High-SchoolWashington-DC: Must See

ESPNHS Baseball Players of the Week

May, 31, 2012
5/31/12
9:30
AM ET
(After games of Tuesday, May 29)

One player is chosen from each region of the country. The only other criteria is that no player will be chosen more than once during a season.

EAST

Max Banks, Northwest (Germantown, Md.)
The senior outfielder-pitcher was a major cog in the first state championship won by the Jaguars. Northwest capped the run with a 7-6 Class 4A finals' victory over Arundel (Gambrills, Md.) in 12 innings, the longest final in state history. Northwest had to rally in the 7th and 10th innings to remain alive. In the postseason, Banks went 3-0 on the mound with a 1.22 earned run average. At the plate, he batted .600 with seven runs batted in, seven stolen bases and eight runs scored.

SOUTHEAST

Matt Olson, Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.)
Parkview’s two victories over Brookwood (Snellville, Ga.) in the Class AAAAA state championship series were both sparked by Olson. The Vanderbilt recruit was the winning pitcher and hit a two-run homer in the first game. He then hit a two-out, two-run homer in the seventh inning in the second game. For the season, Olson batted .407 with 11 homers and 51 RBIs. He also had a 12-1 mound mark with a 1.64 ERA. Parkview won its second straight state title and at 31-6 was moved up to No. 19 in this week’s FAB 50.

MIDWEST

Brian Burkhart, Moeller (Cincinnati)
The senior pitcher hurled his first career no-hitter as the Crusaders (24-5) blanked Anderson (Cincinnati) 3-0 in a Division I regional semifinal. Burkhart allowed only three base-runners -- two on walks and one hit batsman, while striking out six. Moeller's ace improved to 9-1 on the season with a 0.82 ERA and 53 strikeouts entering this week's state semifinals.

MIDLANDS

Derik Beauprez, Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Colo.)
A 6-foot-4 junior known mostly for his hitting, Beauprez took the ball as the pitcher for the Bruins in their Class 5A state championship game last weekend against Legend (Parker, Colo.). The result was a nine-strikeout, one-hitter as Cherry Creek prevailed 6-0 and earned the eighth state crown for longtime coach Marc Johnson. Beauprez also hit a two-run homer earlier in the day when Cherry Creek ousted defending champion Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) in the semifinals.

WEST

Cameron Stewart, Valley Christian (San Jose, Calif.)
With the CIF Central Coast Section Division I championship on the line, this 6-foot-9 senior right-hander pitched a no-hitter and struck out six in a 3-1 win for the Warriors over San Benito (Hollister, Calif.). Stewart, who will play next year at Fresno State, was a hitting-pitching standout all season for Valley Christian and is a candidate for numerous postseason honors. In 62 innings this season, he allowed just 10 earned runs while striking out 70.

Get Familiar: Super soph. Da'Shawn Hand

May, 28, 2012
5/28/12
8:04
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These days it’s tough to find a college football team that isn’t interested in landing Da’Shawn Hand. The sophomore from Woodbridge (Va.) has more than 30 offers from Alabama to Stanford and just about everywhere in between.

It’s easy to see why. Hand is as gregarious off the field as he is ferocious on it. And on the field, he’s a sight to be seen. The 6-foot-4, 238-pound defensive end put up a ridiculous 21 sacks to go with his 84 tackles this past fall. The Vikings finished with a 6-4 record, but expectations for this season are much higher.

It’s numbers like those that have made Hand one of the most popular athletes in the Class of 2014. Following his impressive performance at the Baltimore NFTC, Hand took down Top Underclassman honors as well as an invite to The Opening at the Nike Headquarters in July, and he has some speculating he could be the nation’s No. 1 recruit next season.

None of this, however, has gotten to Hand’s head. Despite all the offers and attention, Hand says he’s still got plenty to prove. What’s left for the stellar soph? We’ll let him tell you as we Get Familiar with Da’Shawn Hand.

ESPNHS: What was your reaction when you were told you got an invite to The Opening?
Hand
: I was just shocked and honored. I’ve seen clips of The Opening on YouTube and ESPN, and I was excited to be a part of it. The top 150 players in the country, and it’s Nike, so you can’t do better than that.

ESPNHS: What are some things you felt you did that impressed the coaches at the event?
Hand
: My technique, footwork and balance and stuff were good. I felt pretty good, overall, but I definitely noticed what I needed to improve on.

ESPNHS: Was there one event you felt like you really shined in?
Hand
: The one-on-ones, definitely, in terms of the competition. It was a good learning experience for me. I went up against some great offensive linemen.

ESPNHS: What are some things you feel like you learned from the coaches at the Baltimore event?
Hand
: There was a lot. There were a lot of very, very good coaches and they influenced me a lot. There were some pass rushing techniques and a lot of just basic knowledge of the game. It was cool just to see how they look at everything and just seeing what they did. It was a nice learning experience.

ESPNHS: Your popularity has skyrocketed this summer. Do you feel like a lot has changed?
Hand
: I don’t really worry about that stuff. I just try to focus on improving myself as a player, as a student and as a person.

ESPNHS: Tell us a little about your summer, what else do you have planned?
Hand
: Oh man, the summer is going to be really busy. I’m going to some camps at Virginia Tech and at Alabama, and I’m headed to The Opening on July 5 … and after that, it’s back to practice to get ready for the fall season.

ESPNHS: What’s the goal for Woodbridge this season?
Hand
: We want to win states, have the No. 1 defense in the state, be ranked No. 1 in scoring defense and just be dominant.

ESPNHS: Oh that’s it, huh?
Hand
: Our defense has a lot of returners, and our offense is piecing things together. I think during two-a-days they’ll get that all sorted out.

ESPNHS: You’re going to be one of the leaders this fall. Is that something you’re looking forward to?
Hand
: I’m definitely looking forward to seeing my team grow. A lot of people say I’m going to be the one that other teams targeted, but we have a lot of pieces on defense. If those other teams don’t worry about a lot of our other key players, they’ll get beat, and then they’ll stop worrying about me as much.

ESPNHS: What else do you have planned for this summer other than football?
Hand
: Definitely hitting up some amusement parks. I love roller coasters. No matter where I go, I always have to find the best roller coasters. I even get the fast pass so I can get right to the front of the line. Maybe the next time we talk, we’ll do our interview on a roller coaster. I bet we’d be the first guys to try that.

