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Day One

December 27, 2003 Columns No Comments

Slam Dunk to the Beach – Day 1 Recap

by Phil Kasiecki

Day One Scoreboard:
Laurel (DE) 80, Cape Henlopen (DE) 75 (OT)
Bullis (MD) School 52, Allentown (PA) Parkland HS 48
Fort Washington (PA) Germantown Academy 68, Burlington (NJ) Life Center Academy 54
Centereach (NY) Our Savior New American 74, Philadelphia (PA) William Penn Charter 50
Laurinburg (NC) Institute 91, Washington (DC) Marriott Charter 60
Scotch Plains (NJ) High 73, Amityville (NY) High 72 (OT)
Mount Vernon (NY) High 64, Chester (PA) High 47

Seeing Double?

In the tournament opener, Laurel (DE) rode the performance of its twins, Trey and Troy Elzey, to an 80-75 overtime win over host Cape Henlopen (DE). Both twins recorded double-doubles, with Trey scoring 26 points and grabbing 16 rebounds and the smaller Troy scoring 15 points and hauling down a game-high 19 rebounds. They offset a stellar 30-point game from Cape Henlopen senior Matthew Jones.

Big Second Half Does It For Germantown

Burlington (NJ) Life Center Academy clearly out-played Fort Washington (PA) Germantown Academy in the first half, leading 29-20 with the game not being that close. The Warriors built the lead up largely with the play of Nebraska-bound big man Aleksander Maric, who scored 12 points and blocked 3 shots in 9 minutes before leaving the game with a knee injury.

In the second half, Germantown came alive after shooting just 20% from the field in the first half. Junior Ryan Ayers scored 16 of his 17 points in the second half, while Brian Grimes finished a productive game with 26 points and 13 rebounds, as the Patriots posted more points (24) in both the third and fourth quarters than they did in the entire first half. The Warriors didn’t help their cause by committing 29 turnovers, and were led by senior guard Gassaud Dahi, who scored 15 points and had 9 rebounds.

Palacios, Big Frontline Make It Look Easy

Juan Diego Palacios, the 6’8″ senior combo forward for Centereach (NY) Our Savior New American School, certainly came to play on Friday. One of the top unsigned seniors, he scored early and often en route to 23 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists to lead the Pioneers to a 74-50 romp over Philadelphia (PA) William Penn Charter.

The Pioneers’ big frontline, comprised of Palacios, 7’2″ shot-blocking junior Kevin Mormin (12 points, 7 rebounds, 7 blocks) and strong junior James Tchana (10 points, 8 rebounds off the bench) shut down Penn Charter, holding the Quakers under 32% shooting for the game. They didn’t allow Virginia-bound point guard Sean Singletary to get untracked with drives to the basket, leaving him to try and beat them from the perimeter, where he made just 2 of 12 three-pointers en route to 10 points. They also didn’t let Notre Dame-bound forward Rob Kurz get going inside or out, as he had 13 points on just 5-16 shooting.

Palacios stole the show early, showing a dazzling array of offensive scoring moves to score when he wanted as Our Savior built up a 25-11 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. Palacios played in a good flow and didn’t force bad shots, looking every bit the big-time prospect he’s long been regarded as. Mormin and Tchana not only helped defensively, but were also part of the Pioneers killing the Quakers on points in the paint by a 60-18 margin.

A Longar Human Highlight Film

Longar Longar got the crowd going more than anyone today, as the Laurinburg (NC) Institute big man had several dunks in the first half on fast breaks and in the half court. Longar had 14 points and 5 blocks, as the Tigers broke the game open in the second quarter and never looked back in a 91-60 rout of Washington (DC) Marriott Charter.

The Oklahoma-bound Longar would finish with 22 points, 8 blocks and 5 assists, but he had plenty of help from athletic wings Joe McCray and C.J. Anderson, who also had 22 points apiece. The versatile Anderson also hauled down 10 rebounds.

Caracter Finally Takes Over

It took until overtime, but much-hyped sophomore post player Derrick Caracter finally started dominating with one post basket after another against the smaller Amityville (NY) High team. With Caracter taking over, Scotch Plains (NJ) took the lead late and held on at the end for a 73-72 win over Amityville, which was playing without suspended point guard A.J. Price.

Caracter’s potential is obvious from time to time, when he uses his big body and footwork to get seemingly easy post scores, or when he blocks shots. But then he hangs on the perimeter, or can’t handle a rebound or two, and one wonders. In overtime, none of that happened, as he made it look easy with several consecutive post baskets and a big block in the final seconds. Caracter finished with a game-high 29 points, 22 coming in the second half and overtime, and hauled down 16 rebounds.

Athletic junior forward Lance Thomas added 13 points and 12 rebounds to support Caracter.

Key stat of the game: Scotch Plains made just 12 of 36 free throws.

Other Notes From Day One

Jonathan Mitchell (6’7″ So. PF, Mt Vernon (NY) High) came out strong early en route to a 14-point, 6-rebound effort in the final game of the day. He ran the floor well and asserted himself inside at both ends of the floor in leading his team to victory.

Normally a good scorer, Devon McClendon (6’3″ Jr. SG, Chester (PA) High) went 0-6 from the field and was a non-factor in the final game of the day. He never seemed to get in the flow of things. A bright spot was backcourt mate Darrin Govens, who led the way with 19 points and 3 steals. Govens has the tools to be an excellent defender and is generally a good pass-first floor leader with good size (6’2″) for the point.

Two bright spots for Washington (DC) Marriott Charter in their blowout were senior guard Steve Harley (22 points) and senior center Jerome Habel (16 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks). Harley is very athletic, but doesn’t shoot well and is turnover-prone, and at 5’10” he will have to play the point at the next level. The 6’10” Habel runs the floor very well and has some ball skills, but he is certainly a post player despite being thin. He’s getting looks from high-major schools, but he’s a borderline high-major at best.

Coming Up Tomorrow

Day Two has a full slate of 10 games on tap, including the quarterfinals of the Slam Dunk to the Beach bracket. Stay tuned for continuing coverage from Hoopville.


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