LEWES, Del. -- All week long, observers at the Slam Dunk to the Beach have marveled at the dynamic offensive play of 6-9 Rainier Beach senior guard Nate Robinson.
On Saturday afternoon, Robinson dished off a nifty assist in overtime to give the Vikings some breathing room in their 65-62 overtime victory over All Hallows H.S. of New York.
It was an ironic twist in a game in which Robinson was not at his offensive best, but it once again displayed the large shadow his compact frame casts each time he steps between the white lines.
Clinging to a 60-59 lead, Robinson made a nifty three quarter court pass down to a streaking Loderick Stewart, who converted a lay-in that pushed the cushion to three with 14.5 seconds to play.
Stewart's basket forced All Hallows to hoist a three pointer in final seconds, and Ricky Soliver's heave from the top of the key missed the mark with about two seconds left. Rainier Beach corralled the rebound as the clock expired to give the Vikings a third place finish at the Slam Dunk.
The game was a terrific see-saw battle between two evenly matched teams. No more than five points separated the teams in the second half, and it was Soliver's short runner in the lane with :51 remaining that sent the game into the extra session.
Although his squad lost, the game was a bit of personal redemption for Soliver, who finished with 25 points on eight of 16 shooting from the floor and five of 11 from beyond the three point arc.
Soliver had struggled in his previous two games at the Slam Dunk, especially in the Gaels' semifinal round loss to Cedar Hill. Kiril Wachsmann, the 6-7 Iona signee, also turned in a yeoman's effort with 12 points and 18 rebounds.
For the first time at this year's Slam Dunk, someone other than Robinson led Rainier Beach in scoring. Roderick Stewart collected 21 points and 10 rebounds. Robinson added 16 points and three assists, while 6-2 junior David Maddox chipped in with 14 points.
Prior to Robinson's pass to Stewart, it was Maddox who broke a 59-59 deadlock with 32.4 seconds to play by hitting one of two free throws.
*Nate Robinson, the ultra gifted two-sport athlete from Rainier Beach H.S. in Seattle, Wash., told us he has not committed to any school despite published reports.
"I almost committed to Southern Cal," Robinson said. "But I am going to leave my options open right now."
Southern Cal is certainly strong. "I could take a basketball scholarship," Robinson said. "I have to wait two years to play football. With football scholarship, I can play right away. I am going to play both sports."
Robinson has achieved a 950 on the SAT. "Oregon wants me to come visit," Robinson said. "Washington wants me to visit January 11th. But I am not sure yet."
North Carolina and Texas are also being considered.
Last year in Oakland, Robinson did not play basketball and instead competed in football and track. Two years ago at Rainier Beach, he averaged 15 points, eight rebounds, 11 assists and three steals per game.