A hot hand and a balanced scoring attack by Highland (Lone Peak) UT was the big difference in the first game on the final day of action in this year’s Beach Ball Classic, which is being held this week at the Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, SC. Collectively 5’10 Chantry Ross, 6’7 Jackson Brinkenhoff, 6’0 Taylor Madison, 6’5 Max Brenchley, 6’1 Steven Ashbworth shot 27-44 from the field and 12-21 from behind the arc and individually they finished with 16 points, 16 points, 14 points, 13 points, and 12 points apiece respectively in Lone Peak’s 76-63 win over Albany (Academy) NY. Ashworth also did a good job of running the show and playing excellent defense, as is evident by the fact that he also had 10 assists and six steals, and Ross also chipped in with six assists and two steals. The leading scorer for Albany Academy was 6’4 Jr August Mahoney and this time around he more than lived up to his reputation of being an excellent outside shooter, as he finished with 21 points, 7-15 field goals, and 4-8 3-pointers. However, Albany Academy’s best prospect is arguably 6’6 Soph Andre Jackson. And he chipped in with 14 points, three rebounds, three steals, and 6-8 field goals and we were impressed with his skills, athleticism, versatility, and ability to score in a variety of ways.
The next game, which was the Consolation Bracket Championship Game, was never really in doubt despite the fact that Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV went on a 9-0 run midway through the second half and cut the lead to 49-46. But Georgetown (Scott County) KY then outscored Bishop Gorman 22-16 the rest of the way and emerged with an impressive 71-62 win. The leading scorer and best player this time around for Scott County was University of Charlotte-bound 6’3 Cooper Robb. And in this game he was like a jack-of-all-trades with his great nose for the ball, ability to get his teammates involved, and ability to score in a variety of ways en route to 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists, four steals, 9-12 field goals, and 1-2 3-pointers. And providing the perfect complement to Robb with 17 points and 16 points apiece respectively were 6’2 Jr Bryce Long from Georgetown (Scott) KY and 6’7 Michael Moreno from Georgetown (Scott County) KY. However, the outside shot wasn’t going to down for Moreno (he was only 0-3 from behind the arc) and, as result, this time around he did most of his damage attacking the basket and providing toughness at the defensive end.
The best player once again for Bishop Gorman with 25 points, six rebounds, 9-20 field goals, 4-12 3-poinetrs, and 3-3 free throws was 6’6 Jamal Bey. And, if he keeps playing like he has in the last several games in this tournament, he easily could play himself into the 50-100 range nationally, as well as provide the experience that this team needs to continue to get better the rest of the season. Remember, this team also normally gets a lot of production from 6’3 Soph Noah Taitz, who was sidelined in Bishop Gorman’s second game of the tournament due to an injury, and 6’3 Frosh Will McClendon, who finished with 15 points, three rebounds, three assists, 5-7 field goals, 4-5 3-poitners, and 1-2 free throws this time around, has stepped up and taken and made some big shots, and has consistently been his team’s second best player in this tournament. And, if that weren’t enough, 6’9 Soph Isaiah Cottrell from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV has a great size and is oozing with upside and potential, 6’0 Frosh Zaon Collins has the speed and quickness, ball handing and passing skills, court savvy, and incredible natural talent necessary to evolve into the best point guard to ever play at Bishop Gorman, and Bishop Gorman head coach Grant Rice also has several other freshmen who are potential studs that are just waiting to be called up to the varsity.
There were two big takeaways in the next game, which was for 5th Place and saw 6’5 Jr Dahmir Bishop from Philadelphia (Imhotep Charter) PA knock down the game winning three to beat Cincinnati (Moeller) OH at the buzzer. First, Imhotep Charter features a plethora of good young players and a lot of interchangeable parts, including, 6’6 Jr Chareef Knox, 6’7 Jr Donta Scott, 6’6 Jr Jamil Riggins, 6’5 Jr Dahmir Bishop, and 6’8 Soph Elijah Taylor. But they will have to shoot the ball better as a team and find a quality point guard if they are going to do more than make an early exit in next year’s City of Palms Classic(inside sources tell us that they have already been invited). Second, 6’5 Jeremiah Davenport, who is bound for Wright State and, not 6’10 Jaxon Hayes, who is bound for the University of Texas, is Moeller’s best player. And that’s not knocking Hayes, who had a key dunk and a big put-back in the final minutes of the game. He also finished with 10 points, six rebounds, 3-6 field goals, and 4-7 free throws, but Hayes is much more of a potential guy than a finished product and he’s just beginning to scratch the surface in terms of the player he will become.
In sharp contest, 6’5 Jeremiah Davenport from Cincinnati (Moeller) OH has the length, athleticism, skills, versatility, competitive edge, takeover mentally, and natural talent necessary to get some consideration as a top 100-ranked senior nationally. This time around he finished with 14 points, six rebounds, 6-12 field goals, 1-2 3-pointers, and 2-4 free throws and was consistent enough throughout the tournament to be a near lock for the All-Tournament Team. Except for Bishop, who finished with 12 points and hit the game winning shot, the only other player worth special mention for Imhotep Charter was 6’6 Jr Jamil Riggins. He finished with 17 points, four rebounds, 5-7 field goals, 1-3 3-pointers, and 6-7 free throws, but it’s his aggressiveness and athleticism around the basket and the fact that he might be able to evolve into a three down the road that really gets everybody’s attention.
