Mansion Park Summer Basketball League director Skip Dry began his commentary of the Division III men's championship on Altoona Public Access TV by admitting Begin With Us shouldn't be playing in the title game.
The entry from Cumberland, Md. entered the league for the first time this season and was placed in Division III because not much was known about its players.
Begin With Us spent Thursday educating the crowd at Mansion Park on how good it can be.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Begin With Us won the Mansion Park Summer Basketball Division 3 men’s title. Team members include (from left); First row—Shaquan O’Neal, Tahir Williams, Jaikey Whack, Michael Paige. Second row—Marcellis Cambel, Tyler Jessie, Donavin Vinsion, Shane Scott and league director Skip Dry.
The squad finished off a 15-0 season with a 66-30 drubbing of Woody's II/Hollidaysburg Auto Plaza in the title contest. The game was actually much closer than the July 29th meeting between the teams in which Begin With Us won, 105-44.
"Some of their players should be playing in a higher division, obviously," Woody's II/Hollidaysburg Auto Plaza leading scorer Josh Heller said. "What are you going to do? They're here and we had to play them."
Woody's actually stayed tight with the Maryland squad early, trailing 13-9 midway through the first half, but a 10-0 run helped Begin With Us carry a 27-11 advantage into the half.
"We couldn't get it going at first," Begin With Us' Donavin Vinsion said. "Every game we play, we start out cold, but once that second half starts, we know what time it is and that's when we start to kick it up."
Vinsion and his teammates did just that, outscoring Woody's by 20 in the second half. Vinsion put an exclamation point on the win with a behind-the-back dunk with 11:14 left. It was the first of three dunks for Vinsion, who finished with a game-high 24 points. Teammate Marcellis Cambel added 17.
"I got a lot of little kids here who are fans," Vinsion said. "They like to see a show. Anytime I get a chance to do [a dunk], I like to put it down."
Heller's 11 points were not enough to offset Woody's 20 turnovers.
"They had the deeper team," Heller said. "We got to the championship and lost to the best team."
Vinsion has bigger goals for next season.
"Next year it's Division I," Vinsion said. "Make or break."
BEGIN WITH US (66): Vinsion 10 4-6 24, Jessie 3 2-2 9, Cambel 7 1-4 17, O'Neal 0 4-6 4, Paige 2 0-0 6, Williams 1 0-0 2, Mitchell 0 0-0 0, Whack 2 0-0 4. Totals - 25 11-18 66.
WOODY'S 2/HOLLIDAYSBURG AUTO PLAZA (30): Heller 5 0-0 11, Stewart 5 0-0 10, Barnes 1 1-4 3, Figard 1 0-0 2, Palmer 0 0-0 0, Weyandt 1 2-2 4, Howard 0 0-0 0. Totals - 13 3-6 30.
Halftime: Begin With Us, 27-11. 3-point goals: Begin With Us 5 (Paige 2, Cambel 2, Jessie); Woody's 2/Hollidaysburg Auto Plaza 1 (Heller).
Officials: Curtis Miller, David Day, Randy Burkett
Records: Begin With Us (15-0); Woody's 2/Hollidaysburg Auto Plaza (11-5).