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Friday, January 14, 2011
Hoop Hall Classic to showcase premier teams around nation

By Matt Ehalt

Six of the top high school basketball teams from the New York City area  and New Jersey will compete in the Spalding HoopHall Classic at Springfield College in Springfield, Mass , over the holiday weekend. The four-day event from Friday to Monday features nine boys teams in ESPN Rise’s Fab 50 rankings and the No. 3 girls team.

No. 3 St. Anthony (Jersey City, NJ) battles against No. 14 Dematha Catholic High School (Hyattsville, MD) in one of the premier matchups of the weekend at 4 p.m. Saturday. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.  St. Anthony is 8-0 on the season and is led by Rutgers-bound point guard Myles Mack, ranked No. 85 by ESPN U.

Mount Vernon (Mount Vernon, NY) also faces off against Taft High School (CA) at 2 p.m. Saturday.  Mount Vernon is 8-1 on the season and has won four straight. The Ravens feature point guard Jabarie Hinds, ranked No. 74 by ESPN U and headed to West Virginia.

On Monday, No. 2 St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J) will meet No. 47 Bishop Gorman (NV) at 1 p.m. in a game televised on ESPNU. St. Patrick is 8-0 heading into its showdown Friday night against Winter Park (FL) on ESPN 2. The Celtics are led by Kentucky-bound small forward Michael Gilchrist.

Rounding out the slate on Monday, Christ the King (Queens, NY), ranked No. 2 in New York City by ESPNNewYork.com, will face off against Westchester Country Day School (North Carolina) at 11 a.m. while Boys & Girls (Brooklyn, NY) will also tangle with Academy of the New Church (PA) at 5 p.m.

Both teams  feature Division I talent in the form of Boys & Girls shooting guard Mike Taylor (Rutgers) and Christ the King point guard Corey Edwards (George Mason). Christ the King comes into Monday at 6-3, while Boys & Girls is 14-3.

“It’s going to be special for our guys. We’ve heard a lot about it over the years and never had the opportunity to play in it, but to be playing on  Martin Luther King Day makes it extra special,” Boys & Girls coach Ruth Lovelace said. “We heard about the itinerary and activities and that’s what it’s about. That’s some of the great thing and good opportunities to go along with playing the game. Were going to take it all in and have fun at the same time.”

Friday night also features three girls contests, the last of which pits Murry Bergtraum (New York, NY) against No. 2 Mater Dei High School (CA). Murry Bergtraum is 10-2 and ranked No. 4 by ESPNNewYork.com.

Other teams from the New York/New Jersey area include Albany Academy (NY), Jamesville-Dewitt (NY) and Life Center Academy (NJ).

There are 25 total games in the four days.