DA’SHAWN HAND
School: Woodbridge (Va.)
Class
: 2014
Position
: Defensive end
HT
: 6-4
WT
: 238
College
: Undecided

FAVORITES
Food: Seafood
Athlete: Jason Pierre-Paul
Video Game: NCAA Football 12
Pre-Game Song: Anything that cranks with a nice bass

Christopher Parish covers high school sports for ESPNHS. Follow him on Twitter @CParishESPN.


Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) junior Dorian O’Daniel knows all about the importance of tradition.

And it’s tradition that’s helped the Falcons become one of the nation’s top football programs. Specifically, it’s the upperclassmen’s job to pass along all the integral knowledge, like what makes Good Counsel so successful, to the talented newcomers.

So that means spending extra time in the weight room and studying the playbook off the field and then filling your role come game time.

O’Daniel, who moved from Pittsburgh in the seventh grade, was taught all of that coming up at Good Counsel, and now he’s sharing all he’s learned to the underclassmen. And that will be especially important this season as the young Falcons look to replace several talented players from a team that finished undefeated for first time in school history, captured its third straight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title and was ranked No. 5 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Rated the nation’s No. 73 recruit in the ESPN 150, O’Daniel played a huge role on last season’s team while splitting time at running back and outside linebacker. He finished with 897 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on 127 carries (7.1 yards per carry) and 38.5 tackles (15.5 for loss) and five sacks on defense.

This will be O’Daniel’s first season as a full-time starter at both positions this fall, and he and the likes of teammate Kendall Fuller, the No. 27 recruit in the ESPN 150, will look to make sure Good Counsel keeps up its winning ways.

O’Daniel made sure there won’t be any distractions by committing to Clemson in April. And his focus was on display at the Baltimore Nike Football Training Camp, where he earned an invite to The Opening.

Get Familiar with the two-way standout to see what he’s looking forward to this year.

ESPNHS: What does it mean to play for Good Counsel?
O’Daniel: It’s truly a blessing just to be a part of Good Counsel. One of the first things people think about Good Counsel is they produce good student-athletes, and to be a part of that is a good feeling.

ESPNHS: How would you describe what you were able to accomplish last year and how can you do more of the same this fall?
O’Daniel: Coming into the season, we knew everyone was going to try to knock us off the top, so we had to play extra hard every week. It’s more of a responsibility for us this year. We have big shoes to fill. Everyone is going to have to play their role. We’re making sure the young guys are in the weight room every day. You have to start this bond early so things will click once the season starts.

I’m looking forward to (this year) a lot. It’s my senior year. I’m not going to get any games back, so I’m going to leave it all out on the field.

ESPNHS: What led you to pick Clemson?
O’Daniel: Just going down there and getting the whole experience, I got a good vibe. It felt like a family atmosphere. It felt like home, honestly. If I’m spending four years in college, I want to feel comfortable there. There’s more to life than football. I’m focusing on getting a good education at Clemson and being productive in football.

ESPNHS: Have you talked to the coaching staff about letting you play a little running back?
O’Daniel: Right now, it’s strictly linebacker. The thought has crossed my mind about playing both ways.

ESPNHS: Does it help having teammates like Kendall Fuller going through the process with you and are you trying to get him to commit to Clemson now?
O’Daniel: Kendall is my brother. Just to talk about recruiting and comparing and contrasting thoughts to mine is huge. I’m in his ear about Clemson all the time. But it’s all fun and games right now.

ESPNHS: Who do you credit the most for getting you to this point?
O’Daniel: My mom, Kerri. She’s made so many sacrifices for me. I owe it all to her. She stood by me through the whole recruiting process. She’s put a lot on the line to help me.

DORIAN O’DANIEL
School: Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)
Class: 2013
Position: Running back/outside linebacker
HT: 6-1
WT: 205
College: Clemson

FAVORITES
TV Show: “Gruden QB Camp”
Movie: “Friday”
Musical Artist: Juicy J
Athlete: Reggie Bush
Pro Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
School Subject: English
Food: Steak and potatoes

FAB 50 Offseason Primer: Good Counsel

April, 11, 2012
4/11/12
9:57
AM ET
Kendall FullerCourtesy of Good Counsel AthleticsElite junior defensive back Kendall Fuller is one of several standouts returning for Good Counsel (Olney, Md.), which finished No. 5 in last season's POWERADE FAB 50.
During the offseason, we’ll check out one team per week that looks like a sure bet to be among the best in the nation in 2012.

FAB 50 Offseason Primer Archive

This week’s team: Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)

2011 Season: 13-0, Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champion, No. 5 in final POWERADE FAB 50.

Projected 2012 Preseason Ranking: Top 30. The Falcons will return several experienced members of the school's first perfect squad. Last season's No. 5 ranking was bolstered by the defeat of eventual Florida state champion Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.), but a rematch isn't in the works for the upcoming season. Good Counsel does return enough key personnel to earn a FAB 50 spot to start the season -- the only question is, how high?

Team Strengths: The Falcons graduated some big-time playmakers, like Stefon Diggs, but return several defensive standouts in addition to quarterback Brendan Marshall. The most touted defender will be secondary star Kendall Fuller, but the defense should have additional linchpins such as linebackers Marcel Ngachie, Dorian O'Daniel, Reggie McGee and Darien Carr and secondary veterans Kirk Garner and C. J. Jones. Kobe Walker will be in the secondary mix, while C. J. Carroll is another receiver to watch. Sam Mustipher, Michael Konrad and Joe Ralli will anchor the o-line. And, of course, it doesn't hurt to have the state's all-time winningest coach, Bob Milloy, who will enter his 43rd season with a 365-106-1 record.

Another Maryland team to watch: Gilman (Baltimore) will be in the running with Good Counsel for Maryland preseason No. 1. The Greyhounds return their quarterback, Shane Cockerille, as well as three highly touted college prospects in defensive lineman Henry Poggi, son of head coach Biff Poggi; linebacker Micah Kiser (6-2, 220); and linebacker Melvin Keihn (6-3, 230). Gilman ended last season with a 10-1 record and a No. 21 FAB 50 ranking. It's lone loss was to Good Counsel and it handed Virginia champion and FAB 50 No. 43 Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) its only loss. The Greyhounds will face a tough early test against Moeller (Cincinnati) on Aug. 26.

