Friday, February 08, 2008

Mount Vernon Boys' Hoops

Mount Vernon's O'Dell Leaves Stuart Hurting
Season-High 17 Points Help Majors Clinch Title, Top Seed
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, February 9, 2008; E07

"You see how it's crooked?" Mount Vernon senior Ryan O'Dell said, pointing to his top left front tooth. "Right here, it's crooked, and I'm kind of mad about that."

O'Dell, a 6-foot-3 forward who missed six games this season after having his tooth cracked in half and the rest of it pushed deeper into his gums, played with a controlled anger last night as he posted a season-high 17 points and four rebounds to lift Mount Vernon over visiting Stuart, 76-72.

O'Dell's performance helped the Majors (14-6, 10-1) win their sixth straight game and clinch the Virginia AAA National District regular season title and top seed in the upcoming league tournament.

It was Mount Vernon's second regular season title in three years.

O'Dell scored nine points in the third quarter as the Majors took a 52-50 lead going into the fourth.

"In practice he's been having some dominating performances, and we've just been looking at him like, 'Dude!' " Mount Vernon Coach Alfonso Smith said. "The thing we've been saying all year is, 'Ryan, if you just work and put in the work and play with some energy, you've got the talent.' "

Sophomore forward Skylar Jones scored eight points in the fourth quarter, including a putback off his own missed free throw that put Mount Vernon ahead 70-69 with 1 minute 8 seconds left.

"I missed my free throw and I just hustled to the ball and once I caught it in the air, I knew I had to put it back up," Jones said. "It feels great knowing that we could come through adversity."

Mount Vernon trailed 34-29 at halftime and by eight points in the second quarter.

Stuart (12-7, 6-4) had its winning streak halted at four.

The Raiders relied on sophomore guard Antonio Harris, who scored 23 points, including two of his four three-pointers in an intense fourth quarter that featured five ties and two lead changes.

Four Majors scored in double figures, including O'Dell, Jones (12 points), Old Dominion University-bound senior guard Marquel De Lancey (13) and junior forward Robert Coleman (14).

"This feels great," Coleman said. "It's my first regular season championship."

Mount Vernon 76, Stuart 72

Major Struggle: Stuart is having its best season this decade, but the Raiders have posted a 1-22 record against Mount Vernon in the last 10 years.

Tank Is Solid From the Line: Mount Vernon sophomore Robert Smith, nicknamed "Tank," made all four of his free throws with less than 40 seconds left to clinch the victory.

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