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Richard Montgomery Rockets defeat Good Counsel to win Maryland Elite Hoops championship

Richard Montgomery Rockets' Austin Cheung takes a charge from Good Counsel's Bez Mbeng (5) in the final critical minutes of the Elite Summer League Championship Game played at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day Center on Wednesday. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHGood Counsel's Bez Mbeng (5) charges RM Rockets' Austin Cheung in the final critical minutes of the Maryland Elite Summer League championship game at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day Center on Wednesday night.           PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  NORTH BETHESDA — The 2018 Maryland Elite Summer Basketball League season came to a close Wednesday night as the No. 3-seeded Richard Montgomery Rockets came through when Ryan Cornish made a key steal and hit the game-winning layup to help the Rockets beat the No. 5-seeded Good Counsel Falcons 31-29 and win the championship.

“As a team, we did it all together,” Cornish said. “Not one of us took it over. It was all as one team.”

There wasn’t much scoring in this game. After all, the final score was only 31-29. Both teams failed to score within the first minute. Missed shots and turnovers were key in the championship game.

Nonetheless, the game was still close throughout, as RM led 16-14 at halftime behind eight points from Cornish. He added five more points in the second half to finish with 13.

Richard Montgomery's Will Davenport (11) shoots over Good Counsel's Jalen Curtis (7).  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHRichard Montgomery's Will Davenport (11) shoots over Good Counsel's Jalen Curtis (7). PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  With Good Counsel leading 29-28 with under 15 seconds to go, Cornish stole a pass from GC’s Daysjuan Waters and hit the go-ahead layup to give the Rockets the 30-28 lead.

“I was freaking out, honestly,” Cornish said. “I needed to be more in control in that tough situation, but luckily I got it to fall. I just felt like it was a place to steal the inbounds play, and it actually worked, and then I went up right for the layup, and luckily it went in.”

The Falcons then drove down the court and tried to take back the lead, but an offensive foul was called on Bez Mbeng, which resulted in RM’s possession. Cornish was fouled with six seconds left, and made one of two free throws.

Despite the loss, Mbeng was the Falcons’ leading scorer with 14 points.

“I thought the guys worked hard,” said Good Counsel head coach Anthony Guy. “We got some tough calls down the stretch. Obviously we weren’t as sharp as we need to be in crunch time. Those are growing pains. They come along with being young.”

The triumphant Richard Montgomery Rockets display their Maryland Elite Summer League championship trophy.  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHThe triumphant Richard Montgomery Rockets display their Maryland Elite Summer League championship trophy. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  Not only did the Falcons participate in the Maryland Elite Summer League, they also participated in the Capitol Hoops Summer League at DeMatha High School.

“Both leagues are a little bit different,” Guy said. “DeMatha’s a little bit more athletic and fast-paced, but then you come here and it’s a lot more set-oriented. It’s been a great experience, all-around for us.”

According to Guy, Mbeng and Waters will also be participating in 25-plus AAU games in Atlantic City to close out the summer.

“The boys have gotten plenty of games,” Guy said. “We’ve got plenty of game experience. It’s been a learning experience.”

@hslichtman

 

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