Jordan Cornish got off to a blazing start Wednesday night in Brother Martin’s CYO Tournament opener against Shaw.
The 6-foot-5 guard, a Tennessee signee, had a dunk, a 3-pointer and an assist in the first four minutes of the game.
He finished with a game-high 22 points and four rebounds to lead host Brother Martin to an easy 74-38 victory over Shaw at Robert M. Conlin Gymnsium.
“I just wanted to come out and attack,” Cornish said. “You can’t take any team lightly, especially in the CYO Tournament. This is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country, so we came out and played hard.”
Immediately after the win, Cornish turned his attention to Thursday night’s second round game against Newman.
Newman defeated Brother Martin in overtime on a putback basket to win the CYO title last season. So what will Cornish and the Crusaders do differently this time?
“Box out,” he said with a laugh. “We lost to them on a tip in overtime, so we definitely are trying to come out for some revenge.”
Brother Martin improved to 4-0 Wednesday in a game they led from start to finish.
The Crusaders led 19-6 after one quarter. Cornish outscored the Eagles 8-6 in the opening quarter.
“Jordan is a special player,” said Brother Martin coach Chris Biehl. “I don’t think Jordan has even come close to peaking in terms of what he can do in high school. He is starting to figure out that the offense we are running now gives him more opportunities if he runs it all the way through.”
Cornish was far from perfect Wednesday though. He missed two dunks in the first half.
“That won’t happen again ever,” he said.
It didn’t matter in a game the Crusaders led by as many as 31 points (66-35) midway through the fourth quarter.
“They are a very experienced squad and an established program,” said Shaw coach John Quilter, in his second season. “We are a pretty young squad in a rebuilding situation. We have had three coaches in four years, but we are on the upswing. We are better than we were last year. We just have to grind and get better every day.”
Sedrick Cooper scored 11 points and Warren Lewis had nine to lead the Eagles (1-4).
Shaw will play De La Salle on Thursday in a losers bracket game.
Despite the dominant performance, Biehl said his team has plenty of improvements to make.
“Where we are right now is not where we need to be,” he said. “I told the boys at halftime that we can’t have an on-off switch. In the first half our switch wasn’t in the right place. The mark of a good team is being sharp every possession and playing as hard as you can and we didn’t do that in the first half.”
He’s hoping that last year’s loss to Newman in the title game will help tonight.
“Newman is Newman,” Biehl said. “They have coach Jimmy Tillete, and anybody who knows anything about high school basketball knows he is special. His boys will play as hard as anybody we will see. At some point you want to look in the mirror and remember what happened a year ago. If we don’t come out ready to play (Thursday), that will be something for me to be worried about.”
Luke Walker scored 13 points for the Crusaders and Venjie Wallis chipped in nine for Brother Martin, seeking its first CYO title since 2004.
But that’s not the only championship Cornish is focusing on now that he has gotten the recruiting process over with after signing with the Volunteers last month.
“The weight of the world is off my shoulders and now I am just thinking about one thing and that’s bringing the state title to Brother Martin,” Cornish said.