Montverde squeaks past Montrose Christian

March, 30, 2012
3/30/12
2:46
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BETHESDA, Md. -- Instant analysis from No. 3 seed Montverde’s (Fla.) 50-47 win over No. 2 seed Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) in the semifinals of the ESPNHS National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep on Friday:

Overview: The Eagles, who are ranked No. 12 in the POWERADE FAB 50, had to adjust to Montrose’s frantic defensive pressure, but when they figured it out, they made the Mustangs pay by moving the ball around and finding the open man. Michael Frazier knocked down two threes to ignite an early 8-0 run and put the Eagles ahead after falling behind 4-0. Still, neither team could do much to separate itself in the first half. It wasn’t until the third quarter that the Eagles’ duo of Frazier and Kasey Hill, who led the Eagles with 20 points, started to really expose Montrose’s overzealous defensive scheme. That led to a 12-point Montverde lead headed into the fourth. The Mustangs, who are ranked No. 9 in the FAB 50, stormed back in the fourth quarter and took their first lead, 41-40, with 2:11 left in regulation on Michael Carrera’s putback layup. Down the stretch, Hill came up with big buckets to give the Eagles a cushion. Mustangs forward Justin Anderson’s halfcourt heave at the buzzer missed off the back of the rim and the Eagles marched on. Montrose won the ESPNHS NHSI last year, a double-overtime thriller over Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.).

“They just couldn’t score in the halfcourt set,” said Montverde coach Kevin Boyle said. “They had one basket in the halfcourt in the first half. We just really tightened up defensively and got a big win over a great team.”

Turning Point: After the Mustangs opened the fourth quarter on a 14-2 run and eventually took the lead, Hill responded by scoring six of the Eagles’ final 10 points to seal the win.

“I wasn’t gonna lose the game,” said Hill, a Florida commit. “I knew that I could get to the rim when I wanted to, and I would have to step up and make plays. I didn’t want to let my team down.”

Key Player: Anderson, the No. 55 player in the ESPNU 100, had one of his worst statistical games of the season, shooting just 1 of 14 from the field and finishing with just three points. He was scoreless in the first half, and scored his only field goal on a breakaway layup with 5:14 left in the third quarter.

“It happens as a ballplayer,” said Anderson, a Virginia signee. “Sometimes you have bad games. This was just a bad game for me.”

Added Boyle: “Kasey did a terrific job guarding Justin. He forced him into tough shots all day and when he drove he had to shoot over our big guys. Kasey’s impact defensively was huge.”

Key Stat: The Mustangs shot 7 of 16 from the 3-point line in their quarterfinal win over Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.). But in the loss to Montverde, Montrose missed all seven of its attempts from downtown.

“We did a great job of getting our hands up on their shot attempts,” Boyle said. “I don’t think they had a clean look all day, and that’s a credit to the kids and their defensive pressure.”

Up Next: The Mustangs will face the winner of No. 1 seed Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) and No. 4 St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) in the title game Saturday (2 p.m. ET on ESPN). Findlay Prep is ranked No. 2 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

Findlay Prep cruises into NHSI semis

March, 29, 2012
3/29/12
10:45
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video
BETHESDA, Md. -- Instant analysis from No. 1 seed Findlay Prep's (Henderson, Nev.) 79-44 victory over No. 8 seed Coolidge (Washington, D.C.) in Thursday's quarterfinals of the ESPNHS National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep.

Overview: Findlay Prep coach Mike Peck didn't start forwards Anthony Bennett and Brandon Ashley, McDonald's All-Americans who played in Chicago on Wednesday night. It hardly mattered as the Pilots were just too big and talented. Nearly every field goal Coolidge made was a chore and Coolidge was out rebounded, 60-29.

After leading 18-12 at the end of the first quarter, Findlay Prep doubled up on the Colts by the middle of the second quarter and never looked back. "Rebounding was the difference in the game," Coolidge coach Mike Jones said. "Our speed usually gives top teams problems, but we just missed the shots we needed to make."

Turning Point: When Findlay Prep took the floor and jumped out to a 7-2 lead. The Pilots quickly established it would take a near miracle for the Washington D.C. Public Schools champs to stay within single digits. Outside of two spectacular lay-ups by Central Connecticut State recruit Khalen Cumberlander (team-high 13 points) that cut Coolidge's deficit to three points (12-9) midway through the first quarter, once-beaten Findlay Prep was firmly in control. To put it into perspective, Coolidge lost to POWERADE FAB 50 No. 13 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) in the Abe Polin City Title Game on March 20 by six points, 70-64.

Key Player: Bennett. When he entered the game with 4:32 remaining in the first quarter it changed its complexion. Bennett, ranked No. 7 in the ESPNU 100, played 13 minutes in the McDonald's Game. While Ashley's fatigue from his 15 minutes in that game, combined with the travel from Chicago to Maryland, caused him to play sluggishly, Bennett was dialed in. The unsigned recruit played inspired on the defensive end and was a difficult match up for Coolidge's defense. He constantly drew fouls underneath and finished plays in transition.

Bennett finished with a game-high 23 points in 18 minutes. He made 14-of-17 free throws and also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. "I didn't want to have the same thing that happened to us last year (a quarterfinal loss) happen again," Bennett said. "I want to play for the opportunity to win a national championship."

Key Stat: Findlay Prep made 18-of-23 free throws in the first half when they built a 43-25 lead. Coolidge just didn't have the size inside to contend with the two-time NHSI champions. When the Pilots got fouled, they went to the line and converted to create separation. For the game, Findlay Prep went 31-of-43 from the charity stripe, whereas Coolidge went 8-of-15.

Up Next: The Pilots, ranked No. 2 in the FAB 50, will meet No. 15 St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) in tomorrow's second boys' semifinal at 1:30 PM ET. All the top seeds and higher ranked team won in their openers.

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN

Montrose Christian rolls past Ravenscroft

March, 29, 2012
3/29/12
7:19
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video

BETHESDA, Md. -- Instant analysis from No. 2 seed Montrose Christian’s (Rockville, Md.) 64-48 win over No. 7 seed Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.) in the quarterfinals of the National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep Thursday:

Overview: Montrose Christian, ranked No. 9 in the POWERADE Fab 50, caught fire early, draining three 3-pointers in the first quarter to claim an early 16-7 lead. Montrose forward Justin Anderson had two of his own and ramped up the defensive pressure to help the Mustangs force eight turnovers and keep the Ravens at bay for much of the first half.

