January 17, 2005

Fabulous finishes at the West Virginia Showcase

Rivals.com was in Shepherdstown, W.V. on Friday evening for the second annual West Virginia Showcase featuring some of the best high school game action we've seen this season. Tournament executive director Buck Hoffmaster must be commended on the outstanding matchups that he put together for this event, and the top-notch talent in attendance, including Rivals.com's #1 rated senior Gerald Green.

Situated in the far eastern tip of the State of West Virginia, Shepherd College provided a superb setting for the Showcase, with excellent facilities in a picturesque college town. The stands were packed for most of the evening, and the fans were treated to four very competitive games.

Arlington Country Day 63
Towson Catholic 59 (2-OT)

The first game of the West Virginia Showcase went down to the wire and then some, as Arlington Country Day School (FL) needed two overtimes to put away a young, but talented Towson Catholic (MD) squad.

Towson came out smoking behind the deadly shooting of 6-foot-3 sophomore guard Malcolm Delaney, and took a 17-9 lead after the first quarter. Delaney continued to have the hot hand in the second quarter, and Towson's 2-3 zone defense was very effective against ACDS's front line of 7-foot-3 junior Jason Bennett and 6-foot-6 Sammy Hernandez. However, slick junior point guard Josue Soto kept the Apaches in the game and they trailed by just 7 at the break 26-19.

In the second half the Apaches switched Soto onto Delaney, and he did an excellent job denying the sophomore room to operate, as Arlington Country Day slowly whittled away at Towson's lead. The Apaches finally took their first lead with under a minute to play in the game when a Soto drive and finish made it 39-38, but it was short-lived as Delaney answered at the other end with a tough pull-up jumper. As Soto raced the ball up the floor on the ensuing possession he was fouled with 4.7 seconds remaining. He made 1 of 2 to send the game into overtime.

Unsiged senior point guard Carroll Mitchell was the main man for Towson Catholic in the first overtime as he nailed a 3 and had a nice drive and finish. However, a 3 by 6-foot-5 senior G/F Brian Hoff tied the game at 45 and that's how the first overtime ended. In the second overtime, the Apaches sensed a weakening of Towson's zone and made a big effort to take the ball to the hoop, and it paid off. Jason Bennett had two baseline jams where he got fouled and converted the free throws, and layups by Hoff and Hernandez were more than enough to put the game away for the Apaches 63-59.

Soto led ACDS with 24 points and 3 assists on 7-14 shooting, including 3-6 from 3-pt. Hoff added 12 points, Hernandez had 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Bennett added 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks in the win.

Delaney finished with 25 points on 9-20 shooting, 5-14 from 3-pt. Mitchell added 13 points and 3 assists, and promising 6-foot-8 sophomore PF Donte Green had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Owls.

Dudley 66
Montrose Christian 64

Undefeated Dudley HS (NC) took the lead early behind the dominant play of 6-foot-7 Wake Forest-bound senior Kevin Swinton and 6-foot-6 junior William Graves and hung on to hand powerful Montrose Christian School (MD) just their second defeat of the season 66-64.

Swinton was nearly unstopable in the paint as he tossed-in 15 first half points and staked the Cougars a 33-25 lead at the break. Graves was an efficient 4-5 from the field and 2-2 from 3-pt. for Dudley. Superb junior combo-guard Grelvas Vasquez kept Montrose in the game with his aggressive play as star 6-foot-9 C/F Uche Echefu battled foul trouble.

Montrose made a big run in the third quarter, briefly taking the lead as Vasquez continued to dominate with his scoring and passing, and when Swinton picked up his 4th foul with 3:45 left in the quarter, it looked bleak for the Cougars. However, 6-foot-5 junior Robert Johnson and 6-foot senior Barry Ferrell picked up the slack and Dudley retook the lead 43-39 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth Montrose fell behind as Swinton re-entered the game and Echefu fouled out at the 6:30 mark. However, Vasquez and 6-foot-3 sophomore guard Adrian Bowie led another charge late and Montrose was within striking distance with under a minute to play. But Dudley was terrific from the free throw line down the stretch and they held on for the win.

