ZG Classic - Day 3 Recap
The final day of the Zero Gravity Prep Classic lived up to the hype created by the first two days. Sunday saw star-studded squads such as Northfield Mount Hermon, New Hampton and Putnam Science Academy take action, while Loomis Chaffee and Worcester Academy played the game of the weekend in the 2:00pm slot. The third day of the tournament also yielded many standout individual performances with D1 programs in the building to watch.
Sunday’s Games of the Day
Northfield Mount Hermon 81 RISE Prep 59
After yesterday’s drubbing of Ridley College, Northfield Mount Hermon was out to prove their dominant performance wasn’t a fluke against another Canadian foe. NMH dominated right from the opening tip, with their team chemistry and athleticism fueling a balanced offensive and defensive attack. After a first half ankle sprain forced senior point guard Darius Ervin, who scored 10 points, out for the second half, sophomore guard Avery Brown stepped up in big time fashion by comfortably running the offense, creating for teammates, and knocking down the open shot. Ben Callahan-Gold again provided a barrage of three’s off of the bench.
New Hampton School 76 Ridley College 50
After losing four key seniors and their coach from last year’s team, New Hampton School showed they’re still a New England powerhouse and a contender to dethrone vaunted Brewster Academy in a highly anticipated matchup coming up on Wednesday. Behind the steady leadership of senior point guard Kerem Ozturk and the sophomore duo of Alex Karaban and Kyle Hicks, the Huskies thoroughly dominated a Ridley College squad today, taking a formidable lead into the half and hold strong in the second.
Worcester Academy 74 Loomis Chaffee 75
Arguably the game of the weekend took place with two extremely talented teams facing off in a Sage Gym filled by fans from both programs. The raucous crowd created a feisty atmosphere from the tip while the performance and physicality by both teams raised the intensity. Worcester Academy took a 4-point lead into halftime behind the play of sophomore guard Dasonte Bowen. The contest stayed tight all the way until the final buzzer, with elite shot-making from Dayton commit RJ Blakney of Loomis and Worcester’s Holy Cross commit Judson Martindale keeping the game close. With 1.1 second remaining and down by two, Blakney rose up and buried a deep side step three, sending the Loomis Chaffe faithful home elated and Worcester Academy home defeated in a game they led most of the way.
Sunday's Top Performers
Avery Brown, Northfield Mt. Hermon, 2022 – The 6’2” guard out of Beacon Falls, CT got words of encouragement from NBA superstar Ja Morant after the game on Twitter, and Brown emulated his style in today’s contest. Brown was aggressive attacking the hoop and used his supreme athleticism to hang in the air and make countless tough finishes. Showing maturity beyond his years, Brown was also able to facilitate off the bounce for his teammates, and hustle back on defense. Brown’s age, versatile game, and unselfish nature make him a player to be reckoned with now and in the future.
Alex Karaban, New Hampton School, 2022 - The 6’7” forward is sure to be a household name in New England by the end of the season both in New England. Karaban showcased his elite shooting, stepping back and draining three first-half triples. The Northborough product was also able to penetrate the lane and finish nicely around the rim, while also cleaning up rebounds. Karaban’s touch around the rim and ability behind the arc already make him a dangerous inside-out weapon.
RJ Blakney, Loomis-Chaffee, 2020 - Prior to Blakney’s game winner, he showed the raucous crowd his all-around skill set. He went on a personal 7-0 run late in the second half, igniting his teammates by catching his own lob off the backboard for a thunderous slam. The Dayton commit followed the and-1 dunk with two finishes at the rim, showing off his uber athleticism. Big time players make big time plays, and Blakney’s ability to take over the game late and drain a game winner shows why he belongs in that category.
Dasonte Bowen, Worcester Academy, 2022 - Whether it was because of his smooth outside stroke, tenacious defense, or uber athleticism, Class of 2022 guard Dasonte Bowen jumped off of the court today for Worcester Academy. Bowen repeatedly knocking down difficult shots from the mid-range while also attacking the rim and dishing to open teammates. The Boston native showed a knack for making the right play beyond his years and backed up his early high-major reputation.
Tyler Kolek, St. George’s School, 2020 - Kolek shut down the ZG Prep Classic in 2019, there’s no other way to put it. 34 points on 8 three-pointers for the George Mason commit propelled the St. George’s Dragons past host school and reigning AA Champion St. Andrew’ School. Kolek controlled all aspects of the game, showcasing his ability to get his shot whenever and wherever he liked as well as firing the ball to teammates all over the floor.
Kyrell Luc, Brimmer & May, 2021 - Luc put on some of the most impressive performances of the weekend controlling tempo and making big-time plays when his team needed it. The shifty, lefty point guard showed off his dynamic ability by pulling-up off the dribble and finishing over bigger, stronger players at the rim.
Mekhi Gray, Putnam Science Academy, 2020 - Mekhi showed flashes of why he was such a good get for the Highlanders of NJIT. He made an impact on both ends of the floor while leading Putnam to a convincing victory on Sunday night of the ZG Prep Classic. He paced the Mustangs as their leading scorer and almost threw down some ridiculous dunks to cap off their win.
Ethan Okwuosa, Cheshire Academy, 2021 - From the opening tip, Okwuosa made his presence known, draining a mid-range jumper. The south-paw had a team high 17 points and showed great decision-making skills in pick-and-roll. His strong play started on Saturday but certainly continued into Sunday for Cheshire Academy.
Robert Brown III, Kimball Union Academy, 2021 - Robert Brown III lead all scorers with a game high 18pts. Brown III was very effective at getting into the paint and creating for himself and teammates as his power and ability to get downhill were virtually unmatched.
Drew Sachs, Governor’s Academy, 2021 - Sachs caught fire and knocked down 4 triples to finish with a game high 16pts. His ability to shoot from distance opened the floor up for his teammates to make plays for Coach Mike Shelton’s young Governor’s squad which was key in their Sunday night victory.
Ryan Zambie Choate Rosemary Hall, 2020 - Zambie was in attack mode all night for Choate and led all scorers with 25 points. The Lafayette commit got to the basket with ease from the opening tip and when it counted down the stretch, making a variety of winning plays leading to a buzzer-beating upset of Class A South Kent.