The 2004 Marshall County Hoop Fest was a truly outstanding event, and seemed to have a bit of everything, including a shocking come-from-behind upset of last year’s mythical high school national champions, Mouth of Wilson, Va., Oak Hill Academy. Homewood-Flossmoor High School from Flossmoor, Ill., led by their All-American Julian Wright, pulled off a major stunner early this morning in the nail-biting final game of the Marshall County Hoop Fest.
After romping off to an early lead, and having a 40-31 haftime advantage, which they extended to 60-49 after three quarters, it appeared that Oak Hill Academy was ready to rack up another routine victory. However, the No. 2 nationally ranked Warriors seemed to lose their offensive efficiency, and went scoreless during the first four minutes of the final period. Highly acclaimed Kansas signee, 6-foot-8 point/forward Julian Wright, eluded defenders for a monster jam to bring Homewood-Flossmoor within one at 60-59 with 3:58 remaining. After an exchange of baskets, H-F’s hard-nosed 6-foot-3 wing guard Freddie Barnes scored on a driving layup, was fouled, and converted the three-point play to give his team a 64-62 lead with just under three minutes left. Future Syracuse player 6-foot-3 second guard Eric Devendorf hit a runner off a great pass from 6-foot-1 junior Tywon Lawson, to put Oak Hill up 66-64 at the 1:45 mark.
H-F’s talented senior point guard 6-foot-2 D.J. Posley slithered inside to tie the score at 66-66 with 1:26 left. Tywon Lawson was fouled, and made one of two free throws to give Oak Hill their last lead at 67-66 with 1:10 on the clock. Then, H-F went into a stalling, ball control offense, until versatile Julian Wright broke to the hoop with 7.3 seconds on the clock, and was fouled. Wright calmly connected on both free throws, putting the gutsy Homewood-Flossmoor team ahead 68-67. This was the final score, since Oak Hill was unable to get off a last shot against H-F’s excellent defensive pressure.
Game MVP Julian Wright led the victorious H-F team with 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. D.J. Posley added 14 points; 6-foot-5 junior guard/forward Andre Walker had 11 points; and Freddie Barnes contributed 9 points.
Junior point guard Twyon Lawson was very impressive for Oak Hill with 21 points and 7 assists; unsigned senior 6-foot-4 Jamont Gordon had 16 points and 8 rebounds; 6-foot-9 junior forward Kevin Durant contributed 12 points and 10 boards; and Eric Devendorf had 11 points.
Kansas head coach Bill Self came to Benton, Ky., after his Jayhawks’ Saturday afternoon 81-70 victory over Pacific. And,Coach Self had to be highly impressed with the stellar play of his top-rated recruit, Julian Wright, in leading his team to this stunning upset.
This win brought Coach Roy Condotti’s Homewood-Flossmoor High season record to 6-0, and will likely elevate them to No. 2 in the next Illinois high school ratings according to Taylor Bell of the Chicago Sun-Times.
This loss ended a 41-game victory streak for Coach Steve Smith’s Oak Hill Academy Warriors. Oak Hill is now 4-1 this season. They play next on December 8, against a talented team from my hometown, Lenoir, N.C., West Caldwell High School, in the Hardee’s Holiday Hoops at Holmes in Boone, N.C., at Appalachian State University’s Holmes Convention Center.
In the hard-fought 9:00 p.m. game, Jacksonville, Fla., Arlington County Day School, overcame the brilliant performance of North Carolina recruit, 6-foot-9 center/forward Tyler Hansbrough, who powered for 35 points, and 12 rebounds, to defeat Poplar Bluff, Mo., High School, 64-56.
Multi-talented, 5-foot-11, 155-pound, “shake ‘n bake,” junior point guard Josue Soto led the victors with 23 points and 8 assists. Florida signee, 6-foot-5 guard/forward David Huertas, had 17 points, included six during the final two minutes “crunch time;” and sharpshooter, 6-foot-5 guard/forward Brian Hoff added 10 points for ACD.
