As of Sunday, December 2, 2012
Even though Van Vleck post Kalvin Singletary had a three-inch advantage on every Faith Academy Cougar in the lineup, he knew the Leopards couldn't let down.
"When you underestimate your opponent, you go out there with the mentality that 'we're just going to dominate this team,'" Singletary said. "They're coming out with nothing to lose."
Singletary scored a game high 29 points, 18 of which came in the second half, and De'Drion Dennard earned tournament MVP honors to help Van Vleck beat Faith Academy (7-6) 65-49 in the championship game of the 10th Annual Cougar Classic at the Faith Academy gym.
Dennard finished with 15 points. Eli Espindola led the Cougars with 13 points.
Van Vleck was playing its fourth game in three days while Faith Academy was playing its fourth contest in roughly 36 hours.
"We put in a lot of work into what we do and requite the kids to do a lot so it's pretty exhausting on both ends," said Van Vleck coach Joe Davis.
Singletary and Marcus Brown were named to the all-tournament team while Espindola and Jonathan Luck were Faith Academy's all-tournament selections.
Despite finishing second in a tournament the school hosted, Faith Academy coach Matt McLeod said the team can learn from the experience of playing against taller teams.
"Van Vleck punched us in the mouth like good teams do and tonight we didn't respond the way we hoped we would," McLeod said.
Early on the Cougars were not going to let Singletary get hot.
Faith Academy collapsed on the Leopards big man every time the ball came into the vacinity, but Dennard took over.
The six-foot guard scored 11 points in the first half to help Van Vleck take a comfortable 35-20 halftime lead.
Dennard's first half opened the gates in the middle for Singletary to take over in the final 16 minutes.
Singletary scored 11 points in the first 4:21 of the third quarter.
"They have size and a good point guard so there's not much we can do," Luck said.
The Leopards outscored the Cougars 19-6 in the second half and led by as many as 21 points in the second half.
"Once he started rolling, we started feeding him the ball." Dennard said of Singletary.
Although the Leopards offense had success getting easy buckets in the second half, there were some shooting woes early in the game.
Marcus Brown's drive to the hoop broke a 0-for-8 shooting slump for the Leopards to begin the game.
"We were in a slump at first, but we just had to keep on playing and it all came together," Dennard said. "You can't get down on yourself."
Defensively, the Leopards kept the Cougars at bay while the offense found a groove.
Van Vleck forced 12 Faith Academy turnovers and scored 12 fast break points.
"We play defense with an attitude," Singletary said. "Our defense is the main thing for us and our offense just comes after that."
The Leopards out rebounded the Cougars 32-20, including 21 defensive rebounds to Faith Academy's four offensive rebounds.
"Offensively, you can have a great shooting night or a poor shooting night," Davis said. "You can play good defense every night."
Van Vleck outscored Faith Academy 38-18 in the paint.
"It'll make us better, playing a UIL school while we're TAPPS and somebody that'll challenge us and exploit our bad spots and errors we need to work on," Luck said.