BABC Prep Classic - Saturday Recap
The second annual BABC Prep Classic kicked off Saturday at Chelsea High School with three exciting games highlighted by a classic match-up between two of Class AA's best programs to end the day.
Game of the Day: Tilton (NH) 74 St. Andrew’s (RI) 69
Coming off its impressive victory over national power DeMatha (MD) last week at the Cancer Research Classic in West Virginia, St. Andrew’s would take on Tilton in a match-up between two perennial NEPSAC powers in Saturday’s final contest. With both teams trading baskets early in a physical, up-and-down affair that featured a scintillating dunk in transition by Wayne Selden, the Rams would take an early two-point lead, at 11-9, with 10:53 remaining in the first half. Back-to-back threes from Aboubacar Casse and Kalusha Kdoumbe-Ngollo would give St. Andrew’s a six-point lead, at 21-15, with 7:30 remaining in the half, before Casse would knock down another triple after two Nerlens Noel scores inside to give the Saints a 24-20 lead with 5:56 remaining. A tough interior hoop from Tilton’s Georges Niang would keep the Saints’ lead to four, at 28-24, with under five minutes left in the half, before Syracuse-bound guard Michael Carter-Williams would get going with a series of buckets to help push the spread to eight, at 41-33, heading into the break.
Tilton would come out of the locker room with a heightened sense of urgency in the second half behind the aggressive play of Selden and Noel, but a four-point play from Carter-Williams would push the St. Andrew’s lead to double-figures, at 47-37, with 13:16 remaining. With play becoming increasingly physical on both sides, Tilton would close the gap to five, at 51-46, on a thunderous, two-hand dunk from Selden with 10:27 remaining, before a deep, NBA-range three from Carter-Williams and a driving lay-up from Myles Brillhante would extend the St. Andrew’s lead back to seven with just over eight minutes left to play. A three from Selden would shrink the Tilton deficit to five, at 59-54, but the Saints would answer with a three of their own from Casse that would push the spread back to eight, at 62-54, with just under five minutes to play.
With time slipping away, Tilton would respond with a quick, seven-point run to cut the lead to one, at 62-61, with 3:05 to play. After back-to-back threes from Selden and Carter-Williams, a three from Niang and a conventional three-point play from Noel would give the Rams their first lead since the game’s opening minute, at 70-67, with 52 seconds remaining. An ensuing three-point attempt from Carter-Williams would be off the mark, and after a series of late free-throws from Niang, Tilton would eventually seal its comeback with a hard-fought, 74-69 victory at the final buzzer.
Niang finished with a team-high 21 points for Tilton, to go along with 19 from Selden and 12 from Noel. Carter-Williams led all scorers with 25, with Casse joining him in double-figures with 11.
Corbyn Moye (Winchendon)- An opportune shot-maker, Moye consistently found open spots in Boston Trinity’s 2-3 zone in the half-court for catch-and-shoot threes and mid-range jumpers at both elbows. The six-foot-three combo guard spaced himself well off penetration and demonstrated impressive patience in consistently passing up mediocre scoring opportunities for higher percentage looks at the basket.
Xavier Pollard (Winchendon)- The six-foot-three combo guard scored the ball effectively off the dribble in Winchendon’s win over Boston Trinity on Saturday, imposing his physicality and toughness to bull his way past smaller guards and finish through contact in the paint. With solid lateral quickness to go with a strong frame, Pollard (team-high 21 points) pressures the ball defensively and uses opportune instincts to get in passing lanes and create transition offense off turnovers.
Jamil Ebo (Winchendon)- A long, explosive athlete at six-foot-five, Ebo (18 points) attacked the basket with conviction against smaller, less-athletic Boston Trinity guards, using explosive bounce and athleticism to elevate in traffic and convert through contact. A capable three-point shooter with a quick, balanced release, he knocked down multiple shots from behind the arc to give Winchendon a comfortable spread it would need to withstand a furious Boston Trinity comeback late in the second half.
