With names like Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson headlining the bill, it was 6-foot-6 G/F Earl Pettis who showed up big time, and propelled his team to victory last night at the 2005 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Fellowship House in Conshohocken, PA. Rivals.com was there covering the action.
The Philly Six Coaches vs. Cancer, an organization of the coaches from Penn, Drexel, St. Joseph's, LaSalle, Villanova, and Temple who hold several charity events each year to raise money and awarenes in the fight against cancer, sponsor an all star basketball game featuring the Philadelphia area's best high school juniors each spring. There are two games, the Philly Public League stars vs. the Suburban stars, and the Catholic League stars vs. a team of Inter-AC/Friends League players.
Catholic League vs. Inter-AC/Friends All Stars
Before the game a colleague turned to me and said, "Let's see if Earl Pettis shows up tonight. I think he's due for a big game."
How right he was.
Right from the opening tap, facing two highly rated Philly area rivals in the Episcopal Academy duo of Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson, Pettis was all hustle and desire, showcasing not only his impressive array of skills, but also a steadily improving motor. Pettis scored early and often as the Catholic League squad jumped out to a 16-4 lead over the Inter-AC/Friends team. Pettis' Neumann-Gorretti teammate Derrick Rivera was also instrumental early on in building the lead.
However, Ellington answered the call, bringing his team back with quick dribble moves into the lane and 4-6 shooting from deep as the Inter-AC/Friends team took back the lead and pushed their advantage to 28-23 with around 12 minutes left in the first half.
Their advantage was short-lived, as the Neumann duo and St. Joseph's Prep's Reggie Redding re-entered the game and swung the momentum back to the Catholic League, taking a 50-46 lead into the halftime break.
Ellington cooled down considerably from his fast start, and though Henderson found ways to score, he too was frustrated with a surprisingly tough Catholic League defense that challenged every shot in the second half. The under-manned Inter-AC/Friends team never got as close as the half time defecit, and the game turned into a blowout late, as the Catholic League defeated the Inter-AC/Friends 106-88.
Henderson led all scorers with 31 points. He also added 12 rebounds and 6 assists. Ellington finished with 29 points, 16 rebounds, and 7 assists, but after his 4-6 start from beyond the arc, he was just 1-10 from range the rest of the game. 6-foot-8 Episcopal Academy junior Mike Yokum added 10 points and 7 rebounds in the loss.
Pettis was named the game's MVP with 26 points and 8 rebounds. Rivera had 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 steals, Redding had 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, and Roman Catholic forward Mike Ringold added 14 points in the win.
Public vs. Suburban All Stars
The Suburban All Stars took an early lead and never looked back, coasting to a 125-116 victory over the Philadelphia Public League All Stars in the opening game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic last night.
6-foot-1 PG Darren Govens from Chester, PA took MVP honors, scoring 21 points and dishing out 6 assists for the Suburban squad. 6-foot-4 guard Devon McBride from American Christian scored 24 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, and Tyrone Lewis from Truman HS and Ryan Brooks from Lower Merion added 18 and 17 points respectively in the win.
6-foot-5 Malcolm Ingram from Central HS scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Public League stars. 5-foot-11 PG Malik Alvin from Simon Gratz had 18 points and 9 assists, Frankford's Lewis Leonard had 17 points, and Rodney Green from Prep Charter added 15 points and 9 rebounds in the loss.
Notes from the Fellowship House
Ellington and Henderson began their campus visit at Villanova last night. They are joined by 6-foot-10 Germantown Academy center Andrew Ott and 6-foot-8 already committed Pocono Mountain East forward Kraidon Woods. Several members of the current Villanova team showed up in the gym in time to watch the second game of the evening, featuring Henderson, Ellington, and Redding, all Villanova targets.
Reggie Redding told us that he's been visited by West Virginia, St. Joseph's, Villanova, NC State, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Penn, and Temple in the past few weeks. He has scholarship offers from all of those schools.
Pettis and Rivera are getting a visit from Temple today. Pittsburgh, LaSalle, George Washington, and St. Bonaventure have visited Pettis. He'll take the SAT in June.
Rivera has had visits from St. Joseph's, Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure, LaSalle, George Washington, and Penn State. All have offered scholarships. Miami has also extended a scholarship offer to Rivera. He'll take the SAT in May.
Malcolm Ingram was a senior this past year at Central HS in Philadelphia. He'll prep next year at Solebury. Ingram is an excellent student, and he'll get lot's of Ivy and Patriot League attention this spring and summer.
Play of the Game
Derrick Rivera, a tough combo-guard who's made a name for himself by playing hard-nosed defense, found himself in a difficult situation, matched up defensively one-on-one with Wayne Ellington, one of the nation's best offensive players. However, Rivera was more than up to the challenge, stripping Ellington clean and taking it the other way for an athletic reverse jam. Rivera has some work to do on his ball skills and perimeter shooting, but as an athlete and competitor he is off the charts. The partisan Catholic League crowd went nuts after the steal, and after the reverse jam, nearly blew the roof off the old gym!