NORTHVILLE - Saturday's championship game was one that would have made Coach Woodward proud.
The host Northville Falcons and Doane Stuart Thunder Chicken played intense basketball from tipoff to final buzzer.
The Falcons got an early lead and held off several Doane Stuart challenges to claim the Fifth Annual John Woodward Memorial Holiday Basketball Tournament championship trophy with a 53-47 victory.
Doane Stuart’s Yunus Demiroglu (5) and Evan Schettini (23) challenge the shot of Northville’s Tim Monette (23) during the championship game of the fifth annual John Woodward Memorial Holiday Basketball Tournament on Saturday at Northville High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
"It is really nice and a great tribute to Mr. Woodward," Northville coach John Karbowski III said. "He would have been thrilled with the intensity and how hard both teams played tonight. The kids are really excited. It is nice to get the trophy back here and I hope is it a good stepping off spot for the second half of our league schedule."
It is the third time the Falcons have claimed the tourney title, winning the title in 2008 and 2009, while Doane Stuart claimed the title in 2010 and Duanesburg in 2011.
Doane Stuart broke out to an early lead on Deshawn Speights' basket off the tip off.
Nick Jonas provided the spark the Falcons needed to get rolling.
The junior connected on three 3-pointers en route to putting 13 of the Falcons' first 15 points on the board and stake Northville to a 15-6 lead.
"We have been getting off to slow starts and [Jonas] got hot early so we kept going to him until they changed to man-to-man," Karbowski said. "He definitely gave us a great start."
The Thunder Chicken rallied back with Rory Siy taking control in the paint, scoring eight points in the closing minutes of the opening period to put the score at 21-14 at the period.
The pace of the game slowed dramatically in the second period. The Falcons maintained their advantage going 5-for-7 from the free-throw line, while Kalob Russell connected for the lone field goal of the period.
Doane Stuart could not close the gap despite receiving a 3-pointer from Speights and two field goals from Siy, sending the teams into the break with the score at 28-21 in favor of the Falcons.
The Thunder Chicken came off the break shooting and quickly cut Northville's seven-point lead to one, 30-29, with two baskets apiece from Evan Schettini and Siy.
The Falcons regrouped behind Kalob Russell's 3-pointer and a free throw from Tim Monette, who netted seven of Northville's 13-third quarter points..
Northville extended its advantage to eight going into the final period when Jim Grega beat the shot clock with his 3-pointer in the closing seconds to give the Falcons a 41-33 advantage.
They would need all of those points as Doane Stuart opened the final eight minutes of play with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 41 with 6:12 left to play.
Again the Falcons fought back with Monette delivering back-to-back baskets from the low post to up the score to 45-41.
Schettini and Siy answered for Doane Stuart to tie the game at 45 with 2:44 remaining.
Monette picked off a pass and drove the length of the court for a lay up and followed up the play finishing a pass inside from Grega to again open a four-point advantage, 49-45 with 1:06 remaining.
The intensity of the game showed in the final minute when a scramble for a loose ball resulted in both teams being sent to their respective benches by the officials.
Northville used a 4-for-8 effort from the free-throw line in the closing minute to hold off the Thunder Chicken for the 53-47 victory.
"That 3-pointer at the end of the third period hurt us," Doane Stuart coach J. Adam Cole said. "The kids really played hard tonight and I am proud of that. This has become a nice rivalry between us and Northville and that the kids look forward to playing here each year."
Siy led the Thunder Chicken with his double-double performance of 21 points and 15 rebounds. Schettini joined him in double-digits with 10 points.
Monette scored 15 of his team-high 19 points in the second half to lead the Falcons, while Jonas finished with 13 and Russell added 11 points.
Monette and Jason VanNostrand pulled down nine rebounds apiece and Jonas added four steals.
Monette was named the tournament MVP and was joined on the all-tournament team by Russell, Speights and Siy.
Northville (6-4 overall, 3-3 WAC) tips off the second half of its Western Athletic Conference schedule Tuesday at Canajoharie.
Northville 53, Doane Stuart 47
Doane Stuart14 7 12 14 - 47
Northville21 7 13 12 - 53
Siy 9-3-21, Schettini 5-0-10, Demiroglu 3-0-6, Speights 3-0-7, Gorman 1-0-3. Totals: 21-3-47.
Grega 2-3-8, Jonas 5-0-13, Russell 3-4-11, Monette 8-3-19, Henderson 0-2-2. Totals: 18-12-53.
3-point goals: Doane Stuart 2 (Speights, Gorman); Northville 5 (Jonas 3, Russell, Grega).