St. Andrews Holiday Classic - Event Recap
Game of the Day - St. Andrew’s 71 Winchendon 46
In the event’s final contest, a highly-energized St. Andrew’s team would host Winchendon in a match-up featuring several explosive athletes on both sides. In front of an enthusiastic home crowd, a pair of threes from Aboubacar Casse off Michael Carter-Williams penetration, followed by a pull-up three from Carter-Williams, would give the hosts an early eight-point lead, at 11-3, with just over 12:30 remaining in the opening half. Carter-Williams would push the spread to nine, at 14-5, on a tough baseline jumper off glass with just under 10 minutes remaining, before Winchendon would cut the lead to six on a pair of inside buckets from 6’6” forward James Cambronne. In a fluid rhythm offensively, Carter-Williams would hit again from well behind the arc to push the spread to 14, at 26-12, before teammates Anderson Santana and Tom Garrick would follow suit with threes of their own to put St. Andrew’s up 20, at 32-12, with just over four minutes left in the first half. Winchendon lead guard Varun Ram would fight to keep his team within striking distance with a series of buckets in the half’s closing minutes, eventually hitting a deep three from the left wing to cut the St. Andrew’s lead to 15, at 38-23, heading into the break.
With a heightened sense of urgency out of the locker room, Winchendon would open the second half with an aggressive man-to-man press look designed to speed up the game and keep the ball out of Carter Williams’ hands. However, the Saints would handle the pressure effectively and take a 16-point lead, at 45-29, on a transition three from Garrick, before an and-one bucket from Cambronne and two open floor run outs from Winchendon’s Xavier Pollard would cut the lead to nine, at 45-36, with under nine minutes to play. An acrobatic Carter-Williams lay-up in transition off a lob from Santana, followed by a Santana three on the ensuing Saint possession, would push the spread back to 16, at 54-38, with 6:17 remaining, before back-to-back driving hoops from Myles Brilhante moments later would give St. Andrew’s its largest lead of the game, at 61-38, with 4:37 remaining. St. Andrew’s would continue to stay aggressive in the game’s closing minutes, converting on a series of late buckets to push the spread to over 20, at 71-46, at the final buzzer.
Carter-Williams finished with a game-high 16 points to lead St. Andrew’s, to go along with 13 from Casse and 12 from Santana. Pollard led Winchendon with 14, while Cambronne and Ram added 13 and nine respectively.
Martin Dixon-Green (Vermont Academy)- Showcasing a pure perimeter stroke to go with his superior finishing ability in the open floor, the 6’3” combo-guard scored in a variety of ways against Brimmer & May on Saturday. An explosive athlete with a cerebral offensive presence, Dixon-Green (23 points) is almost impossible to guard in one-on-one situations off the bounce and, despite being a capable threat from behind the arc, he sometimes bails defenders out by not being fully aggressive attacking the basket. With continued maturity, his natural ability and impressive work ethic project him as a legitimate high-major prospect in the class of 2012.
Daquein McNeil (Vermont Academy)- While not quite as polished as his running mate Dixon-Green, McNeil (14 points) is equally impressive off the dribble with a creative handle and elite ability to finish over and around defenders at the rim. A smooth, explosive athlete, the 6’3” sophomore uses his quick burst and superior length to consistently blow-by defenders in the half-court and attack the basket looking to score the ball with conviction. A menace on the offensive glass, McNeil has the potential to be a big-time scorer at the next level if he can incorporate a consistent perimeter jumper to go with his devastating variety off the bounce.
Keron DeShields (Vermont Academy)- DeShields was solid with the ball in his hands as Vermont Academy’s primary playmaker on Saturday, drawing help off the dribble and making sound decisions to locate open teammates for high-percentage looks. When under control, the 6’1” lead guard has a sharp handle and creative vision that allows him to make positive plays attacking the basket and, with athletes like Dixon-Green and McNeil running alongside him in the open floor, he’s a formidable catalyst for a group that loves to get out and run in transition off turnovers.
Marco Banegas (Brimmer & May)- An aggressive scorer at the lead guard position, Banegas constantly forced the issue on Saturday with a variety of pull-ups from behind the arc and aggressive drives to the basket. Finishing with a team-high 20 points, his ability to hit form the perimeter forces defenders to chase him over top of high ball-screens, allowing him to turn the corner with a sudden change-of-pace and create offense in the paint.
Zach Chionuma (Marianapolis)- The Boston University-bound lead guard was difficult to handle on Saturday against Avon, mixing in a series of explosive drives to the basket with a smooth stroke from three en route to a game-high 18 points. A confident player with a developing feel, Chionuma consistently looks to push the pace in transition with his dynamic end-to-end speed and uses his tremendous size and length to elevate on a dime and score the ball through contact.
Alex Murphy (St. Mark’s)- The 6’9”, ultra-athletic forward was relentless running the floor in the first half against Master’s on Saturday, giving the ball up early off defensive rebounds to get it back on the other end for easy scores in transition. With tremendous feel and superior ball-skills that allow him to facilitate from a point-forward role in the open floor, Murphy (team-high 15 points) has a unique ability to dominate a game with a complete blend of lock-down defending, polished playmaking, and efficient scoring.
