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Slam Dunk to the Beach 2

December 28, 2002 Columns No Comments

Slam Dunk to the Beach – Day 2 Recap

by Phil Kasiecki

The second day of action at Slam Dunk to the Beach featured a team putting itself on the basketball map, an overtime thriller with two top big men, an ugly game between two teams from the Deep South, and the first big test since a serious injury for one of the top players in the class of 2003. Here are the details.

Coming Out Party

When the subject is national high school basketball powers, Bloomfield (NJ) Tech probably isn’t one of the first schools mentioned. But the school looks to have arrived with its play at Slam Dunk to the Beach.

Friday morning opened up with Bloomfield Tech knocking off Wynnewood (PA) Friends Central, 84-67, as they pulled away in the fourth quarter. The Spartans led for most of the game, but it was close until the fourth. They made Friends Central star Mustafa Shakur work to get the ball and for some of his game-high 24 points, as he also had 6 turnovers. Many times, they would deny him the ball, and even when he got it, Jason Wilson often did a good job of making him work, though Shakur also made some of his shots look easy.

The Spartans had five players in double figures, led by junior guards Courtney Nelson (21 points, 5 assists) and Da’Shawn Dwight (20 points). When he wasn’t hounding Shakur, Wilson was busy scoring 14 points and handing out 14 assists. The Spartans were also the first team in the tournament to have more assists (14) than turnovers (13).

All Eyes Are On Him

Brooklyn (NY) Lincoln took the court with brand new navy blue uniforms, but that didn’t take the attention away from junior point guard Sebastian Telfair. Telfair has been talked about ever since he appeared at Adidas ABCD Camp before he ever played a minute of high school basketball, and this past summer his reputation took a bit of a hit as others in the very strong and deep class of 2004 made their presence known.

In their game against Oxon Hill (MD) High School, Telfair struggled mightily to score as he shot 4-18, but he handled his position well with 7 assists and 4 steals in helping his team to a 67-59 victory. The Railsplitters shot just 35.8% from the field, but they killed Oxon Hill on the glass with 23 offensive rebounds and took 21 more shots. Promising sophomore forward Antonio Pena led Lincoln with 21 points and 9 rebounds.

Telfair looked to be pressing at times as shots were not falling, but his teammates helped out. He would have had more assists if they could have converted a few more of the many good passes he made.

Breaking New Ground

Miami (FL) Christian made a grand entrance in their debut at the Slam Dunk to the Beach Tournament, in facing off against Reno (NV) High School. The team is comprised almost entirely of Puerto Ricans, including members of the Puerto Rican National team such as senior wing Jesus Verdejo and Miami-bound point guard Guillermo Diaz.

The Victors dominated from the outset in a 76-61 win, with the score not indicating just how they dominated the Huskies. In the first half alone, they nearly 64% from the field and out-rebounded the Huskies 20-8, running early and often. They would finish the game shooting 57.4%, behind the 11-15 shooting by Diaz en route to 22 points. Kansas-bound center David Padgett had 27 points in the loss for Reno.

Battle of Dixie

Tuscaloosa (AL) Hillcrest and Starkville (MS) High School matched up in a game of regional interest, though it also had a matchup of two top frontcourt players in Mississippi State signee Travis Outlaw from Starkville and highly-regarded junior center D.J. White from Hillcrest.

White had the edge in the first half, as did his team, but a good fourth quarter gave Starkville a 46-39 victory over Hillcrest, with Outlaw making several highlight-film plays along the way. White had better numbers, as he had 21 points and 9 rebounds, but only 6 of those points came in the second half and all of his rebounds were in the first half. Outlaw had 14 points and 5 blocks.

The teams combined to shoot 33.3% from the field and struggled to score points at several junctures.

