National Prep Championship – Day Two Recap | Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

National Prep Championship – Day Two Recap

Unfortunately it was not a good day for New England, as both local teams were eliminated in the semi-finals. 

It began in the first game of the day as Brewster Academy met up with #1 Hargrave Military Academy.  Mark Lyons came ready to play as he had 8 points in the game’s first 4 minutes.  But Hargrave was clicking on all levels in the first half as they opened up a double digit lead on 48% shooting from the floor. 

It was more of the same coming out of the locker room as the #1 seed held a 23 point lead with 10 minutes to play in the game.  But Brewster was not about to let their magical season end like that.  Behind some smothering full court pressure, the NEPSAC champions rattled their opposition into several turnovers resulting in easy transition baskets.  Slowly Hargrave’s lead was chipped away.  It was down to 15 points at the 8 minute mark, 9 points at the 6 minute mark, and after a 3 point play by Charles Abouo with 2:09 left on the game clock Brewster trailed by only two possessions, 92-86.  But Hargrave was able to score down the stretch (including one basket that should have been waived off because of a shot clock violation) and secured a 102-93 victory. 

Again, it was Hargrave’s backcourt that led the way as Dee Bost and Damier Pitts combined for 66 points.  Bost was particularly impressive as he scored 36 points on 6 of 8 shooting from behind the three-point line. 

For Brewster, the loss ended what has been a magical season for Head Coach Jason Smith and his team.  Fresh off their NEPSAC championship, they defeated a very tough American Christian team in the quarterfinals of the tournament.  As they have all season, Mark Lyons and Emmanuel Negedu led the way on Wednesday night.  Lyons finished with 29 points, 5 assists, and only 2 turnovers as he delighted the crowd with his uncanny ability to break down his defender.  Meanwhile, Negedu scored 24 points, pulled down 7 rebounds, and blocked 4 shots.  Watching him knock down two three-pointers and a variety of jump hooks was a testament to how much he has improved in his years at Brewster Academy. 

The second semi-final game of the day featured another comeback as Findlay College Prep opened up a 15 point lead early in the second half only to have Notre Dame come storming back.  Terrence Jennings was at the top of his game as he was active around the rim on both ends of the floor: scoring; blocking/altering shots; and rebounding the ball.  Ryan Allen (12 points) and Terrence Jones (10 points) provided sparks off the bench as both players were terrific defensively in full court situations, made big shots, and played with the type of intensity that spread to their teammates.  Kimmie English didn’t have his best shooting game, but still managed to make big plays down the stretch. 

Findlay was led by Jacques Streeter who scored 6 of his game high 21 points in the final minutes of regulation and overtime.  He simply wouldn’t be denied as he found lanes to slice through in order to get to the basket.  Curtis Dennis was again solid as he scored 17 pounds, grabbed 6 rebounds, and came up with 4 steals. 

Ultimately, the game came down to the final 30 seconds of overtime as Findlay held a 73-70 lead.  Notre Dame got the ball to Johnny Higgins who was able to work his way into the lane off the bounce, where he released a soft floater.  Unfortunately the ball didn’t have quite enough air under it as it hit the front of the rim after bouncing off the glass.  Notre Dame was forced to send Findlay to the free-throw line to prolong the game where DeAndre Liggins made 1 of 2 to essentially ice the game 74-70 with only 2 seconds to play. 

Findlay will meet Hargrave tonight at 7pm in a battle of the top two seeds.  The game will again be played in Fordham University’s Rose Hill Gymnasium with admission being free to the public.