Game MVP Tyler Hansbrough totally dominated ACD’s towering 7-foot-3 junior center Jason Bennett, using his impressive arsenal of drop-step, and low post moves to score at will against a much taller opponent. Arlington Country Day finally resorted to triple-teaming Hansbrough, and did manage to slow down his awesome offensive production.
Coach Roy Williams flew to Kentucky, ironically, after UNC’s Saturday afternoon win over the Kentucky Wildcats in Chapel Hill, N.C., to watch Hansbrough play. Williams had to envision next season with this tenacious, skilled, fierce competitor joining Sean May. and Marvin Williams on what should be an extremely talented and deep future Tar Heels frontline. Coach Williams also stayed for the later Oak Hill-Homewood Flossmoor game, undoubtedly, to observe junior standouts, Kevin Durant and Twyon Lawson of Oak Hill.
In another down-to-the-wire ending, Chicago, Ill., Hales Franciscan High School nipped Belleville, Ill., Althoff Catholic High School, 57-55, in a matchup of Illinois Class A high school powers. Future Purdue Boilermaker, and game MVP, 6-foot-4, 270-pound guard/forward, and Charles Barkley play-a-like, Nate Minnoy had 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists, and was unstoppable with his inside maneuvers.
St. Louis U. signee, 6-foot-3 point guard Kevin Lisch was the top scorer for Althoff with 17 points and 5 assists. A major discovery was quick leaping 6-foot-6, 210-pound sophomore forward Jeremy Felton, who finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Felton appears to have high Division I collegiate potential.
In the 6:00 p.m. contest Carbondale, Ill., High School, led by a highly-talented junior, 6-foot-7, 215-pound Manual Cass, defeated Memphis, Tenn., White Station High School, 62-59. Cass, who literally made his national debut in the Hoop Fest, led Carbonale with 18 points and 10 rebounds to earn game MVP honors. Southern Illinois recruit, 6-foot-4 guard/forward Josh Tabb, also scored 18 points before fouling out.
The leading scorer for White Station H.S. was Arizona signee, 6-foot-7 point guard J.P. Prince with 18 points. Holy Cross recruit, 6-foot-6 wing forward Colin Cunningham added 11 points before he fouled out.
Tall and talented Houston, Texas, Westbury Christian downed Coconut Creek, Fla., North Broward Prep, 67-60, in the 3:00 p.m. game. The game MVP award went to much-improved 6-foot-9, 260-pound center Jeremy Barr, who had 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks for Westbury Christian. The leading scorer was 6-foot-1 second guard Wendell Preadom with 21 points, including 11-19 free throws.
One of Westbury Christians’s top inside players, 6-foot-8 center/forward Obi Ikeakor, suffered a torn ACL in mid-October, and is out for the remainder of his senior season. Ikeakor told Rivals.com that he will likely attend a prep school next year.
The leading scorers for North Broward were skilled 6-foot-5 junior guard Jake Worley with 13 points; and Florida signee, 6-foot-10 center Jimmie Sutton with 12 points, 6 rebounds.
In the 1:30 p.m. game Webster Groves, Mo., High School, led by game MVP 6-foot-4 wing forward Eric Jones with 15 points, held off Coach Lloyd Gardner’s Fairdale, Ky., High School team, 53-48. Louisville football recruit, 6-foot-3 guard/forward Maurice Grinter, led Fairdale with 17 points.
And, in Saturday’s opening boys game at 12:00 noon, Jefferson City, Mo., clobbered Tucson, Ariz., Santa Rita High School, 51-32.
Once again, Marshall County Hoop Fest director Steve Woodward most successfully assembled, organized, and orchestrated one of the finest high school basketball events in America. We enjoyed the games, and the friendly Bluegrass State hospitality, and truly look forward to coming back to Benton next year.