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February 26, 2005

Laurinburg wins U.S. Prep National Championship

In a hard-fought battle of two undefeated and top ranked post-graduate prep school programs, Laurinburg Institute Prep defeated Hargrave Military Academy 95-83 in Wayne Otto's U.S. Prep School National Championship game last night in Boone, N.C. Laurinburg was led by MVP Antonio Anderson. For more information click to Rivals.com Ultimate Ticket.

Arguably, the two premier post-graduate prep school programs, Laurinburg, N.C., Institute Prep with a record of 39-0, and Chatham, Va., Hargrave Military Academy with a 25 wins and no losses this season clashed last night in the beautiful Holmes Center at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.

After trailing 50-40 at the half Coach Kevin Keatts' Hargrave Military team rallied to take a 73-71 lead with 5:45 left in the game. Then, Washington signee, 6-foot-4 wing guard Roburt Sallie hit a three-pointer to give Laurinburg a 74-73 advantage which they never relinquished.

Hargrave Military behind the shooting of Richmond recruit, 6-foot-6 A.D. Vassallo, and the relentless efforts of future Pittsburgh player, 6-foot-7 forward Sam Young, stayed within four points until the 2:15 mark, when Memphis signee, 6-foot-5 combo guard Antonio Anderson made two free throws for a 81-75 margin; and then Sallie buried another three-point shot with 1:30 left to give Coach Chris Chaney's Tigers an insurmountable 84-75 advantage. Laurinburg brought their season record to 40-0 with this 95-83 victory.

Hail to Laurinburg Institute, the U.S. Prep School National Champions!

Antonio Anderson earned MVP honors leading Laurinburg with 19 points (6-10 FG, 2-4 3-pters., 5-6 FT), 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. Roburt Sallie led all scorers with 22 points (7-12 FG, 2-4 3 pters., 6-6 FT), and 5 rebounds. Highly touted Memphis recruit, 6-foot-8 Shawne Williams was not as impressive as expected. Williams finished with 13 points (4-12 FG, 1-3 3pters., 4-8 FT, and 4 turnovers. Players who did step up and were key performers in Laurinburg's win were massive Memphis signee, 6-foot-10 center Kareem Cooper, who showed a good shooting touch with range for 12 points (5-9 FG, 2-4 3pters.); and unsigned laser-quick combo guard Quantez Robertson also with 12 points (2-4 FG, 1-1 3pt. shot, 7-8 FT), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals.This Cincinnati, Oh., resident is now attracting interest from Virginia Tech (assistant coach Ryan Odom was at this game), Bowling Green, U.A.B., Miami (OH), Western Kentucky, and others.

The leaders for Hargrave Military Academy were Most Outstanding Player, A.D. Vassallo, with 19 points (6-15 FG, 4-8 3 pters., 3-4 FT), and 12 rebounds; and Sam Young, also with 19 points (6-16 FG, 1-2 3pters., 6-8 FT), and 11 rebounds. 6-foot-5 Tommie Liddell (St. Louis U.) had 16 points, but missed some key baskets at "crunch time." Maryland signee, 6-foot-7 wing forward Shane Clark had a "quiet game" with 10 points, 4 rebounds. 6-foot-8 center Jerome Johnson was no factor with just 2 points and 1 rebound.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright attended the game to watch likely future Villanova Wildcat, 6-foot-5 combo guard Bilal Benn. I do not know if Wrighi's presence affected him or what, but Benn had a dismal game with 3 points (1-4 FG, 1-3 FT), 4 assists, and 4 turnovers. And, his reported commitment to Villanova is premature according to our sources. Reportedly, Benn has told the Villanova staff that he wants to commit, but, it cannot become an official commitment until he is accepted by the Villanova admissions office.

In the Champions Prep Basketball Classic Tournament, No. 7 nationally ranked by USA Today, Mouth of Wilson, Va., Oak Hill Academy trounced Roanoke, Va., Catholic High School 106-59. Unsigned 6-foot-4 guard/forward Jamont Gordon scored 30 points (13-19 FG, 2-6 3pters., 2-2 FT), getting most of his points simply powering past the younger and smaller Roanoke Catholic defenders, who just got out of his way.

Oak Hill's suberb junior 6-foot-9 forward Kevin Durant had another excellent performance, scoring 28 points (12-14 FG, 1-2 3pters., 3-4 FT), 12 rebounds, and 4 assists. McDonald's All-American, Syracuse-signee, 6-foot-4 combo guard Eric Devendorf added 15 points (7-11 FG), and 5 assists; and masteful junior point guard, 6-foot Tywon Lawson had 13 points (5-12 FG, 3-3 3pters.), 6 assists for Coach Steve Smith's Warriors, to improve their season record to 33-2.

The top player for Roanoke Catholic was talented junior, 6-foot-3 accurate marksman Turner King, with 20 points (8-19 FG, 3-6 3pters.). Rugged 6-foot-6 power forward Irmantas Griksas had 12 points (3-10 FG, 6-6 FT), and 6 rebounds.

In the first game of the Champions Prep Classic, Centereach, N.Y., Our Savior New American defeated Middleburg, Va., Notre Dame Academy 69-53, to advance to the championship game tonight against Oak Hill Academy.

Our Savior was led by sensational athlete 6-foot-2, 190-pound junior second guard Tim Ambrose, with 20 points (6-9 FG, 3-5 3pters., 5-6 FT), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals. I was happy to see good performances from two players who have recovered from severe injuries they suffered in the tragic and devastating wreck of an Our Savior team van in December, 2003, near Davidson, N.C., which took the life of a young player from France, 7-foot-2 Kevin Mormin.

6-foot-6 senior wing forward Bougari Konate, and 6-foot-7 senior Benoit Bekono, both scored 12 points for Coach Ron Stelzer's Pioneers. Most promising 6-foot-8, 230-pound freshman center/forward Samardo Samuals, a resident of Jamaica, had 6 points for Our Savior.

The top performers for Coach Larry Cullinane'sNotre Dame Academy team were 6-foot-4 senior wing guard Callum Jones with 16 points (8-14 FG), and talented athlete 6-foot-3 senior combo guard Marcus Sugars with 13 points.

In the Champions Prep Class Slam Dunk Contest, in which "yours truly" was a judge, Tim Ambrose the multi-talented junior from Our Savior New American, won the contest, posting a perfect score on all four of his very creative dunks. Kevin Durant of Oak Hill Academy finished second in the Slam Dunk Contest.

Champions Prep Basketball Classic Schedule of Events
Saturday, February 26

5:30 p.m. Third Place Game, Notre Dame Academy, Va., vs. Roanoke, Va. Catholic

7:00 p.m. Champions Classic Showcase Game
Durham, N.C., Mt. Zion Christian Academy vs. Stockbridge, Ga., Community Christian

8:30 p.m. Echota Three-Point Shooting Contest

9:00 p.m. Championship Game, Oak Hill Academy vs. Our Savior New American (NY)

10:45 p.m. Presentation of Awards


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