National Prep Showcase - Day 2 Recap
With a large and energetic crowd packing the Lowell gymnasium today, the stars all came out as players like Devin Ebanks, Tyreke Evans, and Isaiah Thomas shined. But Saturday was also an opportunity for some under the radar recruits to make a name for themselves in front of the 87 division I coaches in attendance. Northfield Mount Hermon’s Simon McCormack was one of those such players.
Maine Central Academy 67 Massanutten Military Academy 61
After opening up a 14 point lead midway through the second half, MCI went through a six minute dry spell to let Massanutten back into the game. With two minutes left in the contest the MCI lead had been trimmed to 60-58. But Svetoslav Chetinov came up with two big plays on the defensive end, blocking what would have been an easy lay-in and coming up with a big rebound on the following possession.
With 30 seconds left in the game the score was still 60-58 until Joseph Orukotan came up with a steal and tossed ahead a pass to Van Dellenbeck-Ouellette who scored on a driving lay-up plus the foul to earn an old fashioned three-point play that broke Massanutten’s back. MCI would convert 3 of 4 free-throws in the game’s final seconds to secure the victory.
Orukotan led the way for MCI with 19 points while Marcus Matthews attacked the rim at will and got himself to the free-throw line where he converted all ten of his attempts to finish with 18 points of his own.
Hargrave Military Academy 102 Notre Dame Prep 99
Hargrave defended their #1 ranking with a hard fought victory over the defending national champions. Kimmie English led the way for Notre Dame Prep as he scored in every way possible to finish with 30 points. Johnny Higgins also stepped up as he attacked the rim and pulled up in the mid-range for 22 points and 9 assists. Hargrave was led by the three headed monster of Dee Bost, Daier Pitts, and Chris Braswell who finished with 28, 27, and 24 respectively.
Both teams put forth an outstanding effort as all 40 minutes were played at a very high level. This won’t likely be the last time these two teams meet as both are favorites to advance to the National Prep Championship.
St. Thomas More 85 Lee Academy 70
Yesterday we told you that Devin Ebanks was the lone bright spot from St. Thomas More as his teammates were standing around and watching him play. Today, T.J. Robinson stepped up and provided the second dominant player that STM will need to be successful. Robinson scored 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, including 7 on the offensive end, as he controlled the interior throughout the game. Ebanks put in an “average” game by his standards scoring 25 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and handing out 5 assists, as he continued to show why he may be more important to his team than any other player in prep school basketball. The Indiana commit brought the Lowell crowd to their feet when he caught an alley-oop pass from Eric Waterford and threw down a reverse dunk in one motion. Later in the game Zack Kinsley brought another highlight reel dunk when he cut down the middle of the floor on the STM press breaker and threw down a one-handed slam over an incoming defender.
While no one player had a dominant stat line for Lee Academy, Brandon Tomah was impressive to those who paid close attention. The Maine native made excellent decisions with the ball, played hard defense, and showed a nice shooting touch from behind the three-point line.
Brewster Academy 100 Fork Union Military Academy 84
Brewster Academy controlled play throughout as they maintained their double digit lead consistently for the entire 40 minute contest. Trey Blue was the most efficient player on the floor, especially in the first half when he scored 20 of his game high 27 points while showing his sweet shooting touch from long range. The second half belonged to BYU commit Charles Abouo who finished the game with 21 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the floor, along with 9 rebounds.
While Blue and Abouo were Brewster’s most productive players, it was Xavier bound point guard Mark Lyons who was the most entertaining. In the first half the undersized guard took off to throw down a tomahawk jam literally on top of a Fork Union defender. In the second half he again showed his athleticism by leaping off the ground for a two handed tip-in dunk that brought the crowd to their feet. If that weren’t enough “Cheeks” was showing his full repertoire of street dribble moves and no look passes throughout the game as well.
American Christian 89 Winchendon School 85
It was the Tyreke Evans show early as the player that many refer to as the nation’s best scored 16 quick points to open play. His game already appears tailor made for the NBA with his quick first step and fade-away pull-ups. But the superstar was held scoreless after the ten minute mark of the first half as the undersized Jansy Cruz did a terrific job of denying him the ball.
But Evans wasn’t to be denied in the second as he came up with some big buckets down the stretch, including 5 consecutive points after Winchendon tied the game at the 2 minute mark, to secure the victory for his team.
Larry Anderson again shined for Winchendon as he was relentless attacking the rim off the dribble as well as crashing the offensive glass, finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Ozan Dilik provided a spark off the bench with 10 first half points as he showed the high I.Q. and skill level to be a top level prospect. John Hegarty also did a great job down the stretch as he pulled down two offensive rebounds that resulted in five second chance points in the game’s final minutes to keep his team close.
Northfield Mount Hermon 74 Champlain St. Lambert 61
Simon McCormack continues to show why he is one of the most underestimated point guards in the class of 2008 as he was fantastic running the team. Not only did he play with great composure while handling the point guard spot for the first time, but he passed the ball extremely well finding cutters and three-point shooters with equal consistency. If that weren’t enough he also showed the ability to create his own shot with great proficiency, as he slashed his way to the rim, finished against contact with both hands, and pulled up for the mid-range jumper with consistency. McCormack finished with 14 points on 7 of 10 shooting from the floor, handed out 6 assists (would have been much higher if his team was making more shots) against only 2 turnovers, and grabbed 7 rebounds.
Also impressive for NMH was Dartmouth bound swingman David Rufful who made 4 of his 6 attempts from downtown and finished with a team high 18 points. Andrew Van Nest didn’t shoot the ball like he is capable of, but made up for it by rebounding well and blocking 6 shots. The win was the first for John Carroll as Northfield Mount Hermon’s head coach.
Patterson 84 New Hampton 60
After a back and forth first half Patterson was able to pull away early in the second. The nation’s second ranked team relied on a balanced scoring attack to build up their lead. New Hampton swingman Twany Beckham did his best to lead a comeback attempt, but ultimately he and his team fell short. Beckham impressed with his versatility as he knocked down open three-pointers and scored on smaller defenders by going to the low post. Orion Outerbridge also showed some flashes as he scored 17 points on 4 of 6 shooting in just 17 minutes of action.
Bridgton Academy 74 Summit Prep 66
Bridgton Academy built up the lead to as many as 24 early in the second half only to see it cut to 6 with two minutes to play. Ultimately, however the Wolverines were able to get some key defensive stops down the stretch to solidify the victory.
Cardell McFarland led all scorers with 17 points as he used his body to carve out paths to the rim. Isiah Wallace continued to be a zone buster from the high post with his quick released jumper. He finished with 11 points and 6 rebounds. Elliott Jones Jr. was close to earning a double-double as he finished with 9 points and 9 rebounds.
Findlay College Prep 93 South Kent 67
South Kent put together a solid defensive effort in the first half holding the powerful Findlay offense to only 30 points. Isaiah Thomas scored 16 of his team’s 35 points in the opening period as he attacked the rim in the open floor and kept the defense honest by dishing off to open teammates on occasion.
But that defense didn’t continue to open up the second as Findlay topped their first half production ten minutes in to the second to take a 62-51 lead. With none of his teammates able to get into any type of offensive rhythm, Thomas was forced to try to make too many plays which resulted in turnovers. Ultimately Findlay, behind the likes of Clarence Trent and Deividas Dulkys, were able to pull away from their Connecticut challengers.