In a hard fought battle between two bitter rival Virginia-based military prep schools, Hargrave Military Academy defeated Fork Union Military Academy 94-83 in overtime in the championship game of the First Piedmont Invitational Tournament Saturday afternoon in Chatham, Va. St. Louis U. signee, Tommie Liddell led Hargrave with 26 points. For more details click to Rivals.com Ultimate Ticket.
In an intense struggle between two arch-rivals with identical 27-1 records this season, it all came down to a last second shot that missed, and then a tip-in that seemed to balance on the rim for an eternity before falling off, that could have given Coach Fletcher Arritt's relentless Fork Union Blue Devils the win they wanted so badly, but could not get.
With the score tied at 76-76 and 14.4 seconds on the clock, Fork Union called successive timeouts to set up a play for the winning basket. FUMA's stellar point guard, unsigned 5-foot-11 Kyle Savely, from Floyds Knob, Ind., got the ball inside to leading scorer, unsigned 6-foot-5, 215-pound forward Julian Sullinger of Columbus, Ohio. However, Sullinger, who made 10-14 field goals during the game, missed this one from close range; and teammate, unsigned 6-foot-6, 190-pound forward Mantoris Robinson, of Charlotte, N.C., leaped above the crowd for a tip that almost went in, but just rolled off the rim as the horn sounded.That is how close Fork Union came to victory. Instead, the game went into overtime.
During the overtime period Hargrave outscored Fork Union 18 to 7 to win their second consecutive First Piedmont Invitational Championship 94-83; and more importantly, to sweep both games this season against Fork Union. Hargrave Military defeated FUMA 83-64 in the championship game of the Fork Union Invitational Tournament last December.
A key advantage for Hargrave in the championship game on Saturday was the wide disparity in fouls called. Hargrave made an incredible 48 of 65 free throw attempts, while Fork Union made 14 of 21 free throws. Obviously, that was the difference in the game.
Not to take anything away from Hargrave coach Kevin Keatts, and his players, because they "refused to lose," and prevailed in this very competitive, physical contest.
6-foot-5 point guard Tommie Liddell led Hargrave with 26 points (8-14 FG, 10-15 FT); Richmond recruit, 6-foot-6 guard/forward A.D. Vassallo had 25 points (5-11 FG, 14-15 FT), 9 rebounds, and 5 assists; Maryland-bound, 6-foot-7 wing forward Shane Clark, contributed 18 points (5-9 FG, 7-8 FT), and 8 rebounds; and Pittsburgh signee, 6-foot-7 forward Sam Young had 10 points, 10 rebounds.
Fork Union was led by Julian Sullinger with 23 points, 12 rebounds; Air Force Academy recruit, 6-foot-7 forward Mason Wooldridge with 15 points; cerebral floor leader, Kyle Savely with 12 points, and 10 assists; competitive Chattanooga, Tenn., native, 6-foot-6 forward Jon Cook with 11 points; and Mantoris Robinson with 10 points, and 8 rebounds. Incidentally, all of the aforementioned FUMA players fouled out.
In the Third Place game Virginia Beach, Va., Coastal Christian Academy defeated Woodstock, Va., Massanutten Military Academy 69-63.
Coach Walter Webb's Coastal Christian team was led by talented Georgia recruit, 6-foot-7 forward Terrance Woodbury with 19 points, and 14 rebounds. Unsigned 6-foot-4 second guard Brandon Smalls of Charleston, S.C., had 18 points; and unsigned 5-foot-9 point guard Lloyd Phillips of Washington, D.C., had 13 points, and 6 assists.
Missouri signee, 6-foot-9 Leo Criswell scored 5 points, before being sent to the locker room early in the second half for alledged "disciplinary reasons."
The top performers for Coach Bruce Kreutzer's Massanutten Military Academy team were unsigned 6-foot-8 Xavier Kilby, a resident of Phoeniz, Ariz., with 21 points, and 12 rebounds; unsigned 6-foot-5 guard/forward Tre' Cunningham of Greenville, S.C., with 19 points; and unsigned 6-foot-7 forward Tyler Benson of Morgantown, W.Va., with 15 points, all coming in the first half.
In opening round action on Friday night, both game were "blowouts." Fork Union Military Academy trounced Coastal Christian Academy 74-42. Julian Sullinger again led the FUMA attack with 15 points. Terrance Woodbury was the scoring leader for Coastal Christian with 14 points.
With A.D. Vassallo and Shane Clark each scoring 18 points, and 6-foot-4 wing guard Jason Flagler adding 13 points, Hargrave Military Academy rolled over Massanutten Military Academy 108-56. Tre' Cunningham led the losers with 11 points.