Henry a double winner at Cager Classic

| Saturday, March 23, 2013, 12:36 a.m.

Sterling Henry is rarely in a hurry when he does things. He'd rather slow down and do it right or not do it at all.

“That's how I am,” the Kittanning senior said. “Take it slow.”

The best proof of that demeanor lies in watching Henry shoot a basketball. He's as accurate as he is deliberate.

Henry was a double winner at Friday night's Cager Classic skills competition, taking the individual hot-shot contest and teaming with Valley's Kristea Smith to win the co-ed hot shot at Highlands.

“You have to relax in something like this,” Henry said. “I admit I was nervous and a little afraid because I had never been in something like this before.”

Henry, playing for the East team this weekend, scored 48 points in the finals of the hot shot to hold off Matt Getsy of Mars (35), who probably would win a dunk contest if the Cager committee opted to bring it back.

Henry also took second in the 3-point contest. At times, it seemed he was taking so long to take each shot that he'd run out of time. But he finished all five racks.

In the hot shot contest, players shoot from numbered circles, 1 through 8, in 60 seconds. Henry put up 60 points in the first round, missing a 2-pointer but making every shot after that to ease into the finals.

“After the second round of the 3-point contest, I felt more comfortable,” said Henry, who has narrowed his college choices to Edinboro, Thiel and La Roche.

Henry dunked to close out the hot shot. The basket was worth only one point, but made his teammates smile.

“They were on me to throw one down,” Henry said. “I couldn't let my teammates down.”

Smith said she and Henry worked out a gameplan to win the co-ed title; they edged St. Joseph's John Arcuri and Freeport's Jess Aulicino, 35-27.

“You don't know what to expect in these contests,” said Smith, the niece of former Cager player Amanda Booker.

“We talked about him shooting 8s and me shooting 7s (pointers). It worked out.”

Riverview's Ashley Bruni, also of the East, won the girls individual hot shot contest, scoring 45 in the finals. Deer Lakes' Becca Babincak was second.

“I was a little off but had to get into a rhythm,” Bruni said. “I am excited for the game tomorrow and ready to go.”

Deer Lakes' Nichole Kearns won the girls 3-point contest and Fox Chapel's Nate Huwar was the boys champ. Both players are on the West teams.

Four players did not compete: West Shamokin's Anthony Rocco, Plum's Griffin Myers, Hampton's Brianna Intrieri and Knoch's Sam Logan.

Rocco and Intrieri had other commitments, while Myers and Logan were ill.

All four players are expected to play in Saturday night's all-star games. The girls player introductions begin at 5:45 p.m., and tip is at 6. The boys game follows.

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