BY MICHAEL KELLY
ELMIRA — The Shenendehowa boys’ basketball squad showed its mettle with back-to-back-to-back wins to capture the Dec. 28-30 Josh Palmer Fund Holiday Inn Classic’s National Division championship title.
Senior guard Kevin Huerter was named the most valuable player of the eight-team field, which was the most competitive bracket of the tournament based at Elmira High School. In three wins against teams from three different states, Huerter averaged 21.7 points per game — including a 32-point effort in Shenendehowa’s 86-81 championship win against Bishop Kearney, a Rochester-area school.
Shenendehowa — 10-0 after the tournament — started play with a 59-57 win against Pennsylvania’s Bishop McDevitt. Huerter had 18 points and junior guard Luke Hicks added 14 in the contest, which saw the Plainsmen trailing 46-44 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the semifinals, the Plainsmen earned a 71-61 win against Rice Memorial, the reigning state champion from Vermont. Huerter and junior center Mike Pizziketti each had 15 points against Rice Memorial, while senior guard Mike Collins knocked in four 3-pointers as part of a 13-point effort.
Besides Huerter’s 32 points, Shenendehowa boys’ basketball received 24 points and 10 rebounds from Pizziketti in the championship game, plus 13 points from Hicks and 11 from Collins.