Porter Jr. sinks game-winning shot, gives Father Tolton tourney title

Published By
T.J. Fenske

Michael Porter Jr. knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds remaining to lead Father Tolton Catholic to a 54-51 victory over Helias Catholic in the finals of the Great 8 Classic Wednesday night.

Porter Jr., who finished with a game-high 22 points and 13 rebounds, hadn’t made a 3-pointer all night, but pulled up from behind the arc in the final seconds to give the Trailblazers the tournament title.

“I knew I was going to take the last shot,” Porter Jr. said, “and I told the coach before the play that it was going in. Thank God, it did. We just beat a great team.”

“That’s what makes him special — he’s got guts and he likes that big moment,” Father Tolton head coach Jeremy Osborne said. “He nailed the shot, I wasn’t surprised at all.”

Helias Catholic (7-2) and Father Tolton (10-2) went back and forth in the first half, but the Crusaders went to the locker room with a 31-29 halftime lead.

The Trailblazers took a 45-40 advantage after three quarters, but Porter Jr. was forced to sit out the first few minutes of the fourth quarter after picking up his fourth foul of the game.

Helias capitalized on Porter Jr’s absence, in large part to sophomore point guard, Landon Harrison, who tied the game from the foul line with 10 seconds remaining. Harrison, finished with 20 points and went a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and 7-for-7 from the free-throw line.

Porter Jr.’s game-winning 3-pointer in the closing seconds was sweet revenge for the Trailblazers after falling to Helias in overtime by two points in last year’s Great 8 Classic championship game.

“That makes this that much sweeter,” Osborne said. “I think we came out and did a good job of fighting. We didn’t shoot the ball well, we didn’t necessarily execute well, but we fought.”

Porter Jr. was named tournament MVP, while his teammates Kenan Brooks, Isaiah Wilson and Jontay Porter were named to the all-tournament team.