Commentary

Rice wins Cancer Research Classic

Updated: January 10, 2009, 11:11 AM ET
By Doug Huff | ESPNRISE.com

Three of the top 33 boys basketball teams in the ESPN RISE FAB 50 left strong impressions at the second annual Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, W.Va.

Rice (New York City), the highest-ranked team at No. 12, rebounded from its first setback against unbeaten No. 5 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) with an 81-71 decision over Roman Catholic (Philadelphia) in the final matchup of the five-game event.

The Manhattan power (4-1) flashed a balanced attack with five players scoring in double figures. The Raiders' leader was University of Miami recruit Durand Scott, who had 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The 6-foot-5 Scott cashed 5 of 7 three-point shots and earned game MVP honors.

"Durand is coming into his own now," Rice coach Maurice (Mo) Hicks said. "He had an injured ankle and missed the entire preseason."

Roman Catholic (4-5) was led by the best backcourt duo at the event -- senior Maalik Wayns, a Villanova recruit, and junior Rakeem Brookins, who led all scorers with 29 points. Wayns tallied 14 before fouling out with 1:26 left to play.

Roman Catholic (4-5) also dropped three holiday tournament games in Florida. In the City of Palms Classic, Roman Catholic lost to No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 72-70, to No. 21 Lincoln (New York City) 81-67 and to preseason No. 1 (and currently unranked) Duncanville (Texas) 76-64.

In the first game of the one-day Cancer Research Classic at Wheeling Jesuit University, No. 32-ranked Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) (9-1) dominated Northeast Catholic (Philadelphia) (4-4) 69-39.

McNamara, which has lost only to No. 25-ranked Christ the King of New York, had too much size and speed for the Falcons. The Mustangs were led by 6-foot-9 Nigerian native Talib Zanna, the game MVP and University of Pittsburgh recruit who scored 19 points, including three fourth-quarter slam dunks, and blocked six shots.

"We were able to play very good defense and take advantage of turnovers," McNamara coach Marty Keithline said.

Meanwhile, No. 33-ranked Neumann-Goretti (5-1) had five players score in double figures as the Saints defeated LeBron James' alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) (5-3) 76-64.

Game MVP Daniel Stewart, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, netted 18 points and collected 18 rebounds in an impressive showing. Fellow junior Tony Chennault, a 6-foot-2 guard committed to Wake Forest, wasn't at full speed while nursing an ankle sprain but scored 14 points. Andre (Scooter) Gillette, a senior pivot committed to Niagara, played well with 13 points and eight rebounds.

"Both of our big guys [Gillette and Stewart] aren't typical big men, but they are fast and can move up and down the floor," Saints coach Carl Arrigale said.

In the other two games, Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) defeated St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) 69-57, and St. Joseph's Prep (7-2) of Philadelphia defeated host Wheeling Central Catholic (3-2) 44-32.

Gonzaga, which is coming off a 34-1 campaign last season, was led by 6-foot-7 senior Ian Hummer, the game MVP and Princeton recruit. Hummer scored 16 points and had nine rebounds. Hummer's father, Ed, and uncle, John Hummer, both played at Princeton, and the uncle had a six-year NBA career from 1970-76 with Buffalo, Chicago and Seattle.

St. Frances was led by Terrell Vinson with 20 points and nine rebounds. Last season, Vinson played at Montrose Christian in Rockville, Md.

St. Joseph's Prep, coached by Philadelphia coaching legend William (Speedy) Morris, was led by Pete Buzby, the game MVP, who had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Doug Huff is a senior editor for ESPN RISE.