Boys basketball: After brief defensive lapse, Mount Vernon leaves no doubt against rival

·3 min read

MOUNT VERNON - To hear Elijah Morris talk about it later, it all sounded so simple. Have a talk, make an adjustment, go out and dominate.

If only other teams found improvement so easily achieved.

"We came back in the locker room and told ourselves to be patient and efficient and that's what we did," said Morris, a Mount Vernon junior guard. "So we came back out and we brought the energy."

Once the Knights did that, New Rochelle simply had no answer.

They badly outscored the Huguenots in the third quarter. Mount Vernon went on to beat them 72-47 behind five scorers in double figures and improved to 11-0 in the process.

"That's what I saw Friday, too. It was a tale of two halves last night and today," coach Bob Cimmino said, referencing Friday's win over Scarsdale. "We were much better in the halfcourt defense. We were stingy and we were able to push the ball off of that."

Morris and senior guard Justin Robinson continued to ignite the fastbreak and initiate halfcourt offense. They teamed for 12 assists Saturday, carving through New Rochelle's defense during a 26-3 run in the third quarter.

Morris and Robinson have established themselves alongside junior Dylan Colon, a Division I recruit who was already one the team's returning stars.

"I feel like it all starts with trust," Morris said. "Me, Dylan and Justin have all played together our whole lives. We trust each other with the ball and we're doing well."

"It's been a process," Cimmino added. "We knew they were going to be good since they were in seventh and eighth grade. They took a lot of a lumps over the summer, took a lot of Ls in offseason tournaments, and now it's all paying off."

But what's scariest for opponents in Section 1 and beyond is that Mount Vernon has continued to thrive without returning all-section forward DeMarley Taylor, who has missed the last four games with a sprained ankle.

Boys basketball: After two strong wins, Mount Vernon's strong start has the Knights 9-0

Latest rankings: See lohud's most recent Top 10 and Section 1 class rankings

Mount Vernon's Brandon Sinclair (15) pulls in a rebound during their 72-47 win over New Rochelle in boys basketball action at Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon on Saturday, January 22, 2022.
Mount Vernon's Brandon Sinclair (15) pulls in a rebound during their 72-47 win over New Rochelle in boys basketball action at Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon on Saturday, January 22, 2022.

Player of the game

Brandon Sinclair, Mount Vernon. The skilled 6-foot-9 forward, who has been in the starting lineup while Taylor recovers, has been a major force behind Mount Vernon's consistent play. On Saturday against New Rochelle, he tied a team-high with 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Sinclair, who has sprouted four inches since playing on the junior varsity two seasons ago, didn't play last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After an uneven start, he's begun to to show flashes of his high upside — a reality that could eventually take Mount Vernon to another level.

"I feel like I can make a big impact for my team," said Sinclair, who hit a 3-pointer during the game and who Cimmino said is the best passing big man he's ever coached. "They need me down the road. I'm going to try my best to give them what they need."

By the numbers

Mount Vernon (11-0) — Sinclair was one of five Knights in double figures. Jasaiir Barnes also had 13 points off the bench. Morris had 12 points to go with four rebounds and six assists, Dylan Colon had 12 points, and Manny Barkor had 11 points and six rebounds. Justin Robinson chipped in four points and had five rebounds, six assists and three steals.

New Rochelle (5-5) — Nico Andrews scored a game-high 17 points and Zyon Lord added 14 points off the bench. Gabriel Woods grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

Up next

Mount Vernon will host Section 9's Middletown on Monday at 4:30 p.m. in a game rescheduled from the Slam Dunk Challenge at Iona College on Jan. 9.

New Rochelle has three games this coming week, starting with Ketcham at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Ketcham will enter the game 10-2.

Josh Thomson is the Sports Editor for The Journal News and Poughkeepsie Journal. He can be reached by e-mail at jthomson@lohud.com, on Twitter at @lohudinsider, and on Instagram at @lohudinsider.

This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Mount Vernon boys basketball routed New Rochelle to stay undefeated