Rashaad Dixon (Boston Trinity)- Despite a slight, slender frame, Dixon (game-high 31 points, eight threes) can flat out score the ball from the perimeter, showcasing a pure stroke with outstanding lift to connect from NBA range on multiple occasions in front of soft-closing Winchendon defenders. The six-foot-two off-guard moved well without the basketball in the half-court and, when crowded at the arc in transition, he attacked close-outs and utilized his supreme length to create high-percentage offense for himself and others off the bounce.
Ryan Canty (Brimmer & May)- The Fordham-bound big man was extremely active for Brimmer & May against Marianapolis on Saturday, blocking shots and rebounding the ball in and out of his area in high volume. A long, active body, Canty consistently caught the ball in the middle of the Marianapolis zone and attacked the basket with either hand to score or draw contact and get to the free-throw line.
Jared Fay (Brimmer & May)- A solid athlete who plays extremely hard on both ends of the floor, Fay was prolific from behind the arc in a tough, overtime loss to Marianapolis on Saturday, hitting four threes at crucial times to keep his team close down the stretch.
Zach Chionuma (Marianapolis)- The six-foot-four lead guard was his trademark attacking self against Brimmer & May on Saturday, showcasing excellent burst and creativity off the bounce to consistently create offense in transition off missed or made baskets. At his best pushing the pace downhill in transition, Chionuma (game-high 26 points) is a capable perimeter shooter who will only improve his effectiveness as a scoring point guard with a more efficient feel of when to attack and when to facilitate for his teammates.
Wayne Selden (Tilton)- A physical specimen for just a freshman, Selden is the primary offensive option for a Tilton squad loaded with explosive talent on both ends of the floor. While electrifying the crowd with a pair of spectacular dunks in transition, his steadily progressing perimeter jumper is the element of his game that could set him apart as a truly special offensive talent. Finishing with 19 points on a variety of aggressive drives to the basket, the six-foot-four wing also demonstrated an impressive willingness to challenge St. Andrew’s guard Michael Carter-Williams and force him into a series of difficult shots down the stretch in his team’s comeback victory over the Saints.
Nerlens Noel (Tilton)- Demonstrating his elite shot-blocking and rebounding ability, Noel’s imposing presence in the middle of the paint made it nearly impossible for opposing guards to get anywhere close to the rim and score close to the basket. Offensively, Noel (12 points) showcased a good looking jump hook over both shoulders and was extremely efficient catching and finishing with authority on the move. Much like his running-mate Selden, the sky is the limit for the consensus top five player in the class of 2013.
Georges Niang (Tilton)- Sometimes overshadowed by the spectacular athleticism of Noel and Selden, the six-foot-eight face-up forward might be the most productive player on the Rams roster. Niang (team-high 19 points) consistently catches and finishes in traffic from a variety of difficult angles from behind and around the basket, can step out and knock down an open three, and does an outstanding job crashing the glass on both ends in back of the massive amount of attention demanded by the length and leaping ability of Noel.
Michael Cater-Williams (St. Andrew’s)- While facing the tremendous level of defensive pressure on and off the ball he has surely become accustomed to as one of the premiere scoring guards in the country, Carter-Williams connected on multiple long-distance jumpers off a variety of crossover and stepback dribble moves en route to a game-high 25 points. Like all aggressive scorers, the Syracuse-bound combo-guard responded to the defensive challenge posed to him by Selden by attacking right back, and while he did settle for multiple contested jumpers down the stretch, Carter-Williams repeatedly showed the natural shot-making ability that should make him an impact player next year in the Big East.
Aboubacar Casse (St. Andrew’s)- A long, lean athlete with explosive bounce and the ability to rebound the ball effectively at both ends, the six-foot-five forward features a polished offensive skill-set that allows him to hit shots from the perimeter and score the ball consistently in the mid range area off the dribble. The beneficiary of several drive-and-kick opportunities off Carter-Williams penetration, Casse (11 points) made Tilton pay on several occasions by knocking down catch-and-shoot threes from multiple spots behind the arc.
Winchendon (MA) 78 Boston Trinity (MA) 71
Marianapolis (CT) 60 Brimmer & May (MA) 58 (OT)
Tilton (NH) 74 St. Andrew’s (RI) 69