WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Rajien Griffith scored 19 points in the second half to lead Martin Luther King Jr. High School in a 49-42 comeback victory over Biondi on Friday to win the Section 1 Class B boys basketball title at the Westchester County Center.
Griffith made six of seven clutch free throws in the last three minutes to seal the win, as MLK, of Hastings-on-Hudson, won its fifth title over the past nine years.
"We just tried to keep the ball moving, and I wanted to get good shots," said Griffith, who led all scorers with 25 points. "We played hard as a team, defense first. We're so proud to represent the area in the state tournament and bring MLK another title."
The Tigers advanced to a March 8 regional tournament quarterfinal at New Rochelle High School.
Johnnie Gray, who lifted Biondi to a 29-25 lead in the third quarter, led the Lions with 15 points and seven rebounds. Donyell McMillen added 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Ronald Garcia had 11 points and eight rebounds for Biondi.
"We couldn't get the ball inside much, and that made it tough," Garcia said. "We had a good season. We thought we could win this, so it's a tough loss."
Dashawn Johnson, who was a force for MLK on defense and helped keep the ball away from Garcia inside, said the victory was the result of a well-planned defense.
"We looked at film and wanted to make it tough for them inside," Johnson said. "This is a special win for us. We worked very hard every day to be a good team."
Tigers coach Scott Green said his players concentrated on defense and made plays when it counted.
"We were determined to give them a rough time on the baseline," Green said. "These kids really played a great fourth quarter, and Rajien made free throws when it counted."
Chris Sanchez, who finished with 13 points, led the Tigers in the early stages of the game. Jermaine Shaw added nine rebounds and was a key on defense for the winners.