Millionaires win own Christmas tournament

Down by one with under 15 seconds remaining, Williamsport had a chance to show how far it had come. A young, yet rapidly improving and maturing Williamsport squad might have caved a couple weeks ago but the Millionaires are not the same team when the season started about a month ago and that was evident last night.

Marcus Simmons found a cutting Al-Tamar Jason for the go-ahead layup with 13 seconds remaining and Williamsport hit 5-of-6 free throws in the final eight seconds as the Millionaires overcame a 10-point second-quarter deficit and won their fourth straight game in the 64-60 win over Glasgow on Wednesday night at the Magic Dome in the Williamsport Christmas Tournament Championship.

Darryl Wilson, the tournament MVP, scored a team high 19 points, with 13 coming in the second half, while hitting five 3-pointers and Simmons added nine points, seven assists, four steals and three rebounds while taking command in the final minute as Williamsport executed its game plan to perfection. Also coming up with some big plays late was Nassir Jones who came off the bench to score 11 points, hit 7-of-8 free throws, and grab two offensive rebounds.

“That’s the one thing we’ve been talking about the last week or so, in-game situations and how to end quarters. I felt we did a very good job and executed,” said Williamsport coach Allen Taylor. “At the end, late in the fourth quarter, with like 40 something seconds to go, I felt Marcus did an excellent job of executing our spread offense, he drove, drew a defender and dished and Al-Tamar ended up scoring the layup and then the way we knocked free throws down the stretch was huge. We’re starting to develop some toughness and the good thing is they’re starting to understand how to win games now. If this would’ve been earlier in the season, we would’ve lost this.”

The Millionaires executed on both ends of the court in the 20 seconds as it ended the game on a 7-2 run. After Simmons drove, drew another defender and Jason hit the open layup for the 59-58 lead, Williamsport forced two turnovers on two of the next three Glasgow possessions and hit five free throws in the final eight seconds, including the clinching one by Ethan Williams (six points, four rebounds, three assists) with 1.2 seconds remaining.

Leading the charge in the final moments was Simmons, who executed the offense and recorded two steals in the final 30 seconds.

“The good thing about Marcus is his toughness. He’s a kid that I can jump on and he’ll take ownership for the mistakes he makes but he doesn’t hold on to it. He’s able to leave it and go out there and try to make a play and that’s the one thing I preach. Forget about the last play, learn from it and try to make up for it on the next play and that’s what he does,” Taylor said. “He’ll do something that makes you scratch your head on one play then the next play it’s atta boy. Giving him a pat on the back. He was huge for us, he was clutch.”

Williamsport fell behind by 10 in the second quarter as Glasgow switched to a 1-3-1 zone defense that gave it problems. The Dragons started the quarter on a 7-0 and 11-2 run to take the 26-16 lead. But the Millionaires stopped turning the ball over and was able to execute in the half court as they climbed back to cut the deficit down to four at the half.

“The frustrating thing is we’ll come out in the first half and we turn the ball over the way that we do. We’re spotting teams a lot of points,” Taylor said. “…Once we stopped turning it over, that allowed us to come down and force them to play half court defense and we were able to knock down some shots and that allowed us to get into our pressure and that was the key. We weren’t getting turnovers ever time but it wore on them I believe and that caused quite a few turnovers late in the game.”

Williamsport 64, Glasgow 60

Glasgow (60)

Jaimy Evans 4 1-4 9, Mark Bradshaw 13 7-11 36, Zyair Williams 0 0-0 0, Devin McDowell 5 3-5 13, Rahshaun Hunt 1 0-0 2, Tiyon Taylor 0 0-0 0, David Nichols 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 11-20 60.

Williamsport (64)

Darryl Wilson 6 2-2 19, Al-Tamar Jason 4 0-0 8, Ethan Williams 2 1-3 6, Keith Jason 1 5-6 7, Eric Smith 1 0-0 2, D’Angelo Strachan 1 0-1 2, Nassir Jones 2 7-8 11. Totals 20 15-20 64.

Glasgow 15 19 11 15 — 60

Williamsport 14 16 18 16 — 64

3-point goals: Glasgow 3 (Bradshaw 3); Williamsport 9 (Wilson 5, Simmons 3, Williams).

All-Tournament Team: Mark Bradshaw (Glasgow), Devin McDowell (Glasgow), Keith Jason (Williamsport), Eric Smith (Williamsport).

Tournament MVP: Darryl Wilson (Williamsport)