"It's All About The Game"
Cap Classic lives up to billing
Ron Bailey, Publisher
Great games, energized crowd mark best 'Cap' in years.
April 28, 2015 - When hoops fans think of the Capital Classic, thoughts of talented players competing in good games come to mind. The game has a good reputation not only nationally, but locally.
The 42nd version of it, held Friday at Catholic University did nothing to counteract those expectations. That goes for both games, the preliminary and main contests. Following are recaps:
DC/PG County All Stars 114 NoVa/MoCo All Stars 108
During warm ups it was evident the DC/PG County All Stars were at a disadvantage; of an expected 10 players, only eight eventually showed up, with one, Anthony Broadus not competing as the Eastern High School (DC) standout recently suffered a head injury. NoVa/MoCo's All Stars had a full 10 player contingent by comparison. Things looked bleak for Broadus and his teammates.
It's just they didn't receive the memo, grinding to a 114-108 win, secured in the last minutes. Guard Dajuan Greene, also of Eastern, led all scorers with 23 points and eight assists, while also pulling down six rebounds. His work won the game's MVP award, and is presently undecided in terms of a future college.
Dajuan Greene hoisting a shot.
"It was a sense of motivation" said Greene afterward of being at a roster disadvantage, "because we only started out with five people, and when everybody came it became a little smoother - we got to rest, gain energy, and finish it off".
Chris Coles, DC/PG's coach whose commitment cannot be challenged - he coached despite suffering a serious car accident earlier Friday - gave his team some useful advice.
"We had a few guys not come out, but I just told him normally in an all star game there's a lot of uncontested shots" he shared. "If you just get back on 'D', we didn't want to hurt anybody, but if you just put a body in front of somebody, we could take some of that away and then get out in transition. They did a good job of that".
The stats confirm Cole's assessment, as his team enjoyed a 52-22 fast break point point advantage.
Forward Dominique Tham (Virginia's Wakefield HS and undecided) paced the NoVA/MoCo side with 20 points, while also pulling down a game high 15 rebounds. Edison (VA) HS's Tyvez Monroe, a swingman headed to Augusta State, scored 19 points for Tony Bentley's team, also pulling down seven caroms and dishing four assists.
Forward Ishmael Johnson (Maryland's National Christian, JUCO) was a stalwart for Cole's team, scoring 19 points and snagging a team high 14 boards. Future VMI forward and present Maret (DC) student Austin Vereen (20 points, seven rebounds, five assists) was also a force, as was David Belle of Northwestern HS (MD), a future Bowie State guard who fastbreaked his was to 20 points and five rebounds.
US All Stars 105 Capital Call Stars 102
Down 52-47 at halftime, Trey Mines' Capital All Star team had reason for optimism, having battled back from an early 12 point deficit. During intermission he told his team to play feistier, attacking the much talked about US All Stars in the process. That they did, turning third quarter seven point deficit into a fourth period seven point lead.
In a game of runs, the out-of-towners tied the contest with about a minute left, and enjoyed a 103-100 lead with just 44 seconds remaining. They would hold on for a hard fought 105-102 win.
Central to the US team's win was guard P.J. Dozier (16 points, five rebounds). His and-one created the aforementioned three point advantage, and seemingly when his team needed points down the stretch, he stepped up.
Abdulai Bundu, attacking the rim.
"We needed a bucket. I saw the lane and saw the opportunity to go into the lane with a hard move. Luckily it came out in my favor" said the future South Carolina Gamecock/present Spring Valley (SC) student of his drive and finish through contact.
He and soon-to-be Wake Forest student Bryant Crawford (Gonzaga of DC) went back and forth for a stretch, which didn't surprise Dozier, since "We knew he was going to come out here and do his thing. He's from DC. He's a great player...I definitely knew what he was capable of that he was going to be a huge threat".
Crawford tied fellow guard Kevin Dorsey (Minnesota, MD's Clinton Christian) with 18 points. The former also contributed six rebounds and a game leading seven dimes. Illustrating his second half impact were the three points and two rebounds logged in the first half.
Largo's Abdulai Bundu led all scorers with 21 points, pulling down six of his eight rebounds in the first half. "I'm just doing what I do best" he said during intermission, when asked about his dominance on the boards. "I'm coming out here to make a name for myself, but I'm really trying to win the game for real".
His teammate, Wisconsin bound Charlie Thomas IV was a force inside down the stretch; the River Hill (MD) standout forward logged a rugged 13 points and six rebounds, saying afterward "The second half we had to come out stronger than in the first, we were a little timid in the first".
The game's top rebounder, Capital All Star and National Christian (MD) center Sylvester Ogbonda swiped 13 caroms, afterward labeling the contest "very physical". Ogbonda will be a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket next year.
Dozier wasn't shocked by the Capital All Star's effort: "I knew they were going to play hard- nosed defense and go at us the whole time. We're up North, that's what they do".
UNC - headed forward Luke Maye of Hough HS (NC) an US All Star garnered the MVP nod with his 15 point, 12 rebound performance. Guard Haanif Cheatham (Marquette, Pembroke Pines of FL) joined him in scoring 15 points, while Malik Beasley, a St. Francis (GA) guard headed to FSU equaled Dozier with 16 points and three assists, in addition to pulling down six rebounds.
Mater Dei (CA) guard Rex Pfluger, a future Notre Dame athlete, finished with 14 points and six rebounds for US All Star coach Steve Turner, who in the end bested his star charge, Bryant Crawford, who he coached at Gonzaga.
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