SOUTH ORANGE, NEW JERSEY -- The finals of the Top 100 Hoop Clinic matched a Rice team that had cruised through the tournament’s early stages against a crew from Frederick Douglass High School that had bounced St. Raymond’s with some last minute heroics, 76-69.
At the outset, the Raiders’ decisive height advantage
proved troublesome for Douglass. Shagari Alleyne
established himself as a force in the paint early
against Douglass undersized five, as the 7’2’’ junior
swatted away shot attempts and reeled in any rebounds
in his vicinity. Alleyne recorded eight first-half
points on a number of dunks, while rejecting a handful
of his opponents’ shots and altering countless others.
With Rice maintaining a decisive advantage on the
glass and harassing the Douglass guards with their
stifling defensive pressure, the Raiders went on a 6-0
run toward the end of the first half, as a three by
sophomore guard Russell Robinson, a lay-in and a dunk
by Alleyne, and two lay-ups by sophomore forward
Arturo Dubois propelled Rice to a 39-23 advantage at
The Raiders’ dominance continued after the break, as
Alleyne threw down a dunk to extend the lead to 18,
43-25 at 13:26. The gangly pivot continued to patrol
the middle with authority, as Douglass struggled in
trying to establish any semblence of an interior game
thanks to the efforts of Alleyne and 6’7’’ Dubois.
A driving lay-up by senior guard Kenny Eusey extended
the lead to 21, 48-27 with 11:52 on thew clock, while
a three by Wingate, who was consistently hitting the
outside jumper on this day, bolstered the lead
further. A twisting lay-up by senior guard Steve Burtt
upped the advantage to 26 at the ten-minute mark, and
Douglass would draw no closer.
Maurice Hicks’ team would continue to wear Douglass
down with their defensive pressure both on the
perimeter and on the interior, as the Rice guards
swarmed around the ball like a pack of bees.
With superior depth, and the luxury of having
Division I prospect Steve Burtt in reserve and
bringing rising sophomore Dubois off the bench to
spell Alleyne, Rice came at Douglass in waves. Their
advantage was 30 at 8:25, and the Manhattanites
maintained that margin of victory, as Rice prevailed
While Rice got noteworthy contributions from a number
of players, among them Dubois(14 points), Wingate(11
points), and Burtt(eight points), it was Alleyne who
totally changed the complexion of the game at both
ends of the floor. The big man threw down a couple of
thunderous dunks en route to a 14-point performance,
but perhaps more importantly hauled in eight rebounds
and was constantly altering and blocking shots with
his incredible reach.
If there was an MVP award given
for this tournament, without a doubt the junior would
have been in contention for it. He is a rising star
in the class of 2003 that will definitely be worth
keeping an eye on.