Prep Championship - Semifinal Recap
After an action packed day of quarterfinal games on Tuesday, the National Prep Championships kicked back into gear bright and early with an 11:00a.m. tip for the first semifinal on Wednesday. Brewster Academy, Notre Dame Prep, Hargrave Military Academy, and New Hampton were in action with details outlined below.
Brewster Academy 78, Notre Dame Prep 74
Coming into the game this looked like a battle of big men between Brewster’s Mitch McGary and Notre Dame Prep’s Steven Adams. Throughout the game they basically neutralized each other as neither was able to consistently score on the other. Both defended the post well and blocked and altered numerous shots but they couldn’t get into a flow offensively. Guards and wings ruled the day as Brewster was led by the efforts of Jakarr Sampson and Semaj Christon. After displaying his rapidly improving midrange game yesterday, Sampson was committed to dominate inside this morning repeatedly establishing low position and scoring on jump hooks in the lane. He also crashed the offensive glass for highlight reel tip-ins on his way to a team high 20 points.
Christon rebounded from a subpar performance yesterday by attacking the rim at every opportunity. He is equally adept at driving in both directions and finished from 6 feet and in with both hands. On top of these two leaders, Aaron Thomas continued his stellar season for Brewster by netting 19 points by scoring from all three levels. Thomas also defends the perimeter with a level of intensity that will allow him to fit in well with Leonard Hamilton’s defensive minded style at Florida State.
For Notre Dame Prep Sam Cassell Jr.’s jump shot kept them in the game as he rattled off 27 points including six 3-pointers. Cassell is a bit of a volume shooter but when he’s in rhythm as he was today he can carry a team on his back. His unique shooting style keeps defenders off balance as he kicks out his legs much like his father did for a decade in the NBA. Cassell is successful both off the dribble and off catch and shoot situations but almost seems to prefer shooting off the dribble. He was helped by the usual steady play of Xavier bound Myles Davis who scored 19 points in a variety of ways. His deep jumper is as pure as any member of the 2012 class but he also used ball screens effectively to attack the rim. Davis doesn’t receive enough credit for his well rounded game but projects as an impact player in the Atlantic 10. Along with the normal set of high major stars, future Fordham guard Mandell Thomas had a strong showing in defeat. Thomas scored 16 points by attacking along the baseline and making jump shots when his man doubled the post. He also crashed the offensive glass and battled a much bigger Brewster front line having to play out of position at the 4.
Hargrave Military Academy 76, New Hampton 61
After being spoiled by five consecutive close games to start the tournament, Hargrave finally completed a double digit win but the game was within a few points until the final minutes. Hargrave was led by Wake Forest bound point guard Codi Miller-McIntyre (20 points) who did most of his damage with the long ball. Miller-McIntyre has incredible strength at the point but rather than bullying his way to the rim plays at his own tempo in running the offense. He made shots off the catch and the dribble both from long distance and midrange and even showed off a power two handed dunk in transition. When not getting buckets of his own Miller-McIntyre was most often dropping passes inside to 6’8” beast Montrezl Harrell. For the second straight day Harrell was the strongest player on the court and punished the rim at every opportunity. Outside of vicious dunks he also showed a soft jump hook and a decent stroke from the free throw line. His overall skill set will need to advance in order for him to be successful for Virginia Tech next year but his power and strength will play defensively in the ACC from day one. Sharpshooter Ambrose Mosley (14 points) was also a major contributor for Hargrave with his picture perfect jump shot. Mosley has “in the gym” range and went on a personal 11-0 in the second half to blow the game open.
New Hampton struggled to find rhythm in their offense and was bothered by the Hargrave press for the entire game. As normal sets broke down point guard and future BC Eagle Olivier Hanlon took things into his own hands. He played one of the best games of his high school career in his final game tallying 26 points on sheer will. He made jumpers, got to the rim, finished in midrange, and worked his way to the free throw line. More so than any measurable statistic, Hanlon stood out with his leadership and intangibles. He pulls teammates aside constantly and talks to them about where they need to be on certain plays. He encourages and coaches up his guys whether he’s on the floor or sitting on the bench. What more could you want from your point guard than to be a coach on the floor? Boston College is going to be very happy to spend four years with Olivier Hanlon. He had very little help but did get some contribution from super sophomore Jared Terrell. Terrell made a pair of threes and a couple midrange shots but struggled to handle the Hargrave full court pressure. His upside remains very high and his game will progress further as his ball-handling and shot selection improve.