ST. JAMES — Peeling off the handshake line, Bryce Golden walked across the court and directly closer to the stands. With tears streaming down his face, the 6-foot-7 senior approached his mom for a hug. It was an extended, joyous, emotional one — a proper hug, as Big Mike’s mom stated inside the film “The Blind Side.” Golden had just played his very last excessive college sport, scoring 18 points, grabbing eleven rebounds, and throwing down a thunderous fast-wreck, an exclamation point of a dunk inside the fourth zone that left absolute confidence that Saint James changed into the champion of the Mid-Atlantic Conference.
A short while later, after Saint James wrapped up its seventy five-fifty six victories over Flint Hill, it was time to the percentage the moment along with his family, inclusive of Grant Golden, a standout at Richmond University, looking his more youthful brother play for the primary time this season. “Just an actual emotional time, being a four-year guy on the school,” Bryce Golden stated. “I desired to thank everyone that made it feasible.”
There have been instances in this irritating season that Golden didn’t suppose it changed into feasible. With him inside and outside the lineup with an ordinary shoulder injury, Saint James’ season of fits and begins mirrored Golden’s fame. But the Pittsburgh-bound ahead was ultimately healthy at the most opportune time as he and Saint James (19-11) rampaged through the Mid-Atlantic Conference tournament, triumphing 3 games in as many days. Saint James dominated the league’s hottest teams in the semifinals (Potomac School) and finals (Flint Hill), with Golden totaling forty points and 22 forums.
“Four years here, and he’s gone thru a lot — especially this 12 months,” stated Saint James instruct Dan Prete. “It’s great while you may grow to be your career with something like that.” The remaining time Saint James gained the MAC, Bryce Golden became in his sophomore season, and Grant Golden played in his final excessive faculty game, also coming off harm, a damaged foot that ruined his junior season.
“Lots of thoughts. I’m thrilled with him,” Grant Golden stated. “I promised him if he made it to the championship, I’d be here. With his shoulder and sitting out video games this year, I talked to him each week, told him, ‘Just maintain pushing thru.’ To see him get the result he wanted, what a wonderful feeling.” While Golden changed into the feel-desirable tale on Sunday, the man most accountable for the Saints’ romp was Amir Harris (11 factors, 8 rebounds, thirteen assists, two steals). When he wasn’t electrifying the gang with slam-dunks, the 6-5 senior become reducing and dicing the Flint Hill guards who he towered over.
N the very last four:45 of the 0.33 region alone, Harris handed to Callum Baker (15 factors, three assists) for a pair of three-hints, dished twice to Golden for 3-hints and fed Anthony Garcia (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Jordan Miller (5 points) for buckets. During the stretch, Saint James turned a six-factor lead into a fifty seven-40 bulge. “Me being a playmaker, loads of humans like gambling with me,” Harris stated. “This crew has a variety of amazing men, and the education team of workers does a truly exact process figuring out who does what satisfactory, placing it all collectively.”
Harris endured his attack in a quick span of the fourth area as he made a scouse borrow and loped downcourt for a breakaway slam. He then fed Garcia for a pair of buckets, and in among, Garcia returned the favor, throwing a soaring pass to a cutting Harris who dented the ground with a tomahawk one-hander. At preceding stops at South Hagerstown, as a sophomore, and St. Maria Goretti, as a junior, Harris always became able to flashes of brilliance. But this season, Harris discovered how he might want to maximum successfully affect the game — as a skip-first playmaker and chief.
“Amir controlled the game, managed the pace. That’s something we worked on all 12 months,” Prete said. “He’s the information it, and because of it, we’re gambling at a completely high level. So pleased with him.” Manhandling everyday season champion Flint Hill (21-7) has become an excellent feat. After a loss at Saint James on Jan. 17, the Huskies received 10 instantly league games, including a 62-54 win over the Saints in Oakton, Va.
Led by using 6-10 junior Qudus Wahab, who averages 19 factors, 14 rebounds, and four blocks according to recreation, Flint Hill turned into bidding for its first sweep of the MAC titles when you consider that 2009-10. Flint Hill seemed poised to try this whilst Wahab scored on three of the sport’s first four possessions. When senior guard Isaiah Moore tried a 3-pointer, the Huskies had a 9-four lead. But Golden got here off the bench and, on his first contact of the game drilled a 3.
Early in the second region, Harris fed Garcia for a couple of buckets as the Saints assumed a 24-17 lead. Flint Hill replied with an eight-point run — ignited with the aid of an eye fixed-starting putback slam by means of 6-eight sophomore Dowar Jioklow (8 factors, six rebounds). But that might be the Huskies’ closing lead. Saint James closed the half on a 13-2 spree — fueled by a four-point-play through Baker and a three-pointer by means of Jordan Miller. When Harris drew the protection and slipped a skip to Golden for a layup, the Saints had their largest lead of the 1/2, 37-26, which they carried to a locker room.
Then the second one 1/2 become all about Harris and the command and control he had over the offense — getting all of his teammates concerned and releasing up shooters on the fringe by drawing the defense. In all, six unique Saints mixed to hit 11 3-pointers led with Baker (4) and Golden (three). “The balanced scoring we’ve got had these days, it truly is all approximately Amir,” Prete said. “When he got here, I think he knew it changed in time to research. He offered in and believed what we have been doing. Taking that next step as a player is so essential — being able to apprehend how to manage tempos in video games.”
On Sunday night, no person appreciated Harris’ ability to distribute greater than Golden. “His penetration creates such a lot of unload-offs and clean baskets down low,” Golden said. “I assume the coaches positioned a big leadership role on him this 12 months, and he has become more comfortable with that because the season went on. I’m gonna truly miss playing with him.