Electric Kingston point guard Justin Robinson, AKA J-Rob, the player with more energy than the Energizer Bunny, could finally relax after Sunday’s Section 9 Class AA title game.
He had his Class AA championship. Kingston had its title it so coveted since last winning in 2004. The Tigers, rolling through opponents, made Roosevelt its latest casualty in front of 1,500 fans at SUNY New Paltz.
Final score: Kingston 80, Roosevelt 52. The Tigers beat rival Newburgh Free Academy 80-54 in the Class AA semifinals on Friday.
“To win the title, it means a lot,” said J-Rob, who had 13 points, eight steals and seven assists. “Each and every day, we pushed each other to get here. Since we lost last year in the championship, we never let that go.”
Jordan DeCicco led top-seeded Kingston (18-2) with 16 points and Pat Dorrian and Deion Monroe added 12 apiece. And the impressive streak goes on. Streaking Kingston, seemingly playing better every game, has won 14 consecutive games since losing at Newburgh Free Academy 57-56 on Dec. 19.
Kingston (18-2) received a bye in the first round of the state Class AA tournament and will play Binghamton or New Rochelle in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Sunday at West Point. New Rochelle, which shocked defending state Class AA champion Mount Vernon on a 60-foot shot as time expired on Sunday, and Binghamton will play at 4 p.m. Tuesday at SUNY Purchase.
Kingston is three wins from a Class AA state title and – who knows – maybe the Tigers can pull it off. Kingston is playing with confidence, determination and the Tigers have, seemingly, mastered the art of the team game. It’s fun to watch with coach Ron Kelder and his top assistant, Mark Wyncoop, pacing up and down the Kingston bench.
The intensity of it all is something pretty special.
So was the celebration after the Roosevelt win. Kingston’s supportive crowd, always chanting, always active, rushed the SUNY New Paltz floor. There were plenty of handshakes, hugs and a dance circle even broke out. In a touching moment, Kelder spoke about his father, Vincent, who died on Jan. 21 at age 72.
“It’s been really frustrating, really tough,” Kelder said. “These kids knew what they were playing for. I missed a couple of days, Mark ran a few practices for me. I know he is looking down on me right now.”
Added Robinson: “Coach Kelder’s dad meant a lot to us. He was at all the games. He still is, just with a better seat. We weren’t going to let it go because he wanted it just as bad as we did.”