Montrose shot 60 percent from the 3-point line in the first half. Then Mustangs went on a 9-0 run midway through the third that devastated Ravenscroft.

The Ravens started forcing tough, contested threes and folding under the Mustangs’ intense defensive pressure.

“We had to get our rhythm back because we hadn’t played in a long time,” said Montrose coach Stu Vetter. “But these guys are strong and they really battled. Our defensive intensity was the difference in the game. We picked up our momentum defensively and that’s what got it done.”

Turning Point: Up just 36-32 midway through the third quarter, Montrose forward Ishmail Wainright caught Yuri Togashi’s missed three off the rim and flushed it with authority, sending the Montrose-heavy crowd into a frenzy. On the next play, the Mustangs forced a turnover and found Anderson in the right corner for the three. Then, after another Ravenscroft turnover, Togashi threw Anderson an alley-oop in transition.

That sequence of events seemed to take the Ravens’ heart.

“Their physicality hurt us,” Ravenscroft coach Kevin Billerman said. “We’d cut it to four, but then they went on that explosion and that made it really tough for us.”

Key Player: Anderson was a matchup problem for the Ravens all night. When they sagged off he drained threes and when they pushed up on him he drove the lane and made plays. Anderson finished with 21 points, four rebounds and three assists.

“Justin’s one of the best players in the country,” Vetter said. “I’ve coached a lot of great players and he’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached. I think a lot of people have overlooked him as far as McDonald’s and Jordan All-American games. He’s one of the best players in the country without question.”

Ravenscroft guard Anton Gill drained two 3-pointers in the loss, tying the Ravenscroft record for career 3-pointers at 106, which had been held by Corwin Davis, who starred at Ravenscroft from 1997-2001.

Key Stat: The Ravens shot just 4 of 21 (19 percent) from the 3-point line in their loss. During the regular season they shot 34 percent and broke a school record for 3-pointers made with 138. The old record was 130.

“We haven’t played a game in 32 days,” Billerman said. “We’ve only had seven practices over that time so that’s rough. We had good looks, but we just couldn’t get them to fall.”

Up Next: The Mustangs will face No. 3 seed Montverde (Fla.) Friday (11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2) in the semifinals. Montverde, ranked No. 12 in the POWERADE FAB 50, knocked off La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) 62-54 Thursday in the quarterfinals.

“They’re a great team,” Wainright said of Montverde. “They really play hard, and I’m looking forward to playing against them.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

NHSI preview: Calvin Coolidge

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
10:45
PM ET
Team: No. 8 seed Calvin Coolidge (Washington, D.C.)
Record, FAB 50 Rank: 29-7, NR
Head Coach: Vaughn Jones (5th year at school, 153-40 career record)

Key Players:

Khalen Cumberlander
The 6-foot-3 senior guard is the Colts’ leading scorer, averaging 17.5 points per game to go with five rebounds and 5.3 assists. Cumberlander, a Central Connecticut State signee, is the Colts’ floor general, but also hunts his shots and typically has no problem finding them with more than 1,000 points in his career. Cumberlander is an exceptional athlete who gets into the lane at will.

DeShaun Morman
Morman is arguably the toughest matchup problem for opposing teams because of his relentless athletic ability. He averages 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, five assists and five steals per game and has turned in more highlights for the Colts than any other player. Morman dropped 30 points in the Colts’ big win over Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) this season and has led the Colts in scoring over their last 10 games.

Maurice Jeffers
Jeffers anchors the paint for the Colts and pumps in 10 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks per game despite only playing organized basketball for four years. Jeffers, a 6-foot-9 forward who is signed to Delaware, is the king of intangibles and has a knack for being wherever the ball is at the right time.

Road to NHSI:

The Colts are riding a 20-game winning streak and had one of their most impressive wins over NHSI No. 2 seed Montrose Christian in early February. That gave Coolidge an incredible amount of confidence to finish out the season strong. The Colts went on to win the DCIAA league title for the first time in 25 years. Coolidge will face Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), who is ranked No. 9 in the POWERADE FAB 50, Tuesday for the city title.

“We’ve had our plate full this year,” Jones said. “But our guys have really risen to the challenge and battled hard. I definitely feel like we’re one of the top teams in the country, and that’s what we want to prove in the NHSI.”

Inside Scoop:

You better lace up your track shoes when facing Coolidge, as the Colts push the ball up the floor every chance they get. With exceptional guards like Morman and Cumberlander, the Colts effectively utilize the dribble-drive offense and make 11 threes on average every game. Omar Roberts and Sam Briggs are the Colts' most deadly 3-point marksmen.

“We’re definitely not shy about letting the shots go up,” Jones said. “We just attack at all times and just try and bring it to the opposing team on the offensive end. We also defend really well.”

The Colts hold teams to just 55 points per game and score 78 points per game.

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

NHSI preview: Montrose Christian

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
10:43
PM ET
Team: No. 2 seed Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.)
Record, FAB 50 Rank: 20-2, No. 9 (No. 4 in the East)
Head Coach: Stu Vetter (13th year at school, 301-41 record; 36-year career, four schools, 858-107 record)

Key Players:

Justin Anderson
The 6-foot-7, 220-pound senior forward is capping his four-year Mustang career with a chance to repeat as an NHSI champion. Vetter describes him as a "winner" since he has played the last two years on teams with only three losses by a total of six points. The University of Virginia recruit is ranked No. 55 in the ESPNU 100 and has surpassed the 1,000 point mark for his career. "He's improved each year on both ends of the court and is an amazing athlete, maybe the best I've coached and I've had some good ones," says Vetter. "He not only jumps high, but with power." This season, Anderson averages a team-best 18 points a game. He shoots over 70 percent both from the floor and free throw line.

Michael Carrera
A three-year Montrose veteran, the 6-foot-6 senior forward is the team's top rebounder (10.2) and second-leading scorer (13 ppg.). "Michael is one of six seniors who provide leadership to the team," Vetter says. "He's steady and consistent and makes plays. He's a rock under the basket and has been a big part of our success the last couple of years. He's gotten stronger and can match up with a lot of opponents." Carrera does more than turn in double-doubles, as he's also makes big defensive plays when the Mustangs need them and provides an emotional spark.

Ishmail Wainwright
Vetter labels this 6-foot-6, 220-pound forward "one of the best juniors in the country. He can play all five positions." Rated No. 27 in the ESPNU 60, Wainwright is one of the better passing forwards around with a team-best 8.2 assists per game. He also averages eight points and 2.9 steals a game. "He makes everyone better," Vetter notes. The touted underclassman has several college offers including UCLA, Kansas and Duke.

