TAMPA — Not since the late 1990s, when Robinson featured Kentucky-bound superstar Desmond Allison, have the Knights enjoyed such a successful start to a season.
Led by a double double from 6-foot-4 senior center Tre Leonard on Thursday night at Alonso, Robinson capped one of the greatest first halves of a season in recent memory by winning the Buffalo Wild Wings Alonso Holiday Classic with a 62-49 over host and defending tournament champion Alonso.
The win improved Robinson’s record to 11-2 and gave the program its first tournament championship since winning the City of Tampa Championship in 2005.
“It’s a lot of momentum for our team,” Robinson coach Steve Smith said. “We have to continue to work hard and get better.”
Leonard, who was named tournament MVP, led the Knights with 19 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks.
“Our last tournament we finished fifth, so it’s good to end the year on a good note,” Leonard said.
Ahead 29-20 at the half, Robinson outscored Alonso (8-6) 13-2 in the third quarter en route to a 20-point lead early in the fourth.
“Defense was key to our game,” Smith said. “We played pretty good defense.”
The Ravens, however, did not surrender, going on a 15-6 run to cut Robinson’s lead to 10 with two minutes remaining.
“I thought my kids played hard the whole game,” Alonso coach Todd Price said.
“Alonso fought all game, but we held them off at the end,” Smith said.
Sophomore guard Cody Brown, who was selected to the all-tournament team, added 14 points for Robinson while junior guard Malachi Christopher, who also made the all-tournament team, led Alonso with 13 points — 11 of which were scored in the fourth quarter.
Leonard is confident his Knights will surprise a few teams in 2012.
“Coming into this season we knew we were underdogs,” he said.
Armwood defeated King in the third-place match 55-44.
Rounding out the all-tournament team were senior forward Zarko Stojakovic from Armwood, senior guard Malcolm Carney from Gaither and junior forward Erik Thomas from Wesley Chapel.