Every seat was filled at Marshall County High School in Benton, Ky., on Friday night for the 17th annual Marshall County Hoopfest, in anticipation of seeing the stars shine.
During the final three games of the evening, all high-profile matchups featuring elite national talent, the crowd was more than pleased.
Many of the fans at Marshall County High on Friday night were dressed in Big Blue apparel, eager to check out Kentucky commits Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison. To say the least, the twins did not disappoint.
Aaron was lights-out from deep in scoring 28 points, while his twin brother Andrew tallied 19 points with six assists. While Aaron was knocking down shots and aggressively attacking the rim, Andrew was playing the flashy role by creating shots for teammates off of the dribble with his crossovers and dump-down passes to teammates for layups.
In a two-point win for their Fort Bend (Texas) Travis squad, the Harrisons displayed real toughness as they were not bothered by the constant heckling of Louisville Ballard fans, and the trash talk and pushing of Ballard players.
The Harrison twins might have been the main attraction on Day 1, but the top player in the country, Andrew Wiggins, was one heck of a sideshow.
Just a couple of short weeks after playing just average in Kentucky at Scott County High, Wiggins was near his best on Friday night against Memphis (Tenn.) East.
The 6-foot-7 wing scored 29 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, blocked five shots and recorded five assists in a 76-59 win against a scrappy opponent.
After starting the game slow, and having to hear a lot of trash talk from Memphis commit Nick King, Wiggins got going in the second half by controlling the boards with his high motor and scoring on dunks in transition.
Wiggins might have gotten an even better ovation from the Kentucky fans upon his exit from the game in the waning moments, as his dunking exhibit won over any spectators who might have had any doubts.
King scored 18 points for Memphis East in the loss, starting the game off hot with three deep 3-pointers and a reverse layup around the rim.
Also benefiting Huntington Prep was the play of 2015 wing Montaque Gill-Caesar who played with great enthusiasm and showed off high-level athleticism in scoring 11 points. Arkansas commit Moses Kingsley was also big for the Express as he tallied 19 points, five rebounds and four blocked shots, including several powerful dunks.
Alex the Great
Chicago Curie's five-star junior power forward Cliff Alexander might have found his team overmatched in a blowout loss to Oak Hill Academy, but Alexander was not going to allow the blame for the loss to fall on him.
Alexander was physically dominant around the rim in scoring 26 points and grabbing 13 boards, while shooting a scorching 12 of 14 from the field. By establishing low-post position with his wide base, and exploding strong to the rim, Alexander was able to finish at will in the lane, usually with power dunks.
After the game Alexander said that Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Arizona and Louisville were the schools that he has heard from the most recently.
Top of the Hill
Playing in front of his future head coach in Indiana's Tom Crean, 2013 top-50 wing Troy Williams was the catalyst for his Oak Hill Academy team in defeating Chicago Curie 72-39. Williams displayed his high-level athleticism and slashing ability as he led his team with 16 points.
One of the most exciting players in the 2013 class, Williams made several plays well above the rim through traffic, bringing the soldout crowd to its feet.
Williams should be an immediate impact player at Indiana because he has a slashing ability that few players in the Big Ten have, as well as length to affect the game on the defensive end of the floor.
Representing home court
One of the most impressive performances on Friday night came from 2014 Louisville (Ky.) Ballard point guard and Louisville commit Quentin Snider, a four-star prospect.
Playing in his home state, Snider was determined to not let his Ballard High squad lose, although they eventually fell 78-76 to Fort Bend (Texas) Travis. Snider finished with 28 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals in the loss, while shooting an efficient 7 of 13 from the field and 11 of 12 from the foul line.
More than anything, Snide showed off some elite competitive drive which separates him from other guards in his class. Even among incessant boos from Kentucky fans, Snider was able to efficiently run the Ballard offense by breaking down his defender off the dribble with spin moves and either pulling up for a jumper or dishing it off.
Snider is the main reason why his Ballard team entered the event as the No. 1 team in the state of Kentucky, and should stay that way throughout the season.
Another player to keep an eye out for on Ballard would be 2014 wing forward Kelan Martin, a powerful and talented prospect who finished with 19 points and eight rebounds in the loss.
(#25 Derrick Rose at the 2005 Marshall County HoopsFest)