Kaleb Tarczewski (St. Mark’s)- Finishing everything in the paint with powerful, two-handed flushes through contact, Tarczewski (13 points) was most impressive on Saturday as an effective passer out of double-teams on the low-block, recognizing help early and finding open shooters on the weak side with crisp precision. Dominant in stretches on both ends of the floor, the consensus top-five center in the class of 2012 is a unique prospect who appears to get better every time out and will continue to improve as he realizes the full realm of his natural physical ability.
Eric Green (St. Mark’s)- A superb athlete with quick burst off the bounce and explosive leaping ability, Green showcased a pure mid-range pull-up on Saturday against Master’s that he converted on several occasions in late shot-clock situations. In the most impressive individual play of the day, he caught the ball off reversal on the right wing, attacked middle, and elevated off one hard bounce for an emphatic, two-hand dunk off two-feet.
Nerlens Noel & Wayne Selden (Tilton)- Tilton’s dominate inside-outside tandem was just that in its team’s blow-out victory over Boston Trinity on Saturday, causing havoc defensively and scoring at will in the first half en route to a 52-18 lead at the break. An elite athlete at 6’11”, Noel (game-high 18 points) is as prolific a shot-blocker as there is in the country and, with his defensive presence often times igniting the Tilton fast break, Selden (13 points) is more than capable of finishing the deal with his explosive athleticism in the open floor.
Kyle Callanan (Cushing)- A crafty playmaker off the dribble, the 6’3” lead guard was on fire from the perimeter on Saturday, drilling five, catch-and-shoot threes with a pure left-handed stroke from well behind the arc. While he lacks elite, blow-by burst, Callanan (21 points) uses his tremendous size and vision to thread-the-needle to open teammates for easy scores and remains tactfully aggressive as a passer without forcing the issue.
James Kennedy (Cushing)- An imposing physical presence on the interior at 6’6”, Christian Heritage had no answer for Kennedy’s supreme brand of athleticism on Saturday, as the Boston-University bound forward caught and scored in traffic and relentlessly attacked the offensive glass for second chance points. A skilled passer with solid perimeter skills, he has the potential to be a versatile scorer in the America East if he continues to polish his face-up game and work on his consistency shooting the basketball out to the arc.
Aaron Bartley (Christian Heritage)- Bartley was extremely aggressive attacking the basket against Cushing on Saturday, using his athleticism and length to get into the paint and score off balanced mid-range pull-ups. The 6’1” combo-guard fought until the final buzzer to keep his team in the game against a more-talented Cushing squad, using his quickness to force turnovers on the defensive end and get out in the open floor for a series of acrobatic finishes in transition.
Michael Carter-Williams (St. Andrew’s)- The Syracuse-bound guard was in a fluid rhythm offensively in the first half against Winchendon on Saturday, dazzling the home crowd with a series of NBA-range threes and off-balance pull-ups off the dribble. With tremendous length at 6’5”, Carter-Williams consistently fights through contact to knife his way into the lane with a variety of smooth crossover moves and, while he may be the purest perimeter scorer in all of New England, his ability to draw help and locate open teammates for high-percentage looks is what makes him a truly special offensive talent.
Aboubacar Casse (St. Andrew’s)- An explosive athlete at 6’5”, Casse showcased a smooth stroke from the perimeter against Winchendon on Saturday, converting on back-to-back threes in the game’s opening minutes to ignite a furious Saints scoring run that would culminate with a double-digit halftime lead. A consistent presence on the offensive glass using his superior length and quick leaping ability to create second chance offense, he demonstrated a steadily-progressing offensive skill-set that will make him an extremely tough cover at the next level.
Xavier Pollard (Winchendon)- Finishing with a team-high 14 points in Winchendon’s loss to St. Andrews on Sunday, Pollard used his strength and quickness on the defensive end to create multiple run-out opportunities off turnovers in the second half. A physical on-ball defender who gets chin-to-chest with opposing ball-handlers, the 6’1” guard made Carter-Williams work for everything he got on the offensive end, showing terrific commitment to making the Syracuse-commit expend a great deal of energy in creating his own shot off the bounce. While he shows solid technique on his perimeter jumper, becoming a more consistent threat from the behind the arc will only increase Pollard’s effectiveness as a versatile scorer in half-court situations.
James Cambronne (Winchendon)- The focal interior presence for a guard-laden Winchendon team, the 6’6” forward showed off his trademark athleticism around the basket against St. Andrew’s on Saturday, rebounding the ball in and out of his area on both ends and elevating quickly in traffic to finish at the rim. Cambronne (13 points) also featured a smooth jump-hook over his left shoulder in post isolation situations, as he continues to add to his offensive skill set and develop into a handful to guard for defenders unable to match his unique blend of quickness and physicality.
Avon Old Farms (CT) 65 Marianapolis (CT) 78
Vermont Academy (VT) 75 Brimmer & May (MA) 61
Tilton (NH) 77 Boston Trinity (MA) 35
Master’s (CT) 43 St. Mark’s School (MA) 55
Proctor Academy (NH) 42 Lawrence Academy (MA) 62
Cushing Academy (MA) 76 Christian Heritage School (CT) 65
St. Andrew’s School (RI) 71 Winchendon School (MA) 46