National Prep Showcase Day 3 Recap
The day got off to an exciting start as Brewster Academy locked up with NIA Prep. The nation’s second ranked team opened up a 16 point lead in the first half and led by double figures for the majority of the second until NIA stormed back in the final minutes with their full court pressure. Austin Carroll hit two big three-pointers late in the game to keep Brewster on top but ultimately a few costly turnovers allowed NIA to force overtime. NIA opened the extra period on a 6-0 run and would never again surrender the lead after that point en route to a 103-99 decision. Ashton Khan led Brewster with 25 points and 5 assists, showing an ability to make plays off the dribble and a dependable long ball when sagged off of. Melvin Ejim showed some flashes with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks while C.J. Fair did the brunt of his damage around the rim for 19 points.
While the first game of the day got the crowd going, the second brought them to a new level. Tilton and Bridgton Academy locked up in a highly competitive and well played contest on both sides. The game went back and forth for all 40 minutes and finished in dramatic fashion. With a minute to play and Tilton holding a 68-66 lead, Bridgton’s Dashuan Wiggins was turned away at the rim by freshman sensation Goodluck Okonoboh. After Tilton called a timeout, the Rams came out and perfectly executed their diagrammed set to take a 70-66 lead. Bridgton big man Ron Blossomgame backed down Okonoboh and scored with a baby hook to cut the lead to two. Despite missing the front end of a one-and-one, it appeared Tilton had the game won they came up with a defensive stop and were again fouled, this time ahead two points with three seconds to play and Bridgton being out of timeouts. When Tilton missed the front end, Wiggins came up with the ball, quickly pushed it up the court, and launched a runner from roughly 40 feet that dropped through the net just as the final buzzer sounded giving Bridgton the win and Tilton a heartbreaking 71-70 loss. Despite the loss, Gerard Coleman and Georges Niang were both fantastic for Tilton. Coleman scored 25 points, came up with several highlight reel plays on both ends, made good decisions coming off the ball screen, and showed good leadership ability running his team. Niang had 22 with a series of super clever finishes and pivots around the rim. Alexander Harris was equally good for Bridgton dropping 24 points on 9 of 14 shooting from the floor including 3 of 6 behind the arc.
The third game of the day was a match-up of two NEPSAC Class A foes with Northfield Mount Hermon taking on Maine Central Institute. The game got off to a bit of a sluggish start in the first half with both teams struggling to find the bottom of the basket. But Hector Harold stopped that trend in the second for NMH as he connected on four of his six three-pointers for the game. The Pepperdine bound swingman finished with a game high 32 points, along with 5 rebounds, and almost single handedly willed his team to the 69-54 victory.
The fourth game of the day was another barn burner as Champlain St. Lambert opened up a double digit second half lead over South Kent only to see the Cardinals storm back in the second half behind the heroics of J.J. Moore and Nikolas Stauskas who combined for over 30 points in the second half. Stauskas knocked down three three-pointers in the final minutes, none more important than one with 13.5 seconds left that cut Champlain’s lead to 75-74. After Champlain missed their free-throw on the opposite end, South Kent had one chance to claim victory. Danny Lawhorn made a strong drive down the right wing and dumped off a pass to Vernell Blackman, but his shot attempt was knocked out of bounds giving South Kent the ball on the baseline, still trailing by one with 1.3 seconds left and no timeouts. Djurisic Hemanja started to set a cross screen but quickly slipped it, receiving a perfectly timed pass for the game winning lay-up just as time expired.
New Hampton scored a dominating win over Kiski in the next game of the day. 11 players saw double digit minutes for New Hampton and all 12 players on the roster found the scoring column. New Hampton worked their offense well and their shooters received the benefit as Brady Heslip was 4-6 behind the arc, Evan Smotrycz 3-3, and Steve Topercer 3-3. New Hampton finished the weekend a perfect 2-0 with the decision.
The final game of the this year’s National Prep Showcase was another spirited contest between two disciplined and well coached teams. Blair Academy was able to hold off St. Andrew’s down the stretch 78-67. Ricardo Ledo took over for St. Andrew’s after Michael Carter-Williams went down with an injury in the first half. Making his debut in the red and white uniform, Ledo went for 27 points with a series of athletic drives and quick pull-ups but ultimately Blair was too much for St. Andrew’s to handle inside.
Stay tuned to the New England Recruiting Report tomorrow for final thoughts on the 2009 National Prep Showcase.