Road to NHSI:

The defending NHSI champion started the season ranked No. 4 in the FAB 50 and has only faltered twice — both by two points. The Mustangs bowed to host Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) by 42-40 in mid-December before competing in the Iolani Holiday Classic in Honolulu, a regular stop in recent seasons.

At that event, the Mustangs defeated two teams who have been nationally ranked this season — Westbury Christian (Houston, Texas) and current FAB 50 No. 28 Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.). Marcus, ranked No. 5 in the FAB 50, ended its season with a 39-2 record and repeat Texas championship.

The other Mustang loss came on Jan. 26 when District of Columbia champion and NHSI participate Coolidge scored a 51-49 win. Otherwise, it was business as usual for Montrose and its talented cast of cagers.

Inside Scoop:

It all starts with Anderson. "We go as he goes," Vetter offers. "He's our four-year veteran and plays like it." Vetter rotates a lot of players but starts Anderson, Carrera, Wainwright, 5-foot-8 four-year veteran point guard Yuki Togashi, and one of three players: 6-foot-10, 240-pound senior Kevin Larsen, 6-foot-6 senior Cedric Blossom or 6-foot-2 sophomore Kevin Zabo.

Larsen averages eight points and 7.4 rebounds, Blossom five points and 5.6 rebounds, and Zabo six points and 3.8 assists. In last season's NHSI championship win over Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), Larsen played well off the bench.

"We're a deeper, stronger team than last year," Vetter says. "Eight of our 12 players were in the NHSI last season and the kids look forward to competing again for a national title. It's a great experience and one of our team goals each year to compete in the event. It's a chance to compete against the best and great for high school basketball. This year's field could be the best, top to bottom, in the four years. There's no easy games and all will be a battle. The TV exposure makes it special and some players not playing in it probably are envious of the ones competing."

Findlay Prep gets No. 1 seed for NHSI

March, 21, 2012
3/21/12
11:36
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ESPNHS has announced the seedings for the eight boys' teams that will compete in the fourth annual ESPNHS National High School Invitational.

The year's event, which features six POWERADE FAB 50-ranked teams, will be March 29-31 at Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, Md. The championship game is set for 2 p.m. ET March 31 on ESPN.

As expected, two-time NHSI champion Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) was awarded the top seed and will face No. 8 seed Coolidge (Washington, D.C.) March 29. Coolidge (29-7) will have its hands full with the No. 2 team in the country. In three years, only Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) has played the top seed in the No. 1 versus No. 8 game down to the wire, and that came in 2010 when Montrose lost to Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) by two points.

This year, FAB 50 No. 9 Montrose Christian (20-2) snagged the second seed and opens the tournament with seventh-seeded Ravenscroft (Ravenscroft, N.C.). The North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 3A champions come in with a 31-3 mark, but they didn't venture too far from home this season and are decided underdogs against the defending NHSI champions.

Returning from last year's championship team is emotional leader Justin Anderson, a Virginia recruit, and Michael Carrera, who averaged a record 12.7 rebounds in Montrose Christian's three victories. Stu Vetter's club has to show its backcourt is capable without reigning tourney MVP Tyrone Johnson (now at Villanova), but Ravenscroft has even more to prove. The last two years, the NCISAA entrant has been routed in its opener.

After missing last year's event because of key early season losses, No. 12 Montverde Academy is back in the fold as the third seed. Kevin Sutton coached the team in 2010 when they advanced to the finals, but this year the 21-3 Mustangs have a new coach in Kevin Boyle. He turned St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) into a national power but his program never had the opportunity to compete at the NHSI.

Boyle now gets the opportunity against No. 6 seed La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.), a newcomer on the national scene with a big and talented roster. Montverde not only faces the challenge of a hungry 25-2 team ranked No. 23, they also face the challenge of idle time. Montverde had not played another high school since Feb. 4.

One team that certainly won't have any problems with idle time is fourth seed St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.), which competed in the prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitational last weekend. Gray Bees lost only their second game of the season (33-2) to eventual tournament champion DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) in the semifinals.

Had St. Benedict's won that tournament without its point guard (Tyler Ennis) and sixth man (Jordan Forehand), there's a strong possibility they would have been seeded second. They only dropped five spots in the FAB 50 to No. 15 (two spots behind DeMatha) and will open the NHSI against fifth-seeded Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.), the FHSAA Class 7A state champ ranked No. 16. If Ennis and Forehand are not healthy for St. Benedict's, they could have trouble stopping the backcourt of Ely, which has proven its scoring ability in big games this season.

If St. Benedict's situation is any indication, this could be the most balanced NHSI field yet. Findlay Prep wants another crack at La Lumiere to avenge its only loss, but in order for that to occur both teams have to advance to the championship game. If history is any indication, La Lumiere might have a good shot at the semifinals (where defending champion Montrose Christian could be waiting) since the No. 6 seed has won in the opening round the past two years.

"You play 30 games for a seeding, but when the ball goes up, everyone is 0-0," said Findlay Prep coach Michael Peck. "We're blessed to be able to participate, as these games give the competing teams some closure."

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN

Elite 11 Watch: Virginia QB Ryan Burns

February, 16, 2012
2/16/12
9:35
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Throughout this offseason, we’ll spotlight Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week we profile Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.) signal-caller Ryan Burns.

Elite 11 Watch Archive

Ryan Burns’ high school career at Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.) didn’t start off exactly like he had hoped.

After he moved to Virginia from Jackson, Wyo., prior to his freshman year, the talented signal-caller only saw the field in mop-up duty during his first two seasons while playing behind current Virginia Tech quarterback Brian Rody. And during one of his brief appearances as a sophomore, Burns landed on his left shoulder awkwardly after being pushed out of bounds.

The result was a fractured shoulder, and Burns needed surgery to have the chipped bone screwed back in place. As a result, the 6-foot-5, 225-pounder had to miss the rest of the season.

But after months of physical therapy, Burns made it back to impress at the Elite 11 Regional Quarterback Camp last April in State College, Pa.

And this past fall, in his first season as a starter, Burns showcased the talent that’s earned him a five-star rating in RecruitingNation’s look at the Top 100 recruits in the Class of 2013.

