In the Saturday night championship game Hargrave Military Academy defeated their in-state arch rivals, Fork Union Military Academy, 83-64; while New Hampton School rallied from a first half deficit to whip Bridgton Academy, 72-59, for third place.
The championship game of the 2004 Fork Union Invitational Tournament in Fork Union, Va., on December 11, was the anticipated annual matchup of two well-coached, highly structured, undefeated (both were 11-0), intense rivals, state of Virginia military prep schools, Chatham Hargrave Military Academy, going against "host," Fork Union Military Academy.
With the polished military uniform-clad Fork Union corps of cadets marching in to fill the stands, the event had the atmosphere of a mini-West Point setting. And, the Fork Union cadets were most ardent and exceptionally vocal in support of their veteran coach Fletcher Arritt's team against hated opponents, Hargrave Military Academy, located some 115 miles to the southwest near Danville, Va.
In the hard-fought first half, Fork Union, despite going without, perhaps, their best player, Air Force signee, 6-foot-7 forward Mason Woolridge, had a 38-36 advantage. However, at the 14:07 mark in the second half leading 52-45, Hargrave began to pull away, and Fork Union was never able to challenge again.
Led by the playmaking, floor leadership, and scoring of St. Louis U. signee, 6-foot-5 one/two guard Tommie Liddell, with 19 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals; and the dominating inside performance of future Pittsburgh player, 6-foot-7 power forward Sam Young, with 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks, Coach Kevin Keatts' Hargrave Military Academy cruised to a 83-64 triumph.
Richmond recruit, sharpshooting 6-foot-6 second guard A.D. Vassallo added 13 points and 6 rebounds; and ace defender, unsigned 6-foot-5 combo guard Bilal Benn, had 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Highly rated Maryland signee, 6-foot-7 wing forward Shane Clark, was not impressive in this tournament. He did not start in the championship game, and his stats line read 8 points on 3-9 shooting, 3 rebounds, and 4 turnovers.
The leaders for Fork Union were 6-foot-6, 190-pound Mantoris Robinson, a Charlotte, N.C. resident, with 11 points, 6 rebounds; 6-foot-5 second guard Michael Ellis, from Statesville, N.C., also with 11 points; and 6-foot-5 wing forward, Julian Sullinger, of Columbus, Ohio, with 8 points, 7 rebounds.
In the all-New England battle for third place, Coach Jamie Arsenault's New Hampton, N.H., School pulled away from North Bridgton, Maine, Bridgton Academy, 72-59.
New Hampton was led by sensational junior, Cameroon resident, 6-foot-5, 215-pound wing forward Radar Onguetou, with 18 points and 12 rebounds. 5-foot-11 point guard Jack Barrett had 14 points, 5 assists; and another junior from Cameroon, athletic 6-foot-6 wing forward Menghe Nyam, added 11 points, 6 rebounds.
The leaders for Coach Whit Lesure'sBridgton Academy team were 6-foot-7 power/wing forward Bernard Rimmer, (likely headed to Mississippi State), with 15 points, 8 rebounds; George Washington signee, 6-foot-7 guard/forward Montrell McDonald, with 10 points; and Huntsville, Ala., resident, 6-foot-3 second guard Courtney Beasley with 9 points.
New Hampton's season record is now 4-3; while Bridgton Academy's two losses drop their record to 6-4.
In the Friday night FUMA Invitational opening round, Hargrave Military Academy whipped New Hampton 93-68. A.D. Vassallo led the victors with 21 points; and Sam Young had 19 points, 12 rebounds. Quick-leaper Radar Onguetou poured in 32 points, and Oregon State signee, 6-foot-9 center Calvin Hampton had 10 points for New Hampton.
In the Friday nightcap, Fork Union zoomed to a 33-point lead with 15:00 left in the game; then, barely survived an amazing comeback resulting from a ferocious fullcourt press by Bridgton Academy, to win 101-92. With just under a minute left Fork Union's lead had been cut to 96-92.
The scoring leaders for Fork Union were Julian Sullinger with 25 points; Mantoris Robinson with 18 points; and 5-foot-11 point guard Kyle Savely with 11 points.
For Bridgton Academy Montrell McDonald, and "court warrior" 6-foot-5 forward Derick Nelson, from Lansing, Mich., both had 15 points; Courtney Beasley had 14 points; and Bernard Rimmer contributed 13 points.
The FUMA Invitational is one of the nation's oldest, and most competitive prep school tournaments. And, for a four-team event there were a large number of still available Division I prospects participating.