SPRINGFIELD, Mass. --
Each year at the Hoophall Classic, the loaded Martin Luther King Jr. Day schedule brings in the most talented teams in the country, making for perhaps the most important day of the year in high school basketball.
Academy Top 10 No. 1 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
and No. 2 Montverde Academy (Fla.)
took center stage to highlight the Monday slate at the 2013 Spalding Hoophall Classic and the matchup was no exception to the rule.
Despite a loss by Montverde Academy on Saturday night at the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions, this was the matchup the high school basketball world had circled on its calendar. And clearly, this was a day Findlay Prep’s Nigel Williams-Goss
had been preparing for, too.
Williams-Goss, a 6-foot-4 senior point guard heading to Washington, buried a 3-pointer as time expired in the fourth quarter to give Findlay Prep a thrilling come-from-behind 62-59 victory over Montverde Academy.
In the fourth quarter, Williams-Goss simply took over, scoring 18 of his game-high 26 points to will the Pilots, now 24-0, to victory.
With 3:36 to play, he completed a three-point play that cut the Montverde lead to five points --- the Warriors’ slimmest margin in the second half up to that point. With 2:30 to play, he found Fallou Ndoye
with a nifty backdoor pass for the easy lay-in, getting Findlay Prep to within three points. The next trip up the court, Williams-Goss buried a pair of free throws, cutting the Montverde advantage to 58-57. He then hit two more free throws, giving Findlay the 59-58 lead with 1:25 to play.
After a Devin Williams
free throw tied the score at 59, Ndoye secured a loose ball for Findlay, setting up the final heroics.
"Any competitor or elite player wants the ball in that situation," Williams-Goss said. “All I’m thinking about is to do whatever we have to do to win.
“I wanted to make sure we got the last shot. I was expecting a zone but they came out and packed the paint. When I saw that, I knew I was going to rise.”
Williams-Goss has a bit of a history making clutch shots, against Montverde Academy, no less. Last year in the championship game at the National High School Invitational, Williams-Goss keyed an 18-point comeback and scored the game-winning shot on a floater in the lane to beat Montverde for what many consider to be the high school national championship game.
“He’s done it so many times for us,” said Findlay Prep coach Todd Simon. “We wanted to keep the ball in Nigel’s hands and just have him make a play.”
After a final timeout, Williams-Goss took the ball at halfcourt and held it as the shot clock and game clock dwindled down. With 5 seconds left, Williams-Goss penetrated but stepped back behind the 3-point line and buried it. As time expired, his teammates piled on him on the opposite end of the court.
“I feel a lot of people doubt me,” Williams-Goss said. “But no one has more confidence than me. As a shooter, you know when you’re going to shoot and I was ready.”
Montverde Academy (19-2) star point guard Kasey Hill
, a Florida commit, fouled out with 10 minutes to play. He finished the game with nine points. Kentucky-bound big man Dakari Johnson
had a team-high 17 points and eight rebounds. Christian Wood
, a UNLV signee, had 14 points and seven rebounds for Findlay. Allerik Freeman
, who is signed to play at UCLA, added 11.Simeon (Chicago) 81,
Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 68Jabari Parker
of Xcellent 25 No. 7 Simeon is no stranger to the big stage at the Hoophall Classic, one of the top high school basketball invitationals in the country.
Last year, as the nation’s top-ranked junior, Parker recorded a double-double in a marquee game against Findlay Prep.
Monday, the recent Duke commit hit for a game-high 28 points and added five rebounds in an impressive victory over Oak Hill, again a marquee matchup on one of the most important days of the year in national high school basketball.
“We’ve been blessed,” Parker said. “It’s good to get everyone exposure (on national television) and for them to be used to it.”
Parker started hot, scoring the first five points of the game to finish the first quarter with 11. He continued his hot shooting throughout, connecting on 12 of 19 shots. He showed his impressive array of offense, scoring from almost anywhere. He even connected on three 3-pointers.
