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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / December 18.
  • LIVE BLOG: Primetime Shootout; Oak Hill Downs St. Pat's; Hurleys Achieve Milestones

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    TRENTON, N.J. — I came down here from the UConn-Seton Hall game in time to watch the last four games of the day: St. Benedict’s-Mountain State (W.Va.), St. Anthony-Hotchkiss (Conn.), Lincoln-Westchester (Ca) and St. Patrick-Oak Hill. Here goes:

    COACHES I’VE SEEN: Bob Huggins & Larry Harrison (W. Va.), Jorge Fernandez (Miami), Craig Carter (Rutgers), Chris Casey (St. John’s),  Scott Adubato (Seton Hall), Pat Sellers (UConn), Jay Wright & Jason Donnelly (Villanova), Brock Erickson (Monroe College).

    OAK HILL 73, ST. PATRICK 64

    Doron Lamb and Pe’Shon Howard went 4-of-4 from the line in the final few seconds and Oak Hill (Va.) remained undefeated by virtue of its 73-64 win over St. Patrick (N.J.) at the Sovereign Bank Arena.

    “Oak Hill [is] coming for the No. 1 spot,” Oklahoma-bound big man Keith Tiny” Gallon, who finished with 12 rebounds and nine points, said as he walked around the court in the final seconds.

    Oak Hill (33-0) is No. 3 in the USA Today Super 25 and RivalsHigh 100, while St. Patrick is No. 4.

    This looked like a college game, not a high school one, in terms of the quickness, athleticism, shot selection and execution of both teams. The game featured 10 ties and 19 lead changes.

    Villanova coach Jay Wright and West Virginia coach Bob Huggins both sat courtside to check out the bevy of future college stars.

    West Virginiabound junior guard Bryon Allen was named MVP for Oak Hill. He scored nine of his team-high 17 points in the fourth quarter.

    Lamb added 15 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists and Glenn Bryant also had 15 points. Howard scored 12.

    “It was a big game for us, rivalry,” said Lamb, a sophomore guard out of Brooklyn who transferred from Bishop Loughlin over the summer. “We lost last year, so we tried to come out harder than last year. We wanted the game more than them second half.”

    “They played pretty well,”  said North Carolina-bound guard and McDonald’s All-American Dexter Strickland of St. Patrick, who scored nine points. “I think everybody on their team played pretty good. Momo [Jones] played pretty good, Tiny played real well. I think my team could’ve done better. We could’ve done better on defense.”

    6-7 super sophomore Mike Gilchrist (pictured courtesy The Star-Ledger) was spectacular in putting up a game-high 28 points — several on eye-popping dunks and moves near the basket — and nine rebounds en route to team MVP honors for St. Patrick (20-3). George-Mason commit Paris Bennett added 14 points and junior guard Kyrie Irving had nine.

    St. Patrick was coming off Friday night’s win over Lincoln in the Nike Super 6 on ESPN2 in which Strickand and Irving scored 16 points apiece.

    Gilchrist scored 18 points in the first half, including eight straight to give the Celtics a 29-26 lead late in the first half. He had an alley-oop dunk in between two Oak Hill defenders and then drove in and scored on a nifty scoop layup.

    “That’s a big night for [Gilchrist],” Strickland said. “He’s going to bring it every night. His mentality on the court is just a killer mentality.

    “If he gets stronger and gets his ball dribbling down, he’s already unstoppable. But he’ll be on another planet if he does that.”

    The game was knotted at 53 before Allen scored five unanswered points, scoring on a twisting spin move, a subsequent free throw and a driving layup, to push it to 58-53.

    Bennett scored for the Celtics to cut it to 60-57, but the Warriors extended the lead to 69-61 on a putback dunk and a layup by Allen.

    St. Patrick drew to within 69-64 on a 3-pointer by Irving, but Howard and Lamb closed the game out from the line.

    “The first half I didn’t play that good,” Lamb said. “I was missing balls and all that, but the second half I tried to pick it up and be more aggressive. That’s what I did second half.”

    While Oak Hill will participate in the inaugural ESPN/Nike National Invitational, Washington, D.C. April 3-5, St. Patrick remains the odds-on favorite to capture the progam’s fifth New Jersey Tournament of Champions title on March 21 at the Izod Center.

    The Celtics would presumably have to go through either Paterson Catholic or defending TOC winner St. Anthony to win the Non-Public North B crown.

    “We’ll focus on the counties,” Strickland said. “Trying to win the states and trying to win the TOC.”

