Hoophall Classic, Day 2
Jabari Parker goes hard, despite a Simeon loss.
by Sean Sweeney
Sunday night’s dunk contest in the Spalding Skills Challenge just about summed up how the whole day went at the 2010 Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, MA.
Dwayne Polee, Westchester’s 6-8 pogo stick, didn’t muster enough to live up to expectations in the dunk contest. Heralded by some as the best dunker in the country, the future USC Trojan completed a windmill off a lob to himself on his first dunk, but missed a few attempts from the foul line to get knocked out in the first round. More so than anything else, it appeared as if Polee just wasn’t warmed up after sitting around for too long.
Dematha senior Victor Oladipo won it on a pair of nice final round slams. First, he had a teammate put a pass of the side of the backboard, which he windmilled in. Then, his second dunk to seal it was a double-pump reverse.
Cal-signed Gary Franklin of Mater Dei did salvage some of the disappointment with a win in the three-point shootout. At one point, Franklin hit seven consecutive shots in the final round.
Overall the day failed to produce much excitement. With the crowd still riding the high of Saturday night’s close finish between Oak Hill and Northland as well as the show Austin Rivers put on, there was nothing that could really live up to that. It seemed like everyone was counting down the minutes until Monday when six of the best teams in the country will go to battle.
Patterson Catholic High School didn’t show up for its 4 p.m. game against St. Frances Academy out of Baltimore because of a scheduling conflict. Newton North, just outside of Boston, came in their place and failed to put up much of a fight against St. Frances. A first half 23-5 run put St. Frances in control and a number of threes in the second half kept their advantage in double digits. St. Frances two solid six-three swingmen, Wayne Sparrow (21 points) and Dante Holmes (23) combined for most of the damage. Holmes, in winning the game MVP honors, added 10 boards in a 72-57 St. Frances win.
Saturday’s only other national matchup pitted Chicago’s Simeon High School against Ss. John Neumann-Maria Goretti out of Philadelphia. The entire first half is just ugly. Neither team shoots better than 27 percent from the field and the stars for each team struggle. Simeon’s Brandon Spearman, a 6-3 senior on his way to Dayton, had just 1 point at the break while Goretti’s Tony Chennault, who will attend Wake Forest, had 4.
The lone bright spot in the game was Simeon’s outstanding 6-6 freshman, Jabari Parker. Parker, who looks like he isn’t at all finished growing, showcased an advanced skill set, opening the scoring with a three-point play off a fadaway. He hit a three and scored on feathery shots in the lane. Overall, Parker finished the day with 16 points and 8 rebounds.
Still, he wasn’t enough to beat Goretti, who countered their size disadvantage by pushing the tempo and riding their best player. Chennault, after a frustrating first half, stepped up his aggression and finally dropped in a few jumps shots. His big third quarter opened up the lead for Goretti and they held on for a 54-50 win. Chennault finished with 18 points and 7 rebounds.
While it was a slightly disappointing Sunday, Monday’s mega schedule should more than make up for it with, among others, the best teams from both coasts and possibly the best player in the country rolling through.