Friday morning SYF Players will face the Houston Hoops and the Friends of Hoop will square off against Boo Williams in the semifinals of the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., as all four pool winners advanced. Taking over the enforcer role in the paint for Duke Crews, Vernon Macklin led Boo Williams to a hard fought 64-54 win over the Illinois Warriors.
Boo Williams 64, Illinois Warriors 54
It was a back and forth game between the two teams until Boo Williams broke away in the final two minutes of the game. Macklin pulled a rebound away from a Warrior and got an easy put back. Chris Wright broke free for two lay-ups, and Duke Crews broke across the lane for a left handed tip in when Vernon Macklin missed the second attempt of a one and one.
Boo Williams threw as many as four different defenders at Jon Scheyer, but Eric Hayes was the stingiest of them all. Hayes ran the point for most of the game as well and did an excellent job of passing the ball up the court and getting into the lane with penetration. He also knocked down a couple timely three-pointers when Boo Williams was struggling to score.
Macklin, who had a game high 20 points and 6 rebounds, played an inspired game on both ends of the court. He blocked shots and controlled the defensive glass. Offensively, he scored on both post moves and put backs while also making his free throws.
Crews had a game high 7 rebounds, while Hayes finished with 14 points, Crews with 11 points and Scottie Reynolds with 10 points on drives to the basket.
For the gritty Illinois Warriors, 2007 prospect Bill Cole did an admirable job battling Crews and Macklin in the paint, whole Manual Cass led the Warriors in scoring with 13 points.
Role players Cole Holmstrom and Jeff Ryan knocked down a number of clutch shots in the second half to keep the undermanned Warriors in the game. Holmstrom, 5-foot-10, not only hit from the outside but also drove the lane and finished both a right handed and left handed jump hook.
2007 prospect Aaron Johnson, 5-foot-7, handled the point guard duties for the Warriors with the absence of Sherron Collins. Johnson repeatedly got into the lane, setting up the Warriors with shots.
Friends of Hoop 61, Arkansas Wings 56
Playing on the next court, the Friends of Hoop came back from an 11 point deficit with 7 minutes left in the game to capture the victory.
Spencer Hawes had a game high 14 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. 2007 prospect Jamelle McMillian added 10 points and 7 rebounds.
Michael Washington scored 7 points and grabbed 9 rebounds for the Arkansas Wings.
SYF Players 56, Murfreesboro Stars 51
Behind 16 points and 5 rebounds from Jamil Tucker, SYF came back from 7 points down early in the second half to defeat the Stars. Tyrone Appleton, whose shot looks better every tournament, added 11 points and 5 rebounds.
Brandan Wright finished off a stellar event with 20 points and 7 rebounds. Shooting guard Joshua Bone scored 18 points for the Murfreesboro Stars.
Houston Hoops 83, Louisiana Select 75
Nic Wise led the way for the Hoops, pouring in 31 points. 2007 prospect Gary Johnson added 14 points, and Mike Singletary had a team high 7 rebounds.
2007 prospect Leonard Washington poured in 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Louisiana Select. Demond Carter topped off a terrific event with 20 points in the loss.
Vernon Macklin, who will play at Hargrave Academy next year, is still open but has a top three of North Carolina, Wake Forest and Georgetown. All three schools have offered according to Macklin.
Bill Cole has an offer from Illinois and is also hearing from Michigan State, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Notre Dame and Syracuse.
Isaiah Thomas said Indiana, Kentucky, UCLA, Florida and Washington are recruiting him the hardest. Having liked Indiana all of his life because of his namesake, the Hoosiers are a slight leader.