PATERSON, N.J. — When the Jingle Bells Jubilee tipped off Saturday, Jayvaughn Pinkston was targeted, both by Paterson Eastside (N.J.), which bloodied his nose, and by the capacity crowd, which didn’t want to believe the hype that the Bishop Loughlin forward was considered the top junior in New York City.
But on Tuesday, when the Lions rolled over Plainfield (N.J.), 77-59, to win the inaugural tournament title, Pinkston not only took home tournament MVP honors, but earned the respect from the cynical New Jersey crowd, which simply referred to him as “man-child.”
That’s just what the polished 6-foot-6 forward was against undersized Plainfield on Tuesday. Pinkston, who is being recruited by a bevy of Big East schools, including St. John’s and Rutgers (Scarlet Knights coach Fred Hill was in attendance) finished with a game-high 30 points and scored at will in the paint. It was his most complete and dominant performance of the season.
“I just tried to work hard and play along with my team and get the job done,” Pinkston said.
He did that and more. The same was true of Trevon Hamlet, a 6-foot-6 forward who added 17 for Loughlin, which led 15-13 after the first quarter but outscored Plainfield, 24-15, in the second quarter. The Cardinals never recovered.
“We worked on a lot of plays for me and Jayvaughn and the other kid Rasi (Jenkins),” Hamlet said. “They couldn’t really handle us down low. We knew once we got inside that would be the game.”
It was evident that the Lions would have the mismatch inside, especially with three players 6-feet-6 and taller — Plainfield has just one player listed at 6-feet-6. But the Cardinals were sup