Overlea's Bernard Hopkins and Milford Mill's Norman Nolan were the centers of attention yesterday in a Baltimore County Holiday Invitational final at Perry Hall.
Hopkins, a 6-foot-6 center, scored 32 points and dominated in the lane, as unranked Overlea knocked off No. 7 Towson Catholic, 73-72, in the Gold Division final.
Nolan had 31 points, 22 rebounds and nine blocked shots in leading No. 15 Milford Mill to a 70-55 win over C. Milton Wright in the Blue Division final.
Hopkins' offensive rebound and off-balance jumper with seven seconds left was the game-winner. He broke up a full-court pass by Towson Catholic with three seconds left to preserve the win.
"I kept telling them, 'Get me the ball,' " said Hopkins, whose team improved to 4-0. "I knew if I could get it I could put it in the hole."
Hopkins scored 12, including two on a reverse slam, in the first quarter, as the Falcons raced to a 27-17 lead.
After trailing, 39-33, at the half, the Owls fought back on the inside strength of Richard Rhinehart (23 points) and Tony Bishop (20) and took a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
But that's when Hopkins again took over, scoring 10 points in the final 7:04.
"The story was Hopkins," said Towson Catholic coach Mike Daniel, whose team dropped to 5-4. "He played a money game. He did big things at the right time."
In the Blue final, Nolan came into the game feeling the ill effects of a lingering cold. At the end of a rough-and-tumble first half, he needed an ice pack to control the swelling of a bruised knee.
But when the ball was in play, the 6-7 sophomore center put the hurt on C. Milton Wright (4-1).
"He just dominated," said Millers coach Homer Seidel, whose team improved to 5-1. "They couldn't handle him on the inside."
Time and again, the Millers' Hassan Andrews and Chianti Stansbury lobbed the ball over a shorter C. Milton Wright defense.
"Once we found out that they couldn't match up with us inside, our coach just told us to go inside the whole game," said Nolan. "This was definitely my best game this season."
Nolan also gave the Millers many second and third opportunities after missed shots with 10 offensive rebounds.
Despite 12-for-35 first-half shooting, Milford Mill was able to stake a 35-24 lead by halftime.
Nolan led four Milford Mill players who scored in double figures. But led by Brian Grzyb (19 points), the Mustangs prevented the game from getting out of hand.
After falling behind by as many as 20 early in the third quarter, C. Milton Wright closed the gap to 65-55 on a three-pointer by Grzyb with 2:44 left.
In the White Division championship, 11th-ranked Calvert Hall got 19 points from Luther Alexander and 18 from Chris Wilson en route to a 58-40 win over tournament-host Perry Hall.