Boys basketball | Cardinal Mooney rocks Bradenton Christian in 3A-10 district title

Blakeney, strong supporting cast blast BCS

jdill@bradenton.comFebruary 9, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Parker Del Medico and Justin Najmy's names won't show up as top scorers for the Cardinal Mooney boys basketball team on a regular basis.

But their contributions still pack a mighty punch.

In Friday's Class 3A-District 10 championship game at Saint Stephen's Hoagland Arena, the Bradenton Christian Panthers found out how difficult those two and the rest of the Cougars can be after Mooney polished off a 76-34 victory.

"There isn't one guy you can key on," BCS head coach Scott Townsend said. "Because those guys can flat out shoot the ball. You just try to contain them as best as you can. They don't miss. ... They're so guard-heavy and so good. Their guards are so good that when they bring the pressure, it's tough."

For one quarter, BCS (12-12) hung with the Cougars (23-3) as the Panthers trailed 17-11.

But superstar sophomore Antonio Blakeney's hot shooting, coupled with Del Medico's court vision and Najmy's tenacious defense, produced a lopsided game for the next three quarters.

"They both bring a lot of intensity," Blakeney said. "They just get me going, (and) get everyone

going."

Del Medico didn't score a point, but he distributed on several Mooney baskets and was the club's floor general from the point.

But that's part of the transition he has made in morphing from a sophomore that averaged 13.5 points a game to a seasoned senior who is averaging 4.5 assists a game.

"His point total isn't up there right now, but he's doing those other things that we need to win," Cougars head coach Stefan Gates said. "He's getting people involved and getting people the ball where they can score."

Meanwhile, Najmy netted his lone bucket on a layup early in the fourth quarter. However, it came after he stole the ball and went in alone to the hoop. It was one of several turnovers he was directly involved in creating.

In fact, Mooney scooped up 22 turnovers and limited the Panthers to six points in the second quarter and five points in the fourth quarter.

And if that wasn't enough, Blakeney shined when he converted 9 of 15 shots from the field for 30 points in a little more than three quarters.

His last basket came with 47.2 seconds left in the third quarter when he drilled a 3-pointer.

"I tried to shoot all my shots in rhythm," said Blakeney, who sank four treys. "So to keep me going and get a good rhythm for the playoffs."

Blakeney wasn't the only Cougar to light it up Friday. Fellow sophomore Ryan McMahon ripped off 13 points with three triples.

Coleman Barber led BCS with 15 points.

The two teams head to next week's regional round of the state tournament against the District 9 champion and runner-up. That district final is scheduled for Saturday.

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