For as deep as Paul VI‘s roster goes and for as much youthful energy there is bursting from one of the nation’s top collections of high school talent, many of the Panthers felt like old men following Saturday’s win against DeMatha in the Alhambra Invitational.
After guarding the likes of Benedictine’s Robert Johnson and O’Connell’s Melo Trimble during the three-day tournament, Evan Taylor told Panthers Coach Glenn Farello his tired legs were in need of an ice bath. Meantime, Kevin Dorsey slept well into Sunday afternoon following an MVP performance that helped the Panthers win their first Alhambra title and punctuate a three-week postseason run that featured WCAC and VISAA Division I championships.
“Man, I’m real tired,” said Dorsey, who averaged 16.3 points in three games at Alhambra. “But it feels great to have won all of those championships and do it as a team.”
After boasting four double-digit scorers in dominant offensive displays during wins against Benedictine and O’Connell in the first two rounds, the Panthers depended on their defense to carry them past DeMatha, just as they had done during the team’s last meeting in the WCAC championship.
Despite scoring a season-low 48 points, the Panthers used pressure defense and strong rebounding to hold DeMatha standouts Corey Henson and Joe Hampton to a combined 15 points and in turn, hold the Stags to a season-low 35 points.
“We didn’t shoot particularly well and both teams were really battling hard, so we had to step up our defense,” Farello said. “Evan Taylor really played a big part in that and once his teammates saw our senior leader performing with passion and energy, they rallied around that.”
Along with Dorsey’s MVP award, Marcus Derrickson averaged 12 points to earn second-team all-tournament honors.