    ST. ANTHONY 71, HOTCHKISS (Conn.) 45

    The Friars busted out a can on the Connecticut team, getting 25 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists from Villanova-bound wing Dominic Cheek, en route to a 71-45 victory.

    With Villanova-coach Jay Wright looking on, Cheek shot 10-for-21 from the floor, but just 1-of-6 from beyond the arc. He looked impressive in driving to the basket on several occasions instead of always setting for the jumper and was named his team’s MVP.

    Junior forward Devon Collier added 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting and grabbed 11 boards and Ashton Pankey scored 14 points.

    St. Anthony broke the game open by outscoring Hotckhiss 41-19 in the second and third quarters to turn an 18-16 lead into a 59-35 rout.

    Derrick Wilson was named MVP for Hotchkiss after scoring 12 points. Kellen Jones added 11.

    Coach Bob Hurley, just nominated for the Naismith Hall of Fame, earned career win No. 953. He is trying to become the first coach in Jersey history to win 1,000 career games.

    After losing to Long Island Lutheran earlier in the week, Hurley mixed up his lineup a bit, bringing Derrick Williams off the bench and starting Cheek, Collier, Jamee Jackson, Elijah Carter and Devon McLeod.

    WESTCHESTER 85, LINCOLN 78

    Junior guard Jordin Mayes had a game-high 32 points, hitting six 3-pointers and going a perfect 8-of-8 from the stripe, as Westchester (24-2), ranked No. 9 in the RivalsHigh 100, handed Lincoln (16-10) yet another showcase loss, 85-78. Mayes was named his team’s MVP.

    Dominique O’Connor added 24 points for the Los Angeles school and was 14-of-19 from the line. USC-bound junior guard Dwayne Polee scored 10 points.

    Lance Stephenson led Lincoln with 26 points and 11 rebounds,  Maryland-bound forward James Padgett added 23 points and 11 boards and Shaquille Stokes scored 16.

    Stephenson, who will visit Kansas Feb. 21, wore Nike Air Jordans despite all the fuss last night at the Nike Super 6 where Lincoln lost to St. Patrick (N.J.) and then had its complimentary Nikes taken out of its locker room because the players didn’t wear the sneakers in the game.

    Mayes  hit four 3’s in the third period — all from the same spot on the right wing — when Westchester outscored Lincoln 24-18. He was a perfect 4-of-4 of the line in the final 30 seconds.

    Lincoln is playing five games in six days and must turn around Sunday night and play Thomas Jefferson for the Brooklyn Borough championship at 7 p.m. at LIU. Jefferson will likely be without senior guard Keith Spellman in that tilt. Spellman is suffering from back spasms that could end his season, according to FiveBoroSports.com.

    ST. BENEDICT’S 75, MOUNTAIN STATE 61

    Playing its first game of the post-Tristan Thompson Era, St. Benedict’s overcame a slow start to beat up on Mountain State (W. Va.), 75-61, to give head coach Dan Hurley his 200th career victory.

    “I set a goal for our program a couple of years ago to try to win our 200th before we lost our 20th,” Hurley, who is now 200-19 in eight seasons at the Newark school, told The Star-Ledger. “I think that with everything that’s gone on in the last 10 days, it’s been a tough patch for us.”

    After starting the season 19-0, St. Ben’s lost back-to-back games to Mater Dei and St. Patrick.

    Then last week Hurley dismissed the 6-foot-8 Thompson, the No. 5-rated player in the Class of 2010 according to Rivals,  from the team last week for “public insubordination.” The story was first reported by ZAGSBLOG; Thompson will resurface at Findlay Prep.

    Junior guard Aaron Brown had 16 points, Rice-bound guard Tamir Jackson,  Pitt-bound forward Lamar Patterson and Mike Poole added 15 points apiece. Patterson also grabbed 14 boards and was named team MVP.

    West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins and assistant Larry Harrison were on hand to watch their recruits, but 6-9 senior Deniz Kilicli battled foul trouble and finished with eight points. 6-2 West Virginia-bound junior point guard Noah Cottrill tallied a game-high 18 points and was named team MVP.

    6-7 junior wing Shaquille Thomas, who began the year at Paterson Catholic, scored nine points, four on putback dunks, and added five rebounds. After nearly committing to Syracuse last year, he says he’s now considering Syracuse, Florida, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Clemson and Kansas.

    “They’re all looking at me very hard,” he said.

    (Photo courtesy

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.