Naples boys turn up heat, take home Division III title
MANNHEIM, Germany — RaShawn Lynch and M.J. Jinks defused the dynamite scoring of tournament MVP Dustin Miller on Friday night as Naples defeated Aviano 65-48 to capture the European Division III basketball championship.
Earlier in the day, Miller scored a tournament-record 50 points in a semifinal victory over Ansbach. But in the title game, Lynch and Jinks held Miller to 14 points — 20 below his tournament average.
It was the third time the Wildcats defeated the Saints this season.
“It helps to have played him before,” said Lynch, who guarded Miller for most of the game and limited him to four field goals. “You learn his moves.”
Miller was 3-for-3 from the free-throw line, but he struggled with his outside shot and was consistently frustrated when he was forced to drive to the basket. Miller was 4-for-12 from the floor with one three-pointer.
“We couldn’t have done it [contained Miller] without the help and support of the other players,” Jinks said.
Naples coach Richard Elliott was equally appreciative of his team’s defensive effort.
“We might have it backwards,” Elliott said, “but we kind of believe the intensity we create on defense sparks our offense.”
Naples had plenty of balanced offense. Josh Kaimikaua hit three three-pointers and led the Wildcats with 15 points. Jinks added 12 — eight in the final eight minutes — and Mark Pearyer had 12 points and nine rebounds. Lynch and Aniel Pablico each scored 10 points.
Naples rushed out to a 17-8 lead in the first eight minutes and never looked back.
“We’re faster than they are, and taller, too,” Jinks said.
Aviano trailed 29-21 at halftime, then suffered through a 10-3 Naples run in the first 3:40 of the third quarter as the game slipped away.
Even three consecutive breakaway layups by all-tournament selection Tony Williams, who scored a game-high 16 points, couldn’t resuscitate the Saints.