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Day Two

December 29, 2003 Columns No Comments

Slam Dunk to the Beach – Day 2 Recap

by Phil Kasiecki

Slam Dunk to the Beach – Day Two

Potomac (MD) Bullis School 69, Lewes (DE) Cape Henlopen HS 53
Washington (DC) Marriott Charter 84, Cleveland (TX) Heritage Christian Academy 60
Orlando (FL) Dr. Phillips 68, Amityville (NY) High 53
Richland (NJ) St. Augustine Prep 63, Allentown (PA) Parkland HS 52
Mount Vernon (NY) High 68, Tuscaloosa (AL) Hillcrest HS 48
Durham (NC) Mt. Zion Christian Academy 50, Champlain St. Lambert (Quebec) 48

Slam Dunk to the Beach Bracket — Quarterfinals
Jacksonville (FL) Arlington Country Day School 53, Elizabeth (NJ) St. Patrick’s HS 37
Atlanta (GA) Southwest Atlanta Christian HS 68, Provo (UT) Timpview HS 55
Los Angeles (CA) Westchester 81, Bloomfield (NJ) Technical 52
Reserve (LA) Christian HS 78, Seattle (WA) Rainier Beach HS 61

Howard Lives Up To the Hype, Big Crowd Expectations

It’s safe to say that Dwight Howard is the player most were eager to see. By the time he took the floor with his Atlanta (GA) Southwest Atlanta Christian team to take on Provo (UT) Timpview HS in the second quarterfinal game of the Slam Dunk to the Beach bracket, the gym at Cape Henlopen High School was packed to capacity, and they didn’t sleep while the game was played. Although not as hyped as LeBron James was when he played two years ago, Howard has been said to be the projected top pick in the NBA Draft next spring were he to declare, and with that comes fans taking notice and wanting to see him for themselves.

Every time Howard touched the ball or was in the vicinity to make a play, you could sense the anticipation. Howard got the best of the big man matchup with Brigham Young signee Chris Miles, a promising 6’10” post player, and helped his team to a 68-55 win. The Warriors pulled away after Timpview rallied to tie the game twice in the second half.

Howard scored 25 points, owned the glass with 21 rebounds, and nearly completed a triple-double with 9 blocks. For good measure, he added 5 assists in showing his ability to pass the ball while facing the basket. Howard scored on post moves inside, stickbacks, and dunks running the floor, including a spectacular fast break dunk after sophomore Javaris Crittenton threw the ball off the backboard for him. Howard was simply dominant at both ends of the floor, as Miles had just 8 points and 2 rebounds, saddled with foul trouble in the first half. The Warriors held a 52-24 edge in points in the paint.

Rich Wows the Observers, Berry Helps Out

Jason Rich showed how the game is played in leading Orlando (FL) Dr. Phillips to a 68-53 victory over Amityville (NY) High, a game that lost some of its luster after Amityville suspended A.J. Price, who figured to match up with Rich for some excitement on the perimeter.

Rich scored a game-high 27 points and hauled down 9 rebounds, shooting 11-17 from the field and adding in the highlight file play of the day. The Florida State-bound guard drove to the basket, pulled the ball back and threw in a tomahawk slam as the Panthers pulled away.

He had good help from forward Jack Berry, who found his three-point stroke later in the game. Berry, a good mid-major prospect getting looks from Ivy League schools, had 13 points and 13 rebounds, playing well inside at both ends of the floor.

Loaded Mt. Zion Has Just Enough to Hold Off Joseph, Champlain St. Lambert

Durham (NC) Mt. Zion Christian Academy is loaded this season, and in the early going against Champlain St. Lambert (Quebec), it looked like they could run away with the game. But the Cavaliers mounted a steady comeback, led by junior guard Maurice Joseph, before a three-pointer at the buzzer went in and out to give Mt. Zion a 50-48 win.

Mt. Zion built an early lead with several dunks by athletes like Cincinnati-bound wing Roy Bright (14 points) and Kansas City native Brandon Rush. The Cavaliers eventually got within 19-16 by the end of the first quarter before trailing 29-20 at the half, with the Warriors shooting over 59% from the field.

Joseph got going in the second half, scoring 13 of his 16 points, including several clutch baskets late. The Cavaliers tied the game at 48 before Philadelphia native Tasheed Carr hit a short jumper with 5.5 seconds left.

Massachusetts signee Oliver Lamoureux kept the Cavaliers in the game in the first half, scoring 9 of his 16 points and playing well at both ends of the floor.

Carter Leads Young Stars In Easy Win

Super sophomore Demond Carter was the leading star of the young Reserve (LA) Christian HS team in Saturday’s 78-61 win over Seattle (WA) Rainier Beach in a Slam Dunk to the Beach bracket quarterfinal. The Eagles also feature promising freshman Kevin Branch, an athletic wing who had 14 points, and eighth-grader Martez Walker in a team comprised mostly of underclassmen.

The 5’10” Carter was the star, showing great quickness and some good range on his jump shot, though he only made four field goals en route to his game-high 21 points. He was 11-12 at the line and handed out 6 assists in the game, as the Eagles were never seriously threatened after the first quarter. They looked wise beyond their years in shooting 51% from the field and handing out 14 assists against just 8 turnovers.

