By Matt Popchock
Sheldon Jeter is the first to admit he didn’t quite get everything he wanted for Christmas.
“I was actually really looking forward to playing him tonight,” he said of Highlands senior guard and Drake recruit Micah Mason, “but it didn’t happen.”
Nevertheless, the 6’8″ senior helped Beaver Falls (1-0, 7-1) get the most important thing of all late Wednesday night: its seventh win in a row.
Jeter, one of the top swingmen and top basketball prospects in the WPIAL, wasn’t as dominant as the night before, but he still delivered a game-high 14 points, and a solid team effort at both ends of the floor gave the Tigers an easy 58-24 victory over Central Valley (2-0, 6-3) in the Gray Division final of the 20th annual C.J. Betters RBA Holiday Classic at the Community College of Beaver County.
He shared tournament MVP honors with Mason, who set a tournament single-game record by dropping 49 points on Aliquippa (1-1, 2-4) in a 73-67 win for the Golden Rams (1-1, 2-5) in one of the consolation games–and, fittingly, won the three-point shooting contest that followed.
Beaver Falls jumped out to a 25-10 halftime lead, though both teams missed opportunities in the first two quarters. In the second half, however, the Tigers flexed their muscles with a 22-7 run that put the game even further out of reach.
“In the second half, we knew we had to step it up and send a message. We had to much of an invincibility mindset in the first half,” Jeter said. “I knew I didn’t have to do it alone, because this might be the most balanced team I’ve been on.”
As was the case the previous night against Lincoln Park, their pressure defense flustered the Warriors into constant mistakes and gave them looks they just couldn’t handle.
“We just came out and worked hard,” said Kevin Cancel, who finished with ten points and three three-pointers. “We’ve got a team of good role players, and Sheldon stepped up again tonight.”
“We came out in the second half with a little more intensity,” guard Drew Cook said. “That intensity is really going to help us going forward.”
For the second night in a row, senior guard Curtis Lewis led Central Valley in scoring with ten points of his own, including two of the Warriors’ three first-half field goals.
Meanwhile, South Fayette (2-0, 6-2) hung on to defeat District 3 Class AAAA Cumberland Valley 40-37 to win its division for the fourth straight year, led by junior point guard Evan Bonnaure, who also won an MVP award following the Blue Division final.
Central Valley won the girls’ championship with a 43-38 victory over South Fayette.
(Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mpopchock)