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Posted On: 01/29/18 11:06 AM
The 10th annual Virginia Preps Classic had it’s second session at Green Run on Saturday, and like every year it goes on it was one of the most competitive and exciting events of the year. It featured seven games of both private and public schools from all over the state, and VA Preps guru Matt Hatfield always does a great job of putting together intriguing and competitive matchups of teams that you won’t see play each other in any other setting. It has become a staple over the past decade (I actually played in the first two Classics in 2008 and 2009), and has grown over the years into one of the best events every year.
Here’s a look at part one of the standouts from Saturday, featuring nine of the best performances of the day.
James started the tournament off with a bang as he broke the individual record for most three-pointers in a game in the VA Preps Classic. James hit 8 threes on 14 attempts to score a game high 26 points in Cox win over Churchland. One of the best shooters in the state, he showed a quick trigger, terrific range and a great shooters mentality as you could tell he thought the next one was always going in.
Talbert didn’t have the best game of his year, but he did step up big late in the game and mad plays down the stretch for Kellam in their win over Henrico. The 6’2” guard stepped up in a number of ways, making shots late and sealing it from the free throw line, but he was also the team leader in rebounds and set the tone defensively. He finished with a double-double of 10 points, 10 rebounds and he also pitched in three steals and three assists on the game.
Talk about stepping up in a big game, Patriot was facing Oscar Smith in a possible Class 6 playoff matchup and Onwuka did everything he could to make sure that they came away with the win. The 5’9” point guard impressed with his quickness, strength and ability to knock down shots from all three levels off the bounce. He also showed toughness on both ends of the floor, and the bigger the moment the more he stepped up. He had the biggest play of the day from anyone, as he corralled a missed free throw with just under six seconds left and used his speed going coast to coast and hitting a contested lay-up at the buzzer to beat Smith 57-56. He finished with 19 points in 21 minutes, including the most important two of the game.
While Onwuka won the game for Patriot, they wouldn’t have been in that situation if it wasn’t for Marshall. The 6’3” wing struggled for much of the game, and he took a beating as he had to leave the game for a few minutes in the fourth quarter after taking a nasty fall under the basket. That didn’t deter Marshall with the game on the line however, as he hit a contested step back with less than 40 seconds left to pull the game within one, then on the inbounds play he beat his man to the spot and took a big charge to get the ball back. He struggled for most of the game shooting the ball, but he stepped up big when they needed it as the senior leader and high scorer should do, and his 11 points and six rebounds were needed for the win.
Although the Tigers weren’t able to come away with the victory, Harrell did everything he could offensively to keep them in the game. He got hot in the second quarter, and didn’t look back, as he knocked down a few midranges and three balls to end the first half with 12 points and five rebounds. After some halftime adjustments by Patriot slowed him down a little, Harrell found his stroke and started attacking the basket, as the 6’1” stocky lefty finished with 20 points and seven rebounds in an impressive scoring display.
Chambers took advantage of a Patriot team that lacked a true post player, as he dominated the paint on both ends of the floor. The 6’6” power forward probably should have got more touches inside, but that didn’t stop him from making his mark with a big stat line is just under 20 minutes on the floor. Chambers finished with 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting from the floor, 9 rebounds and blocked 7 shots on the game, all while committing just one foul. He showed the ability to run the floor in transition, catch and finish at the rim in contact and most impressive is his timing when protecting the rim. Despite being just 6’6”, he gets off his feet effortlessly and is able to use his springs and length to block shots all while without making contact. He’s one of the best big men still available in the 2018 class.
In a sloppy game from both teams that get off to a really slow start, it was Warner’s toughness and leadership at the point guard spot that allowed Stonewall Jackson to be able to come away with a 49-45 win over IC Norcom. The 5’11” Warner really stepped it up in the second half after only attempting three shots in the first half, and his play down the stretch on both ends the difference. His final stat line of 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and five steals is even more impressive when you see that at halftime he had four points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal. In the second half he became much more aggressive attacking the rim and defending on the basketball, and his toughness allows him to play much bigger than his small guard frame.
For a struggling Norcom team, Allison has been the rock all season and he was the only Greyhound to score in double figures in their loss to Stonewall Jackson. The 6’1” combo guard used his bulky frame to finish in the lane, but it was a lot of the things he did that didn’t show up on the stat sheet that kept the young Norcom group in the game. He’s a leader, one of the few guys who was around for their string of state championships over the past four years, and when everything was unraveling he was the guy to keep them together. He finished with 12 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
In Maury’s 62-51 loss to Blue Ridge the Commodores showed a very balanced attack, but the guy who really stepped up and made a name for himself was reserve big man Clarence Rupert. The 6’4” forward showed a wide range of skills on the offensive end, showing the ability to run the floor, shoot the jumper out to the three-point line and finish in the lane with his back to the basket. He provided a spark off the bench with his ability to cause mismatches, and finished with an impressive 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the field and chipped in five rebounds on the game.