WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The Mount Vernon boys basketball team stayed focused in a defensive struggle and outlasted Spring Valley 47-39 Sunday to take its 13th Section 1 title in the last 15 years at the County Center.
The top-seeded Knights, who were still sore after losing last year's Section 1 Class AA final to New Rochelle on a buzzer-beating shot, advanced to a Wednesday, March 5 state regional playoff at SUNY New Paltz against Newburgh at 5:30 p.m.
Akeem Krubally scored 16 points to lead all scorers and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Krubally and Tyger Hackett, who scored eight points, provided the offensive spark in a defensive struggle.
Mount Vernon coach Bob Cimmino, whose Knights have made the Section 1 Final Four 20 straight years, said this year's team showed poise.
"The thing about this team that I am most proud of is that we didn't get frustrated when we didn't make shots and hung in there the whole game," Cimmino said. "I saw that poise and that made is much easier to coach because they listened and stayed focused."
Hackett entered the game at the start of the second quarter with the Knights up 10-7 and promptly hit two 3-pointers for a 16-7 lead.
Both teams played tough inside where defense and rebounding ruled in a low-scoring game. Hackett's rebound and turn-around jump shot at the buzzer gave the Knights a 23-16 lead as the first half ended.
"Coach (Cimmino) told me to take the shot if I had it, so I wanted to get something going outside," said Hackett, who is the nephew of legendary Mount Vernon star Rudy Hackett (1971). "The game was all about what coach calls 'junk yard dog' play. We hit the boards, played tough defense and didn't get frustrated."
Devonte Banner kept Mount Vernon ahead early six points in the first half. Banner, who finished with eight points, was named to the All-Tournament team.
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