The performance, while not surprising, is among his most impressive this season. After injuring his foot in July, Parker was slow to start the season. A memorable performance on one of the most-watched days of the year, however, will certainly change the outlook of the nation’s No. 6 recruit.
“It feels good,” Parker said of the foot following the win. “I’ve got no excuse now. If I’m feeling good, I’ll be out there.”
Simeon (14-2) led early on, much in part to Parker’s hot touch. Oak Hill refused to let down, though, staying within two possessions of the lead until late in the fourth quarter.
Illinois signees Kendrick Nunn
and Jaylon Tate
were key for Simeon. Nunn, a 6-foot-3 guard, scored 21 points with eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. Tate added 10 points and eight assists. Dayton commit Kendall Pollard
had 11 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.
Oak Hill (18-3), the nation’s No. 13 team according to the Freeman Rankings, was led by South Carolina signee Sindarius Thornwell
, a 6-5 senior guard who scored a team-high 27 points with five rebounds and five assists. R.J. Curington
, a target of UNC Wilmington, Maryland, Tulane and UAB, added 19 points, including three 3-pointers. Indiana signee Troy Williams
scored 11 points with eight rebounds.Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 81,
Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) 46
Archbishop Mitty undoubtedly had the best player, but Lone Peak was the better team.
Lone Peak, No. 3 in the Xcellent 25, received double-digit scoring contributions from four players while steamrolling Archbishop Mitty and fifth-ranked recruit Aaron Gordon
scored a team-high 22 points on 8 of 11 shooting, including a perfect 6-for-6 from 3-point land, and added seven rebounds to power the Knights, who improved to 15-1.
Lone Peak led from the start, limiting Archbishop Mitty to six points in the first quarter and just 20 at the half. The third quarter was much of the same as Mitty was able to manage just eight points.
BYU signee Nick Emery
, a 6-2 senior guard, added 20 points, including four 3-pointers, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. T.J. Haws
, 6-foot-4 guard and longtime BYU commit, added 18 points, six boards and five steals. Big man Eric Mika
, another BYU signee, added 10 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks for Lone Peak.
Despite the loss, Gordon, the highly regarded 6-8 forward, scored a game-high 27 points with 12 rebounds, three assists, four steals and one impressive block. He wowed the crowd with an array of offensive maneuvers and explosive dunks before leaving to a standing ovation.
One of just a handful of top players in the Class of 2013 not to pick a school, Gordon recently dwindled his list to three finalists: Washington, Arizona and Kentucky.St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) 60,
Tift County (Tifton, Ga.) 54
Legendary coach Bob Hurley might as well call Springfield a second home. The 2010 National Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and longtime St. Anthony head coach is a regular at the Hoophall Classic and this year, the Friars again made the most of their trip north in a well-played victory over a talented Tift County team.
Senior guard Tim Coleman
scored a team-high 15 points, adding seven rebounds and three blocks to power St. Anthony, ranked No. 5 in the Xcellent 25, to its 78th-straight victory. Temple commit Josh Brown
added 14 points, nine rebounds, three steals and a pair of blocks.
The Friars (13-0) led throughout the first half before a Tift County run late in the third quarter sent red-hot St. Anthony into the final frame trailing by a bucket. Keyed by a Kody Jenkins
3-pointer, though, St. Anthony went on a fourth-quarter run, outscoring Tift County 16-8 and putting the game away for good.
Tift County, the top-ranked team in the state of Georgia, was led by star forward Brannen Greene
, a Kansas signee and the No. 34 ranked player in the Class of 2013. The 6-7 guard hit for 14 points and five rebounds. Donell Tuff
, a 6-6 senior forward scored a game-high 17 points while adding seven rebounds. Guard Tadric Jackson
chipped in 13 points and nine assists for Tift County.Hallice Cooke
, a 6-3 guard and Oregon State commit, added 11 points and three assists for St. Anthony.