Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
Michael Porter Jr.’s crowd-pleasing dunks were mostly held in check Tuesday by Kettering (Ohio) Fairmont in the semifinals of the Great 8 Classic.
But the Father Tolton junior still managed to do enough damage otherwise, racking up game highs with 23 points and 11 rebounds to help the Trailblazers to an 80-61 defeat of the Firebirds.
Tolton will face Helias in the championship game at 7 p.m. today.
Thirteen of Porter’s points came at the free-throw line. The Firebirds were determined to keep the nationally ranked 6-foot-9 junior from showing off too many of his flashy dunks. When Porter racked up his third foul with less than four minutes to play before half, he appeared frustrated and repeatedly told his teammates to “give (him) the ball.”
It took awhile, as he turned the ball over on a few opportunities and was fouled before he could get airborne on a couple others.
But after forcing a steal to start a breakaway, Porter let loose with a one-handed dunk with 2.8 seconds to go in the half.
After that, the Trailblazers began to break away. A 14-2 second-half run helped the Trailblazers bury the Firebirds, who had the lead after one quarter.
Porter, who had four blocks, recorded one more dunk and it came in identical fashion.
Jontay Porter scored 18 points with nine rebounds and seven blocks, and Mason Schlotzhauer added 15 points off the bench. Isaiah Wilson was also in double figures with 10 points.
The teams combined for 35 turnovers in the sloppy affair.