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February 11, 2007

Oak Hill squeaks out a win at the PrimeTime

Trenton, N.J.- With the score tied 72-72 between Oak Hill (Va.) Academy and American Christian (Pa.), Oak Hill's Brandon Jennings drove the lane, threw up an off hand prayer inside of a second left and Oak Hill's prayer was answered with an official's whistle. Jennings then hit the second of the two free throws to give Oak Hill the win.

Oak Hill (Va.) 73, American Christian (Pa.) 72

Tyreke Evans provided the fireworks early in the game with a couple highlight reel dribble moves on Nolan Smith as he put up 14 points in the first half. In the second half, he added nine points for a total of 23 as the continuous defensive pressure forced him to the rim where he finished with mixed results. Evans also grabbed three rebounds, dished out four assists to six turnovers, snagged two steals and had two blocks. He shot nine of 20 from the field.

Despite the embarrassment of having a couple replays of Evans crossing him over played repeatedly on the scoreboard, Smith deserves a ton of credit for never stepping back to Evans and also being Oak Hill's steadiest player throughout the game. Smith was the game high scorer with 24 points on eight of 17 shooting from the field and eight of 12 shooting from the line. Only attempting one three pointer, Smith repeatedly drove the ball to the basket where he made both tough finishes over defenders around the rim and pull up jumpers. Smith also led Oak Hill in rebounding with seven boards, had a spectacular block at the rim, and had one assist with zero turnovers.

Alex Legion added 18 points for Oak Hill on six of 16 shooting from the field, two of eight from the arc and four of four from the line. He also had six rebounds and two assists to one turnover while being guard by Evans.

Coming off a strong performance the night before, Brandon Jennings did not have his best game, shooting five of 15 from the field, one of five from the arc and three of four from the line for 14 points. More telling of his performance were his seven turnovers to only two assists. He was aggressive on the boards, however coming up with six rebounds.

The standout player of the game, however, was not one of the highly ranked backcourt players in the game, but the workhorse down low for American Christian Michael Glover. Nothing but points and rebounds on the future Seton Hall player as he hustled his way to 23 points on eight of17 shooting and seven of 14 shooting from the line. Nearly everyone of his points were the a result of his 14 offensive rebounds. Glover finished with 18 rebounds total.

St. Patrick (N.J.) 91, Lincoln (N.Y.) 74

Lincoln played a junk defense for much of the game in hopes of slowing down Corey Fisher and Jeff Robinson

With his prowess both on the perimeter and the post, Robinson faired the better of the two, finishing with 30 points on 10 of 13 shooting from the field and a perfect eight of eight from the line. He also had 9 rebounds, one assist to zero turnovers, three blocks and two steals. With a more mature game than he has ever displayed, Robinson appears poised to make some noise for Memphis next year.

Fisher also was a perfect eight of eight from the line, but only hit three of 12 from the field for a total of 16 points. He failed to grab a rebound, but had five assists to three turnovers and three steals.

Let's get this straight. Dexter Strickland had no answer for Lance Stephenson's pull up jumper. Stephenson consistently buried pull up jumpers from inside the arc and outside the arc. And when Stephenson did get an edge on Strickland, he dumped off some nice passes against the help and had some strong finishes at the rim. Without much help around him, Stephenson went for 42 points on 17 of 23 shooting from the field, grabbed four rebounds, had one assist to four turnovers and came away with three steals.

Now, whereas Stephenson can move between shooting guard and small forward, Strickland is a combo guard whose ultimate position will be the point. Smooth with the ball in everyway, Strickland has a first rate feel for the game. Efficient with the bounce, Strickland gets the ball to guys early. Defensively, he properly shaded Stephenson's right hand. And to go along with his basketball IQ and top notch skill level, Strickland has an explosive burst to the basket which resulted in several crowd pleasing dunks. Strickland's most impressive stat was nine assists to two turnovers. He also scored 12 points on five of 10 shooting and grabbed four rebounds.

Schenley (Pa.) 85, DeMatha (Md.) 74

DeJuan Blair was the story of this game with his strong play in the paint against a DeMatha squad without the services of Chris Braswell. Blair scored an efficient 32 points on 10 of 15 shooting and dominated the boards with 20 of his teams 33 rebounds. He also blocked five shots, snagged three steals and dished out three assists.

Blair might be limited as a ball handler and scorer on the perimeter, but the big fella is much springier off the floor than he was during the summer. He was also quite impressive in the way he passed the ball, both with his outlet passing and passing out of the double team in the post. His assists came off heady dump down passes during spin moves in the post.

Speaking of spin moves, Austin Freeman brought MeMatha within one point at the half after being down double digits late in the first half with a series of strong spin moves in the lane. Freeman finished off four of them with bank shots and finished another one off with an assist pass. On the game, Freeman finished with 23 points on 10 of 21 shooting from the field, three rebounds, four assists and one steal.

Freeman's strong play lasted into the third quarter as DeMatha surged to a double digit lead. But in the fourth quarter, Blair rang up 14 of his 32 points, and more importantly, D.J. Kennedy switched onto Freeman and held him to only three points in the fourth quarter. Kennedy also hit seven of eight free throws in the final quarter to help him finish with 19 points total. He also had five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Kennedy, who has played well every time Rivals.com has watched him this year, said he is presently hearing from St. Louis, Virginia Tech and Marquette.

Recently having decommitted from Princeton, Jeff Peterson scored 16 points on seven of 13 shooting from the field. He also had six assists to three turnovers, four rebounds and two steals.

Peterson said Richmond, Xavier and St. Louis have offered and Iowa is extremely interested. The Hawkeyes have Jai Lucas as their top point guard target.


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