TRENTON, N.J. -- Although it was fashionable to build up Sunday's Oak Hill/St. Vincent-St. Mary matchup as a battle between Warriors' senior scoring machine Carmelo Anthony and ultra gifted Fighting Irish junior guard LeBron James, the outcome of the game came down to the supporting casts.
And in the end, Anthony had a little more help on Sunday as Oak Hill claimed a 72-66 victory over St. Vincent/St. Mary at the Prime Time Shootout.
Anthony finished with 34 points and James (pictured right) hit for 36, but Oak Hill's overall talent in the starting lineup and the Irish's shooting woes were the biggest factors in the end result.
Oak Hill grabbed a 52-37 lead late in the third quarter on an Anthony slam, which capped an 18-9 surge that began the second half.
The Fighting Irish jumped right back into the game with a quick 14-2 burst, capped by a circus finish by James, to slice the deficit to 54-51 with 5:46 to play.
That's when Anthony took over, scoring 11 of the Warriors next 13 points to give Oak Hill a 67-59 advantage with 1:55 left in the game.
A James' three pointer with :39 to play drew St. Vincent-St. Mary to within 69-64, and the Fighting Irish had an absolutely golden opportunity to get even closer when the Warriors' Justin Gray turned the ball over moments later.
But guard Dru Joyce misfired on a three pointer and Sekou Lewis narrowly missed a tap in around the basket with just under 30 seconds to play.
Oak Hill then canned three of six free throws in the final 27.2 seconds to put the game out of reach.
In addition to Anthony's excellent performance, Oak Hill got strong contributions from 6-10 Sani Ibrahim (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Chadd Moore (10 points, five assists).
"We knew the talent that we had around Carmelo was better than what they had around LeBron," Oak Hill Head Coach Steve Smith said. "Sani played big, he rebounded and scored."
"Justin Gray played a solid floor game, and Chadd Moore as well," Smith continued. "I did not want Carmelo to feel like he had to get into a one on one game with LeBron, but he scored more than he usually does for us and played outstanding."
To go along with his 36 points, James also collected 10 rebounds, five assists and an impressive recovery block that had the crowd at Sovereign Bank Arena buzzing.
Lewis added nine points and junior forward Romeo Travis tossed in eight points for the Fighting Irish, who posted only James in the double figures column in scoring.
It was a far cry from St. Vincent-St. Mary's performance at the Slam Dunk to the Beach in late December, where several players stepped up with fine performances for the Irish.
"They got easier looks than we did -- looks inside the paint and inside the three point line," said SVSM Head Coach James Dru Joyce. "We needed somebody to step up and help LeBron, but nobody stepped up and had that kind of breakout game that we had last year from other guys, and that was a big part of the difference."
Last year, Oak Hill defeated St. Vincent-St. Mary by a point at an event in Columbus, Ohio.
While Coach Joyce was disappointed with the loss on Sunday (just the second of the season for SVSM), he feels it can be a building block for the rest of the season.
"Our kids are going to bounce back, and we are going to win a lot more games," he said. "This is not by any means the end, and we have a state championship that we want to win and it's going to be a difficult task."