Mackin took a 27-12 first-quarter lead and never looked back as it pummeled St. Anthony's, 84-55, yesterday at Georgetown University.
The 15th-ranked Trojans (9-3) slapped a man-to-man full-court press on St. Anthony's and forced numerous turnovers. Mark Nickens had three steals in the first quarter to spark the opening surge. Dennis Johnson sank six of his first seven shots as Mackin built up its early 15-point lead.
"The tournament (Seagull Classic in Philadelphia) really helped us. The guys came of age up there," said Mackin's first-year coach, Steve Hocker. "We went through some tough games up there, but they served to help us build confidence in each other."
Mackin advanced to the final in the Seagull Tournament before losing to West Catholic of Philadelphia, 72-52. But the poised Trojans had little trouble with St. Anthony's.
The Tonies' star forward, Pernell Shands, scored eight of his game-high 17 points in the second period to rally his squad briefly. Two free throws by Eric McDowell closed the gap to 37-26 with 22 seconds left in the first half. But the same recklessness that put the Tonies in a hole at the beginning hurt them again.
Nickens followed a missed Mackin shot after St. Anthony's failed for the umpteenth time to block out a rebound and scored a three-point play to push the Trojans ahead, 40-26 at intermission.
"We had never seen Mackin before, but they had scouted us several times. The press didn't bother us as much, we just threw the ball away," said St. Anthony's coach Bob Greer.
Mackin refused to let up in the second half. It continuously outraced the frustrated Tonies downcourt for easy lay-ups. Mo Young, on three straight occasions, took passes inside and beat his man for easy buckets.
With the game compelely out of hand, Hocker went to his bench. But the reserves immediately joined in the one-sided affair. Early in the fourth quarter, 6-foot-2 Young blocked a lay-up attempt and threw a long pass downcourt to Gerald Watson. The eager reserve was hammered as he sank a twisting lay-up to give Mackin an insurmountable 62-39 lead.
Watson returned the favor moments later when he blocked a Tonies attempt and threw a pass downcourt to Young, resulting in a slam dunk.