Dantez Bennamon was dynamic in Monday's Rotary Roundball Classic, collecting 26 points and five rebounds in a 59-51 victory over North Gwinnett in the Rotary Foundation Bracket championship game at North Charleston.
He was also MVP - for good reason. He helped the Gators overcome an 11-point deficit with key baskets down the stretch to give the Gators their 10th victory in 11 games.
Bennamon, a senior, led the Gators to the Class AAAA state title game last winter and wants to go back.
"This is my last chance at a (state championship) ring," Bennamon said. "It's now or never. I'm giving it all I can."
St. John's College High claimed the Rotary International Bracket championship with a 68-54 victory over Imhotep on the third and final day of the 21st annual event at North Charleston Hgih School.
Goose Creek 59, North Gwinnett 51
Down by 11 early in the second half, Goose Creek never quit, The Gators hit only 24 percent from the field in the first half, but connected on 52 percent in the second half.
"We have a very resilient group," Goose Creek coach Blake Hall said. "There was no panic tonight. We showed moxie."
Bennamon also showed why he is one of the top players in the state. He hit 8 of 18 from the field, including 3 of 6 from 3-point land, while cashing in on 7 of 9 free throws.
The Gators finally tied the score at 38 with 6:03 left in the game, and Kameron Robinson gave the Gators the lead at 46-44 with a basket with 3:04 left in the game.
North Gwinnett came right back with a bucket, but Bennamon scored on a soft bank shot and then added a 3-point goal to make it 51-48 with 1:30 to go. He added a pair of free throws with 48 seconds left to settle the issue.
"He's a steadying force," Hall said. "He has a calming effect on the team. You can count on him."
Robinson and Chris Singleton both added nine for the Gators.
T.J. Howard led North Gwinnett with 17 points and Malik Carter tallied 14 and Ahmad Caver 12.
St. John's College 68, Imhotep 54
Tre Campbell collected 15 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists while James Palmer chipped in with 12 points and seven rebounds to lead St. John's College High to the Rotary International Bracket championship.
St. John's College upped its record to 9-1. The Cadets traveled from Washington, D.C., to the Lowcountry for their fourth appearance in the Roundball Classic.
The teams features five players who will play Division I basketball. Campbell is headed to Georgetown, while Palmer will matriculate to Coral Gables to play for Miami. Mike Morsell, who will play for Towson State, was also in double figures with 10 points.
Imhotep, which traveled from Philadelphia, is the first team from Pennsylvania to play in the tournament since 2003. Basil Thompson and Devin Liggeons both scored 13 points for the Panthers, who fell to 6-3. Jakwon Jones added 12 points and Jaekwon Carlyle scored 10.
St. John's hit 44 percent from the field to Imhotep's 42 percent and held a 37-33 rebounding advantage.
St. John's never trailed in the game and led 40-31 at halftime. The winners outscored Imhotep 27-6 from the 3-point line.