"It's All About The Game"

National High School Hoops Festival Recaps – First Day






Ron Bailey, Publisher



December 10, 2007 – Following are reports on day one of the National High School Hoops Festival, held at Upper Marlboro, MD’s Henry J. Wise High School last Saturday and Sunday. Organized by Keith Stevens and Ken Johnson, the Festival boasted 15 high school boy’s teams from the DC/Baltimore area, as well as squads calling New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Texas.

Bishop McNamara 63 Laurel 57

McNamara (MD), coached by Marty Keithline, managed to secure a slight 23-20 end of first quarter lead, and protect it for its eventual 62-57 victory. Laurel (MD) did earn a three point advantage in the second quarter, but spirited play by junior frontcourt man Talib Zanna (21 points, 10 rebounds), fellow junior swingman Rashad Whack (13 points), along with senior point guard Marc Hill (13 points) erased that.

Rashad Whack (23) is here guarding Reggie Young (9 points). Talib Zanna is in the background.

Zanna pounded the rims consistently before fouling out late in the game – and was named MVP for his work - while Whack shot from the perimeter and Hill ran the show with aplomb.

Afterward, Keithline explained “I’m proud of our kids” as they fought tooth and nail despite a recent, disheartening loss to WCAC rival, Archbishop Carroll. “They came off that loss to Carroll and won a close one”.

Laurel was led by the strong play of junior swingman Marcus Hebron (22 points), who scored at the rim and from mid-range. Senior big man Will Alston (18 points) was a consistent force underneath the rim, and even attempted a late three pointer he explained was shot “because nobody else was getting open, and the clock was running down”.

Riverdale Baptist 85 Wise 70

Wise, considered by i95Ballerz.com as the favorite to win Maryland’s Prince George’s County 4A league, took one on the chin from fellow Upper Marlboro school, Riverdale Baptist. The victor’s coach, Lou Wilson, wasn’t surprised.

“It’s just another great victory for us” said the bench leader who has also led public school teams. “You (i95Ballerz.com) give us love, but we don’t get if from other media outlets. We once again have to show we are one of, if not the best team in Upper Marlboro” (Wise and Largo High School are the other contenders).

Riverdale Baptist

Leading the Crusaders were junior guard Chad Wilson (16 points) and Brian Wilson (13 points, MVP). The cousin combo supplied penetration (Chad) and timely points from all over the floor (Brian). Riverdale Baptist also got good inside contributions from senior Phillip Brooks (15 points).

Wilson, who was happy with the play of his team generally, when asked specifically of Brian, his son, said “He was steady as a rock. He made shots when we needed him to. He really stepped up”. One such play was early in the fourth quarter, with Riverdale Baptist only leading 55-53; Brian used a nice change of pace dribble to get to the rim and convert.

Home standing Wise was led by the ever athletic and strong play of junior swingman David Galladay (15 points) and the quickness-based maneuvers of senior guard Antoine Brown (14 points). The school also benefited from senior guard Donald Williams’ (13 points) offensively electrifying second quarter scoring spree.

St. Raymonds 86 Carroll 69

Leading only 41-36 at halftime and by seven at the end of the third quarter, St. Raymonds (NY) extended their lead down the stretch, culminating in a comfortable 86-69 victory over Archbishop Carroll (DC). Leading their charge was senior point guard and game MVP Darryl Bryant (25 points, 7 assists), who not only controlled the game’s tempo, but also penetrated virtually at will and played good on ball defense: His play demonstrated why West Virginia University recruited him. Bryant, who has accepted their scholarship offer, will fit in well there.

Darryl Bryant, who dominated at the point guard positon, was presented with MVP honors by Festival organizer, Keith Stevens.

He also had major help, namely from a pair of talented juniors, swingman Omari Lawrence (23 points) and forward Kevin Parrom (15 points), both highly recruited players. Lawrence consistently got to the rim and hit mid range jumpers, while Parrom posted, defended, ran the floor, and rebounded.

Carroll was led by junior swingman and future Kansas State student-athlete Rodney McGruder (26 points), who at times put on a highlight reel performance on both ends of the floor. Not only did he score by attacking the rim, but McGruder also defended with aplomb and helped to run the squad’s offense. Athird quarter sequence illustrates this: With his team trailing 39-32 and Carroll in jeopardy of losing momentum, Rodney took a shot that missed. Not quitting on the play, he then raced back down court and blocked a fast break layup attempt by Bryant. Soon thereafter, he would operate a high pick and roll set with teammate Kris Joseph (20 points), supplying a deft pass, leading to a bucket.

Afterward, Joseph, who scored most of his buckets in the second half, shared “My coaches told me in the first half let the game come to me, so I was getting my teammates involved first off. But in the second half I just felt the need to be more aggressive on the offensive end”.

Of the victory, Bryant noted “It was a good win for us. They came back, they made a good run. We had to pick it up on defense”.

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