Atlanta Hawks guard John Battle had an intense look on his face, hardly cracking a smile in the Say No To Drugs pro division championship. But after scoring 74 points to lead Tennis Haven to a 158-147 victory over Madness Connection yesterday at H.D. Woodson High School, he felt he finally could relax.
"It was the championship game and if you can't play hard for that then you might as well not show up for any game," said Battle, a former McKinley High School star. "It's just something that's inside of a person. When people come out to see a great game, it's a good feeling to play well."
The dynamic scoring trio of Terrence Alexander, Donta Bright and Michael Lloyd dazzled the crowd in the youth title game that preceded the pros, as they led Dunbar of Baltimore to an 81-71 victory over the Little Trotters, spoiling the Trotters' quest for a fourth straight league championship.
Battle, popping off-balance jumpers from the top of the key and spinning to the basket for easy points, had the spotlight on him often, but his back court mate from the Miami Heat, ex-Spingarn All-Met Sherman Douglas had his sensational moments too with 39 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Michael Graham, also from Spingarn and Georgetown, added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Madness Connection was led by Bootney Green (47 points) and former Coolidge All-Met Curt Smith (19 points).
The Little Trotters, who lost to Baltimore by 38 points earlier this summer, played much tougher yesterday; but after Bright's twirling dunk midway through the third period gave Baltimore a 45-43 advantage, Baltimore steadily pulled away. Bright ( 24 points and eight rebounds), Alexander (29 points, 10 rebounds and 2 steals) and Lloyd (12 points, seven rebounds) led the way.
The Little Trotters were led by Jessie Hudson (22 points, seven rebounds) and Melvin Roberts II (16 points, four assists).