Rainier Beach was in the game early, when Miami signee C.J. Giles got several easy scores, but then he hit foul trouble and wasn’t the same at either end in the second half. He finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds, while sophomore Ryan Anderson struggled shooting but had 13 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists.

Johnson Shows a Jump Shot In Blowout

Los Angeles (CA) Westchester junior forward Marcus Johnson has always been among the elite athletes in the class of 2005, but he’s needed the jump shot to complement it. The 6’5″ wing made a few on Saturday night to go with his usual slashes and transition scores, shooting 9-13 for 19 points as the Comets routed Bloomfield (NJ) Technical, 81-52, to advance to the semifinals of the Slam Dunk to the Beach bracket.

Johnson made an early three-pointer, then had a couple of jumpers look bad before making a couple of mid-range shots later. If he can knock down jumpers on a consistent basis, including from long range, he’ll certainly be one of the elite players in his class.

In an otherwise bad game, Casiem Drummond had a quiet double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds for Bloomfield Tech.

Nwachakwu Knows Where The Ball Is, Farmer Sends It In

The first signee at Columbia for new head coach Joe Jones did what he does best on Saturday, as forward Benedict Nwachakwu hauled down 17 rebounds to go with 12 points as Richland (NJ) St. Augustine Prep beat Allentown (PA) Parkland High School by a score of 63-52.

Nwachakwu looked very active and ran the floor well, and had a balance on the boards: 8 were at the offensive end, 9 on the defensive end.

His help on the perimeter came from junior guard Anthony Farmer, who looked quicker and showed an improved jump shot. Farmer scored a game-high 21 points and scored more on jumpers than drives to the basket, an encouraging sign to go along with him handling the ball more.

Mount Vernon Holds White In Check, Wins Easily

It wasn’t the best of games for Indiana-bound forward D.J. White, one of the top players in the class of 2004. White was held to 11 points on just 5-12 shooting and had 9 rebounds, as Mount Vernon (NY) forced 21 turnovers in knocking off White’s Tuscaloosa (AL)Hillcrest squad by a 68-48 margin.

The Knights got a balanced attack that was led by Pittsburgh signee Keith Benjamin. The aggressive combo guard had 20 points and 7 rebounds, getting good help from sophomore forward Jonathan Mitchell with 18 points in another solid effort. Mitchell continues to look like one of the best sophomores in the country, while junior Chris Lowe and freshman Michael Coburn contributed in the backcourt.

Hillcrest was led by another sophomore, point guard William Barnes, who had 16 points. He had a good showing here last year, and looked quicker and at times for his own offense.

Hernandez Keeps Improving

One player who continues to come along is Jacksonville (FL) Arlington Country Day School junior forward Sammy Hernandez. The top rebounder at Miami (FL) Christian the last two years, Hernandez is now showing improved ball skills, which he’ll need for the next level since at 6’5″ he won’t be playing in the post.

In the Apaches’ 53-37 victory over Elizabeth (NJ) St. Patrick’s HS in a Slam Dunk to the Beach bracket quarterfinal, Hernandez handled the ball often, making all three of his field goal attempts and handing out 6 assists. He still rebounded, grabbing 7 in the game, but he’s showing more skills with the ball and improving his game.

Hernandez and 7’2″ sophomore Jason Bennett were part of a defense that shut down St. Patrick’s, holding the Celtics to 25.5% shooting. For his part, Bennett had 13 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks, showing plenty of potential but also room for development. He runs the floor fairly well for his size, but he needs to improve his footwork (travels with the ball often) and his touch in close, and he looked a bit clumsy at times. He’ll get plenty of attention over the next couple of years as he develops.

Riding the Harley To a Victory

Washington (DC) Marriott Charter had an easy time with Cleveland (TX) Heritage Christian Academy in an 84-60 romp, led by the play of point guard Steve Harley. The 5’9″ senior had 26 points on 11-21 shooting, including 2-3 on three-pointers (not his forte), and had 5 steals. Harley scored often in transition and on drives to the basket.

Harley is quick and a great leaper, but he doesn’t have a point guard mentality, is turnover-prone, and is too small to play shooting guard. His jump shot still needs a good deal of work as well, and overall he’s a borderline Division I prospect.

Other Notes

• As with the first day, the crowd was good most of the day, eventually with a packed house when Atlanta (GA) Southwest Atlanta Christian played since fans got to see Dwight Howard. After the game, a number of fans left, but the crowd wasn’t sparse until the second half of the final game of the day.

• Champlain St. Lambert (Quebec) is the first Canadian school ever to compete in Slam Dunk to the Beach.

• The last two games of the evening were switched, as Seattle (WA) Rainier Beach HS had travel difficulties due to inclement weather. They made it in plenty of time for the later start.

• Mark Johnson had another solid game for Amityville, as the junior forward score 20 points on 9-12 shooting and continued to show some small forward ability. He will need to continue that development, given his 6’5″ frame.

• Although he didn’t shoot quite as well as advertised, Jacksonville (FL) Arlington Country Day junior guard David Huertos played a good game overall. He scored 14 points, hitting jumpers later on and showing an in-between game that will keep defenders from guarding him as he develops further.

Day Three is ahead of us, full of Tommy Jacobs Memorial matchups. Stay tuned for continuing coverage.


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