Burns’ skills have always been evident to talent evaluators — he earned a scholarship offer from Boston College the summer prior to his sophomore year despite never taking a snap as a varsity starter. Since then, he’s earned offers from Rutgers, Virginia, West Virginia, Penn State and Stanford.

This offseason, Burns is hoping those skills earn him a spot in this year’s Elite 11 finals.

ESPNHS: How did it help you playing behind Brian Rody?
Burns: I learned from him on how to handle myself on the field and to be a great leader. By watching him, I got a feel for what a Stone Bridge quarterback is like. He’s a guy I want to be like.

ESPNHS: How difficult was it to miss most of your sophomore year?
Burns: That was terrible. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office and I broke down. It taught me that I have to play every game like it’s my last. It was a lot of doing nothing. I missed a lot of school, too. It was an awful feeling all around.

ESPNHS: What’s it like going through the recruiting process with (RecruitingNation four-star recruit) Jonathan Allen?
Burns: It helps. It brings both of us more exposure. If coaches come in to see one of us, they’re going to see the other one, too. Luckily, we don’t do contact in practice — that would be tough. He’s a great player. I’m glad I’m not playing against him. He’s a freak.

ESPNHS: How shocked were you to get a scholarship offer before starting on varsity?
Burns: That was definitely a big surprise. I was just going out there to see what the competition was like. I didn’t expect an offer, but I’ll take it.

ESPNHS: How do you feel you performed at last year’s Elite 11 regional?
Burns: I did pretty well, but I definitely think I could have done better in some events. Those are some of the best quarterbacks I’ve been around. It was a great experience.

ESPNHS: How motivated are you to make this year’s Elite 11 finals?
Burns: I’m always looking to compete. The Elite 11 has a great tradition and a lot of great quarterbacks have come through there. I’d love to be a part of it.

School: Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.)
Position: QB
Class: 2013
2011 Team Record: 10-2 (lost in Northern Region Division 6 semifinals)

2011 Stats
Yards: 1,801
TD: 13
INT: 14

DeMatha routs Gonzaga in rematch

February, 10, 2012
2/10/12
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When pressed about the keys to DeMatha Catholic’s (Hyattsville, Md.) rematch with Gonzaga College (Washington, D.C.), Stags point guard James Robinson offered one reason why he thought DeMatha would avenge its early-season loss to the Eagles.

“We’ve just got a lot of talent,” Robinson said. “Too many weapons."

Too many indeed.

Jerami Grant and BeeJay Anya dominated the paint, combining for 33 points, while Jairus Lyles was stellar in the backcourt with 15 points to help the Stags, ranked No. 29 in the POWERADE FAB 50, leave little doubt about who runs the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference with a 76-47 win over No. 14 Gonzaga Friday night at DeMatha in a game that was nationally televised on ESPN2.

The win avenged a two-point loss to the Eagles on Jan. 21.

Nate Britt led Gonzaga with 21 points.

Fueled by a raucous crowd, the Stags stormed out of the gate early with a 9-2 run. But Gonzaga responded and Britt capped off a late first-quarter 8-0 run with a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Eagles their first lead of the game, 13-12.

Lyles reignited the Stags’ transition game midway through the second quarter, throwing down a hard breakaway slam and following that up with an easy layup to give the Stags a 28-21 lead.

When the Eagles answered with a 6-2 run, Lyles heaved a halfcourt buzzer-beater to give DeMatha a 33-27 lead at the half.

The Stags kept the momentum rolling, opening the third quarter with a 7-0 run to extend its lead to 40-27. Then with 4:33 left in the third quarter, Robinson got ejected when he picked up his second technical foul after hitting Gonzaga guard Charles Glover in the back with the ball. Robinson’s first tech came in the first half after swatting Eagles’ guard Tavon Blackmon’s shot out of bounds and mouthing off about it.

It helped the Stags that the Eagles scored their first points of the second half – when Anya goaltended Britt’s layup – at the 1:59 mark of the third quarter.

The Stags did an exceptional job down the stretch of exposing mismatches to continue the rout. The Stags also held Kris Jenkins, the Eagles’ leading scorer, to just three points in the second half and 12 total.

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

Super Bowl XLVI high school alumni

January, 31, 2012
1/31/12
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Eli Manning, Tom BradyAP Photo, Serra High SchoolBefore they led their teams to Super Bowl XLVI, Eli Manning (left) and Tom Brady were high school standouts at Isidore Newman (New Orleans) and Junipero Serra (San Mateo, Calif.), respectively.

With signing day upon us and the the Super Bowl not far behind, it's a busy time for all levels of the game. Given that every player in Super Bowl XLVI played as a prep back in the day, we decided to break down the rosters for the New England Patriots and New York Giants by state and by high school.

Emerging superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski and fullback Lousake Polite of the Patriots are both from Woodland Hills (Pittsburgh). These two are also the only two players from Pennsylvania from the Patriots in this year's game.

For the Giants, star receiver Hakeem Nicks from Independence (Charlotte, N.C.) was part of the school's legendary 109-game win streak from 2000 to 2009 that still stands as the second-longest in U.S. history.

And with the Great State Debate still fresh on our minds, it's worth mentioning that California leads the way for Super Bowl participants this season with 13, while Florida (11) and Ohio (9) aren't far behind in the tally.

ALABAMA
Giants LB Michael Boley (Elkmont)
Giants WR Jerrel Jernigan (Eufaula)
Giants DL Justin Tuck (Central Coosa County, Rockford)
Giants DL Osi Umenyiora (Auburn)

ARIZONA
Giants DB Prince Amukamara (Apollo, Glendale)

ARKANSAS
Giants OL Mitch Petrus (Carlisle)

CALIFORNIA
Giants WR Ramses Barden (Flintridge Prep, La Canada)
Patriots QB Tom Brady (Junipero Serra, San Mateo)
Giants QB David Carr (Stockdale, Bakersfield)
Patriots DB Patrick Chung (Rancho Cucamonga)
Patriots WR Julian Edelman (Woodside)
Patriots OL Logan Mankins (Mariposa)
Patriots DB Sterling Moore (Deer Valley, Antioch)
Giants TE Bear Pascoe (Granite Hills, Porterville)
Giants LB Spencer Paysinger (Beverly Hills)
Patriots WR Matthew Slater (Servite, Anaheim)
Giants DL Dave Tollefson (Ygnacio Valley, Concord)
Patriots RB Shane Vereen (Valencia)
Patriots OL Ryan Wendell (Diamond Bar)

