D.C. Assault never stopped attacking Riverside Church of New York yesterday afternoon, but it never stopped the Hawks' offense, either. For every run Assault made, Riverside Church quickly made another, and the New Yorkers pulled away for a 77-62 win in the championship game of the Amateur Athletic Union Black Entertainment Television Pro-Am DC Summer Classic at George Washington University.
Every time Assault tried to plug one defensive hole, another one opened up. Five Riverside Church players scored in double figures, led by Omar Cook and Andre Sweet with 15 points each.
"We didn't really stop them down low," said Bernard Robinson, a rising senior at Dunbar. Robinson kept Assault in the game by scoring all 13 of his points in the second half. "Every time we had a big stretch, they scored to open it up."
Many of those rally-stifling points came from Cook, who hit three long three-pointers. Cook began the weekend as the most celebrated prospect here, and he finished it by winning the tournament's most valuable player award, which was an obvious choice.
But this was a coronation of a team, not a player. Cook's Riverside Church squad was the deepest and most talented in the tournament, and he was simply the best of the bunch. He didn't need to dominate, and he didn't.
"This team is a bunch of all-city players," Cook said. "You just have to go out and play. But if I'm feeling it, I'll shoot it, and I was feeling it today."
He felt it all the way out to NBA three-point range, which forced Assault to spread out its defense, opening the lane. Cook didn't shoot often, but when Riverside Church needed a basket, he often provided it.
"When he shot a three, it took a little something out of us," Robinson said.
David Holmes, a rising senior at Coolidge, led Assault with 19 points and rising senior David Hawkins (Carroll) and rising senior Cliff Hawkins (Oak Hill Academy) each added 10, but Cook said they weren't the only ones on Assault's side.
"We outplayed them the whole game," Cook said. "I thought the refs tried to keep them in it. I was a little scared, but once we started playing and stopped worrying about the refs, we got back on track."
Assault jumped to an early 12-5 lead, but Riverside Church went on a 28-12 run to take control of the game. The stretch culminated with two threes by Cook. Assault would close the gap a few more times, coming within one point several times in the third quarter, but Riverside Church and Cook always responded.
The other top draw in this tournament, Eddie Griffin, scored 30 points to lead New Jersey's Tim Thomas Playaz to a 99-88 win over the Michigan Mustangs in the consolation game. Kelvin Torbert, who tied Newport Prep's James White for top honors in the slam dunk contest, led Detroit with 37 points.
In the event's first girls all-star game, the Oxon Hill Roadrunners defeated the Potomac Valley Vogues, 73-50. St. John's forward Dawn Chriss, a rising sophomore, led Oxon Hill with 17 points. H.D. Woodson point guard Shanda Holmes, a rising junior, added 15. Centreville forward Sarah McDonald led the Vogues with 14.
Special correspondent Kathy Orton contributed to this report.
CAPTION: Things aren't looking up for D.C. Assault's Cliff Hawkins as he maneuvers for room during loss to N.Y.'s Riverside Church at GW.