Big Man’s Game? Hardly

The matchup between Paterson (NJ) Catholic and Beaumont (TX) Clifton J. Ozen was billed as a showdown between two of the nation’s top senior big men, Memphis signee Kendrick Perkins from Ozen and Paterson’s unsigned big man, Darryl Watkins. While most don’t expect Perkins to ever don a Tigers uniform, as he was until this summer the consensus number two player in the class of 2003, Watkins is an enigma. He can be dominant, but he can also look very ordinary, and in this game, he did on several occasions in losing out in the individual battle.

The big men were the focus initially, but the most important player in this game had to be Rutgers-bound guard Marquis Webb from Paterson Catholic. Webb had a game-high 28 points, including a three-pointer just before time expired to send the game to overtime. He added 8 rebounds and 3 steals, and all of it was missed when he fouled out in the extra session. Paterson struggled to score en route to dropping a 67-64 decision. Ozen shot 58.5% from the field, but needed overtime in part because they made just 17 of 33 free throws and several late misses allowed Webb the chance to send it to the extra session.

In the battle of the big men, Perkins led four Ozen players in double figures with 21 points (8-13 shooting) and 14 rebounds, while Watkins had 14 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks, but the numbers don’t tell the story. Perkins made it look easy at times early in the game, while Watkins picked up two early fouls and struggled when he got the ball, often losing it going up or when making a move and choosing to fade away on some of his shots.

Numbers Don’t Tell The Whole Story

Looking at the box score of the 76-56 win by Barrington (RI) St. Andrew’s Prep over the Laurinburg (NC) Institute in the Slam Dunk to the Beach quarterfinals, one would be hard-pressed to imagine that the Saints were erratic to the point of coach Mike Hart yelling at his team during a timeout. The Saints shot nearly 57% from the field and had 16 assists against 15 turnovers.

Watching the game, one could see that the Saints made a few bad decisions at times and how numbers can disguise an unexpectedly average showing. Senior guard Abdi Lidonde shot the Saints to victory with 25 points on 8-12 shooting, including 7-10 on three-pointers. Though he had 16 points on 6-10 shooting, Syracuse-bound forward Demetrius Nichols didn’t play his best all-around game. Nonetheless, the Saints moved on to the semifinals.

What A Difference A Star Makes

In April, California-bound power forward Leon Powe tore his ACL at an AAU tournament. That kept him out of the big summer AAU events, where he was supposed to further state his case as one of the elite players in the class of 2003. Having recovered, he took the court for his Oakland (CA) Technical team against powerful Newark (NJ) St. Benedict’s in a Slam Dunk to the Beach quarterfinal.

Powe picked up his third foul with one second left in the opening quarter, but the Bulldogs stayed close throughout the half. With Powe back in the lineup, St. Benedict’s broke the game open in the third quarter and led by double digits most of the second half in their 73-58 victory. Powe fouled out after scoring a tournament-high 31 points, but most were uncontested baskets in the later minutes when the game was decided.

Massachusetts signee Art Bowers led St. Benedict’s with 24 points and 8 rebounds.

Taking Care of the Ball

Even in a tournament where the rule is that a team has more turnovers than assists, a couple assist and turnover game totals from today stand out:

• Richland (NJ) St. Augustine Prep – 2 assists, 24 turnovers

• Oxon Hill (MD) High School – 4 assists, 21 turnovers

In Other Action

• Wilmington (DE) St. Mark’s used a strong second half to advance to the final of the Mayor’s Cup with a 50-41 win over Laurel (DE).

• Washington (DC) Gonzaga College had an easy time with Richland (NJ) St. Augustine Prep, shooting 53.7% from the field en route to a 70-34 blowout. Junior guard Stanley Hodge led the attack with 18 points and 9 rebounds.

• Minnetonka (MN) Hopkins dominated Greenbelt (MD) Eleanor Roosevelt in an 80-47 victory. Duke-bound forward Kris Humphries looked every bit the likely McDonald’s All-American, scoring a game-high 21 points on 8-15 shooting and hauling down 11 rebounds.


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