By Ryan Rohde,
Scott County comes in off of a big win over defending state champ Mason County. The game featured six ties and seven lead changes as the Cardinals scored the game’s final nine points to secure a 71-64 win. Rickie Phares led the way for the Cards with 22 points and 10 boards. 6-3 freshman guard Tamron Manning has shown that he’s one of the best young players in the state.
Bryan Station is coming off a big win of its own over Dunbar (KY), 80-61. Senior Charles Ashford has emerged as a big-time scoring threat for the defenders. Against Dunbar, he dropped 25 points to go along with 13 rebounds, five assists and four steals. Fellow senior Jeremiah Mabson has added a nice scoring threat from beyond the arc. The winner of this one is the frontrunner for the District 42 crown.
Oak Hill (VA) has been a longtime national powerhouse and plays probably the hardest schedule in the nation. This weekend might be the squad’s toughest stretch of the year. The Warriors begin on Saturday against South Atlanta (GA) and star forward Derrick Favors in the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. Favors has been dominant all season and is the frontrunner for National Player of the Year honors. He leads a Hornet offense that averages 94 points per game.
Oak Hill then takes on North Carolina private school power Christ School in the Greensboro Coliseum. The Greenies feature Duke recruit Mason Plumlee. The senior center has averaged 20 points in his last two contests. Look for a great inside battle all game as Plumlee goes up against Oak Hill’s Keith Gallon. The 6-9, 300 lbs. athlete is an Oklahoma commit and possesses raw strength and size. Warrior point guard Lamont Jones is the quarterback of the club and look for him to control the tempo in both games. The rest of Oak Hill’s schedule is very hard, but if they get through this weekend unscathed, they have a good shot of finishing undefeated.
Here’s another top matchup in the heralded Hoophall Classic. Leflore (AL) has rebounded nicely after dropping two midseason games to Oak Hill (VA) and Fairfax (CA) by a combined six points. Senior forward DeMarcus Cousins is one the top prospects in the nation. He is the backbone of a team that averages 80 points per game while holding opponents to just 50. This contest should be high-scoring as Lincoln (NY) is a fast-moving team. SG Lance Stephenson is one of the most prolific scorers in the nation and has the ability to pull up from anywhere. This is going to be a great inside vs. outside high-scoring affair.
There are a lot of great rivalries in the DC area, and this is one of the tops on the list. Gonzaga is coming off a big statement win over league rival Bishop McNamara. 6-7 senior Ian Hummer (Princeton) led the charge for the Eagles by dropping 17 points and grabbing nine boards. The Eagles have a deep bench, which will likely play a key role if they want to upend the Stags. DeMatha is arguably the most talented team in DC, if not the region. The squad’s lone loss came to Leflore in the Iolani Classic in Hawaii. The Stags have dominated league play thus far, most recently handing Bishop Ireton a 32-point beating. SG Naji Hibbert is one of the city’s best and will take his talents to Texas A&M next fall. Expect a huge crowd for this one, as the winner will be in good position in the ever-crowded WCAC.
Two of the top teams in Florida square off in this big Class 6A match up. Anderson has steamrolled through the first part of the schedule, posting wins against Montverde Academy (FL) and Miller Grove (GA). Brian Bynes leads the undefeated Cobras and is regarded as one of the top guards in the state. Winter Park’s Adam Jones is a versatile forward who can score from anywhere. The 6-7 junior is one of the top prospects in the state in the class of 2010. This is the toughest game for either team all year and the winner should be the frontrunner heading into the playoffs.
Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions – Springfield, MO
The eight-team field features some great individual and team talent in the 25th annual Tournament of Champions. Word of God (NC) and No. 1 recruit John Wall is paired with local power Glendale (MO). White Station is a traditional Tennessee powerhouse and will face St. Raymond out of New York. Junior guard Joe Jackson runs the offense for White Station and his tremendous quickness will impress a lot of onlookers. The game to keep an eye on might be McEachern (GA) vs. Central (MO). McEachern ranks second in the AAAAA Georgia rankings and now has a chance to prove themselves against some quality out-of-state competition. This is a must-see for Springfield-area high school hoops fans.
Martin Luther King Hardwood Classic - Centennial High, GA
There will be a great slate of action in the Atlanta area as local powers get after it. Miller Grove (GA) takes on Wheeler (GA) in what is probably the headline game. Wheeler’s staring five might be the best in the state and features four major Div. I prospects in Ari Stewart, Phil Taylor, Dequan Jones and Richard Howell. Mfon Mdofia will be heavily relied on if Miller Grove wants to upend Wheeler. McEachern comes back from the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions to take on Columbia, a team that possesses one of the top seniors in the nation in Travis Leslie. Other games on the docket are Tucker vs. Wesleyan and Marietta vs. host school Centennial. The Hardwood Classic is a great chance to showcase the talent-rich Atlanta area.
Flyin’ to the Hoop Tournament – Dayton, Ohio
It’s considered one of the top high school tournaments of the year. The ’09 tourney features some of the most talented schools in the state of Ohio and from around the nation. Las Vegas-area powerhouse Findley Prep will flex its muscles as they get to play three of Ohio’s best squads in Bedford, Garfield Heights and Wayne. Maryland power Montrose Christian is making an appearance as well. Montrose head coach Stu Vetter leads the Mustangs. In his 33rd year at the helm, Vetter has posted an astounding 783-98 record. 6-8 forward Isaiah Armwood and 6-10 center Mouphtaou Yarou are both seniors and have signed with Villanova. This is a great opportunity for some Ohio schools to test their mettle against some top national talent.
To contact correspondent Ryan Rohde, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.