COLORADO
Giants DB Derrick Martin (Thomas Jefferson, Denver)
Patriots OL Nate Solder (Buena Vista)

CONNECTICUT
Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez (Bristol Central, Bristol)
Patriots LB Niko Koutouvides (Plainville)
Patriots OL Donald Thomas (Career Magnet, New Haven)

FLORIDA
Giants OL David Baas (Riverview, Sarasota)
Giants OL Kevin Boothe (Pine Crest, Fort Lauderdale)
Giants DL Linval Joseph (Santa Fe, Alachua)
Patriots WR Chad Ochocinco (Miami Beach)
Giants DB Kenny Phillips (Carol City, Miami)
Giants DL Jason Pierre-Paul (Deerfield Beach)
Giants DB Antrel Rolle (South Dade, Homestead)
Giants K Lawrence Tynes (Milton)
Patriots DL Gerard Warren (Union County, Lake Butler)
Giants LB Jacquian Williams (Riverview, Sarasota)
Patriots DL Vince Wilfork (Santaluces, Lantana)

GEORGIA
Patriots Deion Branch (Monroe, Albany)
Giants DB Deon Grant (Josey, Augusta)
Patriots LB Gary Guyton (Bradwell Institute, Hinesville)
Patriots DL Kyle Love (North Clayton, College Park)
Giants RB D.J. Ware (Rockmart)

ILLINOIS
Patriots DB Sergio Brown (Proviso East, Maywood)
Giants OL David Diehl (Brother Rice, Chicago)
Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich (Lincoln-Way Central, New Lenox)

INDIANA
Giants OL James Brewer (Arlington)
Giants LB Mathias Kiwanuka (Cathedral, Indianapolis)
Giants P Steve Weatherford (North Vigo, Terre Haute)

IOWA
Giants DB Tyler Sash (Oskaloosa)

KENTUCKY
Patriots DL Brandon Deaderick (Elizabethtown)

LOUISIANA
Patriots RB Kevin Faulk (Carencro, Lafayette)
Patriots RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (St. Augustine, New Orleans)
Giants RB Brandon Jacobs (Assumption, Napoleonville)
Giants QB Eli Manning (Isidore Newman, New Orleans)
Giants DB Corey Webster (St. James)

MARYLAND
Patriots DB Kyle Arrington (Gwynn Park, Brandywine)

MASSACHUSETTS
Patriots DL Ron Brace (Burncoat, Worcester)
Giants LS Zak DeOssie (Phillips Academy, Andover)
Patriots DB James Ihedigbo (Amherst-Pelham Regional, Amherst)

MICHIGAN
Patriots OL Nick McDonald (Ford, Sterling Heights)
Giants WR Devin Thomas (Canton)

MISSISSIPPI
Patriots K Stephen Gostkowski (Madison Central, Madison)
Patriots RB Stevan Ridley (Trinity Episcopal, Natchez)

MISSOURI
Patriots OL Dan Connolly (Marquette, Chesterfield)

MONTANA
Patriots LB Dane Fletcher (Bozeman)

NEBRASKA
Patriots RB Danny Woodhead (North Platte)

NEW JERSEY
Giants WR Victor Cruz (Paterson Catholic, Paterson)
Patriots DB Nate Jones (Scotch Plains-Fanwood, Scotch Plains)
Patriots DB Devin McCourty (Saint Joseph Regional, Montvale)
Giants OL Kareem McKenzie (Willingboro)
Giants DL Justin Trattou (Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey)
Patriots WR Tiquan Underwood (Notre Dame, Lawrenceville)

NEW YORK
Giants DL Jimmy Kennedy (Roosevelt, Yonkers)

NORTH CAROLINA
Giants DL Chris Canty (Charlotte Latin, Charlotte)
Giants WR Hakeem Nicks (Independence, Charlotte)
Patriots LB Brandon Spikes (Crest, Shelby)

OHIO
Giants TE Jake Ballard (Springboro)
Giants LB Chase Blackburn (Marysville)
Giants OL Jim Cordle (Lancaster)
Patriots QB Brian Hoyer (Saint Ignatius, Cleveland)
Giants LB Greg Jones (Archbishop Moeller, Cincinnati)
Patriots OL Matt Light (Greenville)
Patriots Zoltan Mesko (Twinsburg)
Giants WR Mario Manningham (Harding, Warren)
Patriots DB Antwaun Molden (Glenville, Cleveland)

OKLAHOMA
Patriots DL Mark Anderson (Booker T. Washington, Tulsa)
Patriots WR Wes Welker (Heritage Hall, Oklahoma City)

PENNSYLVANIA
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (Woodland Hills, Pittsburgh)
Giants LB Mark Herzlich (Conestoga, Berwyn)
Giants RB Henry Hynoski (Southern Columbia, Catawissa)
Patriots RB Lousaka Polite (Woodland Hills, Pittsburgh)
Giants RB Da'Rel Scott (Plymouth Whitemarsh, Plymouth Meeting)
Giants OL Chris Snee (Montrose)

RHODE ISLAND
Giants DB Will Blackmon (Bishop Hendricken, Warwick)

SOUTH CAROLINA
Patriots DL Shaun Ellis (Westside, Anderson)
Patriots LB Tracy White (Timberland, St. Stephen)

TEXAS
Giants DL Rocky Bernard (Sterling, Baytown)
Patriots OL Marcus Cannon (Odessa)
Patriots QB Ryan Mallett (Texas, Texarkana)
Giants DB Aaron Ross (Tyler)
Giants OL Tony Ugoh (Westfield, Houston)
Patriots OL Brian Waters (Waxahachie)
Patriots DB Malcolm Williams (South Grand Prairie, Grand Prairie)

VIRGINIA
Patriots LS Danny Aiken (Cave Spring, Roanoke)
Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Graham, Bluefield)
Patriots LB Jerod Mayo (Kecoughtan, Hampton)

WISCONSIN
Giants TE Travis Beckum (Oak Creek)

Note: List does not include OL Sebastian Vollmer of the Patriots, who is not from a U.S. high school (Germany); Rob Gronkowski attended Williamsville North (Williamsville, N.Y.) before transferring to Woodland Hills for his senior year
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James Robinson III just can’t get enough basketball.

A fervent Magic Johnson fan, the DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) guard never passes up an opportunity to immerse himself in hardwood history.

