Young cager steals show

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 19, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

There wasn’t an abundance of excitement Friday evening in the quarterfinals of the Suffolk Sheriff’s Basketball Tournament at King’s Fork Recreation Center. After Mount Ararat scored a relatively easy 67-54 victory over the Norfolk City Jail, they were themselves beaten handily, 93-53 by Oceana. In the meantime, Balm Gilead decimated the Virginia Beach Police Department 81-18.

No, the games didn’t exactly keep the audience on the edge of their seats, whipped into a frenzy. But it was OK – DeAndre Demiel gave them something special to cheer about.

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After the Balm Gilead victory, the Mack Benn Elementary student was chosen to participate in a special normally done at halftime of each game. In the span of 25 seconds, he’d have to charge from midcourt, sink a layup, then dart back and nail a free throw and three-pointer.

DeAndre, ironically wearing a football jersey, headed back to midcourt and waited for the cue to go. As it came, he charged up the right side of the court and swished the first shot. He then sauntered back to the one-point line and hit nothing but nylon as the clock ticked past 15 seconds.

As the crowd started to cheer, DeAndre bolted to the left corner of the court, just outside the three-point line.

Again, he didn’t even touch the rim, and won $50 – not to mention a few dozen high-fives and shoulder rides from the crowd.

&uot;I was nervous, because I didn’t think I would make it,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m going to spend the money when I go to Florida on Wednesday.&uot;

Friday helped clear out some space in the double-elimination tournament, as the loser’s bracket was filled out. Balm Gilead used the three-point line to their own advantage, as all of Lamont Strothers’ 18 points and all but two of Tony Smith’s 24 came from behind the line. Marquie Cooke added 12 points as the team recovered from a last-second loss on Thursday.

&uot;We’re just trying to get a rhythm, and let people know that we still think we’re one of the best teams in the tournament,&uot; Smith said. &uot;We didn’t have a rhythm in the other game, but we’ve got it back now.&uot;