ALBANY -- Deerfield-Windsor wasn't after payback Saturday in a regular-season rematch of last year's GISA Class AAA state title game.
Mount Vernon Presbyterian came in with a solid 6-2 team after defeating the Knights by 20-plus points in the championship some 10 months ago. But this was two different teams and a different season.
Revenge? Nah. Just a bold statement with a dominant 67-55 win for the undefeated Knights.
"We didn't really come into the game thinking about revenge," said Deerfield senior Michael Matthews, who led the Knights with 19 points. "It was just kind of like a statement game more than revenge."
If it was a statement Deerfield (6-0) sought, its 22-point lead in the first half spoke loud and clear. The Knights stormed out of the gates in the first half with suffocating defense and good inside work on the boards, using a 9-0 run to jump out to a 25-12 lead.
That spurt ended with an exclamation point when Reggie Brown cleaned up a missed shot by flying
through the lane and emphatically grabbing the rebound above the rim and sending down a crashing dunk that shook W.T. Henry Gymnasium.
"Last year (Mount Vernon) had two dominant players in the post and we just couldn't rebound with them," Knights senior Jordan Alexander said. "(On Saturday), we hit the boards really hard. I think that's what helped us win."
lexander, who finished with 12 points along with Brown, hit a three and a jumper in consecutive possessions after Mount Vernon cut Deerfield's lead to 52-43 with six minutes to play.
Mustangs guard Jovan Hannah, who did not play for Mount Vernon a year ago against the Knights, cut the margin back to nine with four minutes to play, scoring back-to-back buckets to push his game-high total to 31 points.
But it wasn't nearly enough after Brown and Banks Kinslow hit from close range with less than three minutes to play. Knights coach Gordy Gruhl seemed pleased with the win -- but not any more so than any other regular-season victory.
"It was a good quality win against a good team," Gruhl said. "They beat us in the state championship game. That was that year. This is this year. It's just nice to play a quality team to see where you're at."
Deerfield's boys and girls will be off this week before traveling to Montgomery, Ala., for a Christmas tournament beginning Dec. 28.
DWS GIRLS 46, MOUNT VERNON 27:
The Lady Knights held Mount Vernon to just seven first-half points and led by double-digits the entire second half in a convincing win Saturday, despite not having one of their key post players.
Deerfield's Sarah Shellhaas missed most of the game after being kneed in the face in the first quarter. Shellhaas suffered a slight concussion, but was in good spirits following the game, Lady Knights coach Ty Kinslow said.
Minus Shellhaas and with inside threat Heather Lash in first-half foul trouble, Deerfield overcame the adversity. Miranda Phillips scored a game-high 12 points, nine of which came in the first-half, and used its defensive pressure to build a 21-7 halftime lead.
"Miranda came in and hit some shots early and we were able to get in our press," Kinslow said. "Morgan (Phillips) had to hold the fort down (in the paint) and did a great job of playing down low. A lot of girls just stepped their game up."
Lash came back in the second half and scored all of her 10 points in the final 16 minutes. She was one of three Lady Knights to score in double figures, along with Phillips and Sabrina Curry, who added 11. Lauren Fullford had six assists.
Mount Vernon was led by Elyse Adams' 11 points.