Swinton led the way for the Cougars with 21 points and 9 rebounds on 8-16 shooting. Graves had 19 points, and went 9-12 from the line in the last 1:30 of the game. Robert Johnson and Barry Ferrell each had 9 points for Dudley.

Vasquez led Montrose with 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. Bowie added 15 points and 2 assists and KJ Matsui had 10 points and 6 rebounds in the loss. Echefu had just 4 points and 4 rebounds before fouling out, and looked sluggish as he played through flu-like symptoms.

Martinsburg 62
Miller School 53

Diminutive 5-foot-8 sophomore guard Q'Monte Matheny exploded for 27 points to lead Martinsburg HS (WV) to a 62-53 upset victory over Miller School (VA) in the third game of the West Virginia Showcase.

With the game tied at 27 at the half, Matheny and 6-foot-3 junior Andre Hornes dominated the third quarter for Martinsburg with pressure defense and an effective inside/outside game, and the Bulldogs cruised to a 9 point win.

Matheny finished 8-14 from the field, 3-6 from 3-pt., and a perfect 8-8 from the line. Hornes had 10 points and 8 rebounds, and 6-1 senior football prospect Nate Sowers added 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists.

6-foot-6 junior forward Edinas Ruzgas flashed his smooth three point stroke on his way to 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Devils. 6-foot-1 senior Laraj Thomas added 14 points, and promising 6-foot-8 sophomore Bryant Wallace had 7 points and 6 rebounds off the bench.

Gulf Shores Academy 90
Blue Ridge School 89

The nightcap on Friday was the day's best game as Gulf Shores Academy (TX) led by Rivals.com's #1 rated senior 6-foot-8 G/F Gerald Green outlasted Blue Ridge School (VA) 90-89 in double overtime.

Green showed the near capacity crowd early on that his lofty ranking was well earned as he drained a couple of long three balls and finshed a wicked jam in traffic. However, the Barons from Blue Ridge School demonstrated time and time again that they were a team to be reckoned with as they trailed by just two at the half despite Green's 20 point outburst. 6-foot-1 power guard Trey Mines proved difficult for the Tigers to guard as he had 13 at the break.

Green continued his torrid scoring pace in the second half as the Tigers added to their lead in the third quarter, and several times seemed poised to put the game away, but Blue Ridge wouldn't go quietly. The Barons fought their way back into the game, and 6-foot-3 Virginia bound junior Stephen Kendall, who'd been held in check for most of the contest, buried a three to tie the game at 72 with just 5 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.

Green and 6-foot-1 PG Jovan Adams did all of the scoring for Gulf Shores Academy in the first overtime with Green hitting a three and Adams sinking 3-4 free-throw attempts, but Blue Ridge answered with layups from Kendall and Mines, and 2 free throws from Virginia signee 6-foot-8 Laurynas Mikalauskas. Up 2 and with possession with under 45 seconds to play, Gulf Shores committed a critical turnover giving Blue Ridge new life. A Mikalauskas tip-in tied the game with 12 seconds to play and we headed to a second overtime.

In the second overtime, Gulf Shores' strategy was to let 6-foot-7 240 pound Anthony Vereen go one on one with Mikalauskas from the top of the key area, and this proved to be very effective for the Tigers. Vereen scored 6 points on three layups in the second OT to lead Gulf Shores to the win.

Green finished with 45 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks for Gulf Shores. He shot 14-32 from the field, 8-18 from 3-pt., and 9-11 from the line. Vereen added 16 points and 10 rebounds, and 6-foot-8 senior forward Trammond Johnson had 14 points and 8 rebounds. UNLV signee Jovan Adams struggled with perhaps the worst game we've seen him play, as he shot just 1-15 from the field and 1-12 from 3-pt. to finish with 6 points and 2 assists.

Mikalauskas had 28 points and 14 rebounds to lead Blue Ridge School. He shot 11-18 from the field and 6-10 from the line. Kendall finished with 20 points and 7 rebounds, Mines had 22 points, and 6-foot-2 junior Tony Lewis added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Barons.

Scores from Saturday's Games
St. John's College (DC) 65
Miller School (VA) 47

Capital (WV) 91
Martinsburg (WV) 67

Arlington Country Day (FL) 53
Gulf Shores Academy (TX) 52

Blue Ridge School (VA) 86
Dudley (NC) 74





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