Known for his perimter shooting, Byron Hawkins could not buy a basket for No. 5 Clinton Christian early in the championship game of the Waldorf Holiday Hoops Classic on Saturday against No. 14 Maret at North Point.
The guard was forced to score off the dribble instead, and he did so with a strong crossover and nifty finishes. And with the Eagles trailing by one point with less than a minute remaining, Hawkins made his final drive to the basket and scored a layup in traffic to give the Eagles the lead.
After a Maret miss on the following possession, Hawkins was fouled and made one of two free throws to help Clinton Christian eke out a 64-62 win over the Frogs.
“I was just trying to get to the basket. Actually I was trying to get fouled,” Hawkins said. “I thought the defender fouled me a little bit, but I just had to stay strong and finish through the contact.”
Hawkins finished with 17 points.
Butts grabbed several offensive rebounds and scored a season-high 22 points. The lefty sported a solid hook shot in the post.
“It was kind of hard. I had to play his role so I had to stay out of foul trouble a lot,” Butts said. “I usually shoot and stay on the perimeter, and if there’s a mismatch I’ll go inside.”
Maret was without 6-6 guard Jalen Barnes, who sprained his ankle Thursday, and was at a clear disadvantage inside.
But the Frogs battled throughout, and when they fell behind 48-36 with two minutes left in the third quarter, senior Steffen Davis knocked down two three-pointers and added an assist to help lead a 10-0 run to close the quarter and cut the deficit to two.
The fourth quarter had four lead changes, and Maret (6-4) had its chances to tie or regain the advantage on several possessions with less than a minute remaining, but Clinton Christian locked up defensively to secure the victory.
Junior Austin Vereen played huge in Barnes’s absence with a team-high 18 points. Drake Goddard had 16 points and Davis added 14.
“That’s the best game we’ve had all season [from an opponent] in terms of coaching and kids playing smart,” Clinton Christian Coach Mike Summer said. “You have to have some type of strategy to beat them.”
Hawkins, a Towson commit, was 4 of 5 from the free throw line. Overall, the Eagles were 11 for 19 from the free throw line, including a 6-for-8 performance in the final quarter.
“He wasn’t making shots like he usually does,” Summer said of Hawkins. “But he got to the basket and got to the free throw line.”