MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - The Mount Vernon boys basketball team trailed early but avoided an upset Friday in defeating North Rockland, 52-40, at the County Center to advance to the Section 1 Class AA championship game.
Mount Vernon trailed 11-7 after one quarter but led 18-17 in a low-scoring first half. But the defending champion Knights employed a pressing defense to pull the game out in the second half, outscoring the Raiders, 34-23.
"Whenever we rebound and play good defense we can overcome some mistakes," said Knights forward Devonte Banner, who had 13 points. "We have different presses that we use. That helped us win tonight."
Brandon Martin had eight of his team-high 15 points in the second half, and Traquan Scales and Jalen David hit important three-pointers in the fourth quarter to help the Knights outscore North Rockland.
The Knights will play for their eighth straight Section 1 Class AA title at noon Sunday against longtime rival New Rochelle, the last team other than Mount Vernon to win the Class AA championship.
Baltimore Ravens running back and Super Bowl champion Ray Rice, who was at the game Friday to support his alma mater, was a member of New Rochelle's 2005 team.