The Third Place Game was the Moore and Moore show, as the 6’6 athletic wing forward from Concord (Cox Mill) NC and the 6’4 athletic 2-guard from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD both stepped it up dramatically in the second half (the former had seven points and the latter had only three points at the intermission) en route to impressive 24-point and 21-point performances respectively. However, they both came up empty in the final 16 seconds of the game when 6’4 Jr Justin Moore from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD missed a 3-point shot that would have up his team up by two and then 6’6 Jr Wendell Moore from Concord (Cox Mill) NC missed a pair free throws that would have put his team up by three with 12 seconds left in the game. And that set the stage for the other Moore to redeem himself with what was the game winning lay-up with 1.5 seconds remaining in the game.
The final score was 64-63 and Moore also had five rebounds, 8-15 field goals, and 4-9 3-pointers in a winning effort. The other Moore also finished with four assists, two steals, 8-17 field goals, 3-7 3-pointers, and 5-8 free throws in a losing effort. They also both should be locks for the All-Tournament, which will be announced later tonight, as well as the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Team a year from now. Also playing about as well as we’ve ever seen him play was 7’0 Jr Hunter Dickinson from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD, who did a great job finishing around the basket and chipped in with 18 points, nine rebounds, four blocked shots, and 9-12 field goals. And you can ditto that with regard to 6’8 Rechon “Leaky” Black from Concord (Cox Mill) NC playing about as well as we’ve ever seen him play, as this North Carolina-bound jack-of-all-trades appeared to be play with a lot more confidence and finished with 15 points, three assists, four steals, 7-15 field goals, and 1-2 free throws.
We move on to the Championship Game, where Montverde (Academy) FL, which is the #1-ranked high school team in the nation by Ronnie Flores in his latest Fab 50 National Tea Ranking powered by Ballslife.com, came out with guns a blazing. They jumped out to a 9-3 early, led 20-10 midway through the first half, and appeared to be on the verge of breaking this game wide open a number of different times late in the half. But thanks primarily to the efforts of 6’9 Donatas Kupsas from Brookville (Long Island Lutheran) NY, who had 12 of his team’s 21 points and was 4-10 from the field and 2-3 from behind the arc, this was still a 11-point game at the intermission. However, it was a different story early in the second half, as Montverde Academy went on a 18-3 run in the first four minutes and, like they say, the rest was history.
The final score was 70-42 and 6’6 R.J. Barrett from Montverde (Academy) FL led the way with 27 points, 10 rebound, seven assists, 10-21 field goals, 2-4 3-pointers, and 5-7 free throws. And picking up where he left off last night was 6’9 Jr Makhel Mitchell from Montverde (Academy) FL, who finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, 6-9 field goals, and 4-7 free throws. Also chipping in with 13 points, three rebounds, 6-9 field goals, and 1-1 3-pointers and making a strong case for a spot on the All-Tournament Team was 6’10 Filip Petrusev from Montverde (Academy) FL. Kupsas finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, thee blocked shots, 6-17 field goals, 2-5 3-pointers, and 2-2 free throws and, in the process, he also reinforced the fact that we think he is one of the most undervalued players in the senior class nationally.
It also comes as no surprise that 6’6 R.J. Barrett from Montverde (Academy) FL was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player. The Most Outstanding Player in the Tournament, which goes to somebody not on the winning team, was 6’6 Jr Wendell Moore from Concord (Cox Mill) NC. The rest of the All-Tournament Team included 6’4 Andrew Nembhard from Montverde (Academy) FL, 6’10 Filip Petrusev from Montverde (Academy) FL, 6’9 Donatas Kupsas from Brookville (Long Island Lutheran) NY, 6’4 Jr Justin Moore from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD, 6’5 Jeremiah Davenport from Cincinnati (Moeller) OH, 6’6 Jamal Bey from Lss Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6’7 Michael Moreno from Georgetown (Scott County) KY, 6’8 Rechan “Leaky” Black from Concord (Cox Mill) NC, 6’6 Jr Earl Timberlake from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD, and 6’6 Jr Chereef Knox from Philadelphia (Imhotep Charter) PA.
And yes, it was a major surprise when Black, Timberlake, and Knox were named to the All-Tournament Team. Instead, 6’9 Jr Makhel Mitchell from Montverde (Academy) FL and 7’0 Jr Hunter Dickinson from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD should have been a no-brainers and the last spot really was up for grabs, as 6’9 Frank Policelli from Brookville (Long Island Lutheran) NY, who was our other choice, came up empty with only three points, three rebounds, 1-3 field goals, and 1-2 3-pointers in the Championship Game. On the other hand, we could also say the same thing about 6’4 Andrew Nembhard from Montverde (Academy) FL, who didn’t score a single point and was 0-2 from the field and 0-1 from behind the arc in the Championship Game.