Central's Bing KOs Mastery Charter North from all directions

Posted: January 08, 2014

CHRIS BING didn't waste time making his presence felt against Mastery Charter North.

Less than 2 minutes into the game, the 6-7, 190-pound Central High senior center stood beneath his own basket as a 6-foot Pumas guard barreled down the lane.

It wasn't a fair fight.

The result: A volleyball-spike blocked shot pummeled straight into the floor that, of course, drew thunderous cheers from the Lancers' faithful.

"I was excited!" Bing said with a chuckle. "I got that one."

Bing's 18 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks helped Central hold off Mastery North, 72-55, at home yesterday afternoon.

He now has scored 81 points in four Public League games, but you can keep the points. For Bing, it's all about the rejections.

"It's like a block is the same thing as a dunk," he said. "It's the same energy. We start [everything] on defense, because we're not really an offensive team. We can hit some shots, but it all starts on defense."

"Air Bing," he added later. "My motto is: 'Air Bing, first and last stop - the rim.' "

That defense helped the Lancers overcome 21 turnovers.

And, basket protection was a must as feisty Pumas guards consistently invaded the paint.

"Their guards were fast and they penetrated almost at will, and I had to help," Bing said. "And, my teammates helped the helper, so they didn't get too many layups."

Offensively for Central (9-1, 4-0 PL), Gregory Holdsman added 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting, and Kahlil Williams added 14 more, mostly from the free-throw line (10-for-16). Holdsman also added three assists, but had several nice dishes that netted free-throw attempts or missed jumpers from wide-open teammates.

Frequent turnovers and poor execution occasionally drew angry foot stomps from head coach Haviland Harper, who eventually stuffed his necktie into his pants pocket after a Lancers turnover.

"He just wanted us to run his offense," Bing said, laughing. "He's always yelling at us to run his offense. Run his offense, not ours, and get layups instead of jump shots."

The Pumas (8-4, 2-3) were paced by junior guard Cananchet Jordan's 17 points (4-for-16, 9-for-12 from the foul line).

Before the game, Mastery second-year head coach Terrance Cook (Dobbins, 1998), said he appreciated his team's heart, but wanted more offensive teamwork. However, Mastery netted only three assists.

Instead, Bing banged shots around all day.

"Everybody is going to come at me, because I'm the tallest out there, so as soon as it leaves their hands I'll attack it," he said.

Bing, who lives near 17th and Godfrey, lacked that type of spunk when he started playing basketball in eighth grade.

In fact, he described himself as a "short, fat kid," until his ninth-grade summer, when he grew 5 inches.

Before that, video games were his competition of choice, and friends had to persuade him even to try basketball.

"I was just playing to play, but there was like no passion, and I just played because I was tall," he said.

Breaking his left ankle during his sophomore summer forced him to hone guard skills, because sedentary dribbling was all he could muster. He also missed the game.

"I saw I could actually have a future in basketball," he said. "In my opinion, I wasn't as good as I should have been, but I still had some good games."

He said that he'd like to play at St. Francis (Pa.) next season, and that he has received moderate interest from the school. However, he also said he was told the school didn't have scholarships available for next season.

Until then, he'll be trying to add weight/muscle to his frame (he said he's added 30 pounds since freshman year). For now, you can find him doing what he loves best.

"I jump my highest when I get blocked shots," Bing said. "Blocks and put-back dunks, that's what I really like to do . . . I'm still trying to get my first triple-double with blocks."

On Twitter: @AceCarterDN