-42.
When West Bloomfield got back within striking distance at 55-50 with 1:05 remaining on a 3-pointer from freshman Trishton Jackson, Young banged home another long triple of his own and then sank four straight free throws in the final 30 seconds to put a bow on the Falcons’ victory.
Rochester senior center Arben Camaj registered his second straight double-double, going for 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Camaj, Young and the rest of the Falcons have had a busy slate since Christmas. Saturday was Rochester’s third game in four days; all wins.
“Any week you get three wins in a row is a good week,” Falcons head coach John Pleasant said. “We were in attack-mode the entire way tonight, we never let up.”
West Bloomfield dropped to 4-4 with the defeat. The Lakers saw three different players reach double-figures in the stat sheet. Senior Brandon Cole had a team-high 16 points and eight rebounds. Malik Humes, the Lakers' senior small forward, scored 13 points in limited action due to foul trouble and Jackson had 12 to highlight West Bloomfield’s backcourt.
“I’m proud of the way we competed, nobody backed down the whole night” Lakers head coach Jeremy Denha said. “But in the end, the best player in the state (Young), showed why he’s the best player in the state.”
Besides his scoring barrage, Young unleashed an aerial show on Saturday, throwing down four monster dunks, including his tip-jam to start the fourth and an alley-oop and rim-rattling windmill slam apiece in the third quarter of action that both brought the crowd to its feet.