The Pittsburgh signee is a hoophead to his core, so you can understand why he gets amped when it’s time for DeMatha to play in the annual Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., just steps away from the Basketball Hall of Fame.

“We take a tour of the Hall and it’s a great experience for us,” the DeMatha guard said. “I love seeing the lockers with DeMatha’s name on it since us and Oak Hill (Va.) are the only high schools at the Hall. That and seeing all of Michael Jordan’s rings, shows and jerseys. I enjoy the entire experience.”

But the excitement surrounding last year’s event would be short-lived for Robinson and Co. Playing in front of Hall of Famer and former DeMatha coach Morgan Wootten, the Stags were historically bad once they took the court. The team had the dubious distinction of suffering the worst defeat in school history, falling 75-25 to St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) on national television.

“It was bad,” said Robinson. “We were too careless with the ball. They punched us first and we didn’t respond.”

DeMatha came out lackadaisical and quickly fell behind the more aggressive Friars. The Stags’ first basket came in the waning minutes of the opening quarter as they trailed 18-2. Things got so out of hand that St. Anthony’s guard Myles Mack (28 points) outscored DeMatha by himself.

“I can’t imagine there was a worst loss for us,” said Stags coach Mike Jones. “We played as bad as we’re capable of and St. Anthony’s played very, very well. It was very humbling.”

The loss sent the team into a tailspin as DeMatha lost three of its next six contests and struggled to regain its swagger.

“It was embarrassing and a wake-up call,” senior forward Jerami Grant said. “Our season went downhill after that loss. I think we were a little too confident going into that game.”

Jones’ troops will finally get their shot at redemption this weekend when they return to the scene of that ugly loss.

DeMatha hoops JR2
J. Anthony Roberts/ESPNHSDeMatha guard James Robinson will lead the Stags into action at this weekend's Spalding Hoophall Classic.
The Stags begin with a Saturday night matchup against Northwest Catholic (West Hartford, Conn.) followed by a nationally televised tilt on Monday (1 p.m. ET, ESPNU) with Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and the nation’s top senior prospect, Shabazz Muhammad.

“We all know what happened last year, and we’ve matured,” said Robinson. “I think we’ll approach the game differently this time.”

The circumstances surrounding this weekend’s contests are eerily similar to last year’s. DeMatha was 13-1 and ranked No. 14 in the POWERADE FAB 50 last year. Going into this week’s action, it sports an 11-0 mark and sits in the No. 5 spot nationally.

DeMatha was able to rebound from its poor Hoophall performance to win its 22nd City crown last winter, but the loss still stings for the team’s veterans. Robinson and Grant are intent on flipping the script at this year’s event and proving that last season’s effort was out of character for DeMatha basketball.

“We want to let everybody know the team that played last year wasn’t us,” said Grant, who signed with Syracuse in the fall. “We know we’re better than that.”

Robinson and Grant are each averaging double figures, but the key to sweeping the two contests could be the continued emergence of juniors BeeJay Anya and Jairus Lyles.

Anya, a 6-foot-8 forward, has been a dominant force on the interior with his scoring and shot blocking, while Lyles, a guard, has been a valuable starter with his ball-handling and 3-point shooting. That foursome can create some serious matchup problems and their experience manifests itself in clutch situations.

“Those guys bring a lot of experience to the table,” Jones said. “We’re a lot more experienced this time around. Last year we had a lot of guys playing their first year on varsity.”

It’s apparent playing better at Hoophall is of the utmost importance to the Stags, but even if they win both games, they’re not ready to put that St. Anthony loss out of their minds just yet. It still serves as motivation for a larger goal — another City crown.

“In terms of forgetting that loss, I don’t think that’s possible,” says Jones. “But that game is not the memory we want people to have of DeMatha basketball. We hope people get to see the real DeMatha this time.”

David Auguste is an associate editor for ESPNHS and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @ESPNHSAuguste or email him at David.Auguste@espn.com.

Gonzaga College rolls past Whitney Young

January, 8, 2012
1/08/12
10:39
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WHEELING, W.Va. -- Things couldn’t get any worse for Nate Britt.

Here his Gonzaga College High School (Washington, D.C.) team was lucky to be down three to Whitney Young (Chicago) at the half and Britt had contributed just one steal and one foul.

“It was my worst first half of the year I’d say,” said Britt, a junior point guard who is committed to North Carolina and ranked No. 15 in the ESPNU 60. “I knew we needed to pick it up, but I just couldn’t get it going. I’ve been in a slump the last few games. We were gonna need someone else to step up.”

Enter Kris Jenkins.

The junior forward used his quickness and relentless motor to dominate Whitney Young’s frontcourt to the tune of 21 points and seven rebounds to help Gonzaga (10-0), ranked No. 11 in the POWERADE FAB 50, roll past the Dolphins (6-4) 54-44 Saturday night at the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, W.Va.

Jordan Abdur-Ra’oof chipped in with 10 points for Gonzaga, and Jahlil Okafor, who is ranked No. 3 in the ESPNU 25, led Whitney Young with 16 points and eight rebounds.

“I definitely noticed that we needed a boost,” said Jenkins, who was named Most Valuable Player. “They were a lot bigger than me, but I felt like I could beat them with my first step and that worked for me. That was a tough win, but we found a way to get it done.”

The Dolphins jumped on Gonzaga early by pumping the ball inside to Okafor, who overpowered the Eagles' front court scoring 10 points in the first half to give the Dolphins a slim 32-29 lead at the half.

Gonzaga couldn’t get anything going offensively in the first half. They shot just 34 percent from the floor and went 1-of-8 from the 3-point line.

The lone bright spot was Jenkins whose 16 first half points kept them within striking distance.

“We couldn’t hit anything,” Britt said. “We’re usually a lot better shooting the ball so I don’t know what was going on there. Jahlil was killing us in the first half so what we really talked about was turning it up defensively in the second half. We felt like that’s where we’d have the best chance to win.”

By the end of the third quarter, Gonzaga’s intense defensive pressure had caused Whitney Young to commit 18 turnovers. The Eagles only had three.

Midway through the fourth quarter they’d turned those giveaways into a 19-6 run, a deficit the Dolphins couldn’t recover from.

“We know that Whitney Young is a great team and Jahlil is a great player,” Jenkins said. “And they play a tough schedule so we knew that their record didn’t mean anything at all. We are really happy to come away with the win. It’s huge for our program and to do it on national TV was really special.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

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