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June 6, 2011

Hampton Wins Boo Williams Team Camp

Phoebus and Hampton High Schools are known for making up arguably the fiercest rivalry in the state on the football field. But on Sunday, the two schools squared off on the hardwood for the Championship of the Boo Williams Team Camp at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton, VA. The Crabbers finished with a record of 6-1 overall, beating Phoebus 77-70 in the Championship.

Hampton completed a Sunday sweep of Peninsula District foes, defeating Kecoughtan and Bethel in overtime in their games leading up to the victory over the Phantoms. Six-foot-2 guard Anthony 'Big Cat' Barber, who is rated as a five-star prospect and #14 in the nation in the Class of 2013 by Rivals.com, averaged 24 points per game in three tournament games on Sunday to lead the Crabbers.

"We felt very good about how we competed. We had a lull when we played Booker T. and they came out and kind of punched us in the mouth in the second half. We really came out today and made a commitment that we were going to play a lot tougher as far as getting to the rim and not relying on a lot of jump shots," said Hampton assistant Eric Brown, who coached during the Team Camp as Head Coach Walter Brower, a man with 505 career victories, watched on from the stands like a few Head Coaches do during the summer at teams camps or summer leagues.

"These guys are really growing up as a team. We started four sophomores last year and one junior. Everybody's back and it's just a growing process."

The battle between Hampton and Phoebus was really a showdown between two of the best players in the Class of 2013 anywhere with Barber and Phantoms 6-foot-7 forward Troy Williams, ranked #15 in the country in his class and a five-star prospect. Williams scored 11 of Phoebus' first 15 points, finishing with 29 for the game before fouling out with 23.3 seconds left to play.

Barber had 24 points, scoring 15 of them after half-time as the two stars made phenomenal plays and exchanged buckets. But Big Cat also made his presence felt defensively, drawing three charges in the second half.

"That started against Bethel. In overtime I told him to take Aaron Bacote and draw the charge on him, which is exactly what he did, and then he came back out here and did it again," Brown pointed out. "He's becoming more of a complete player and his shot has really come on since last year. Now we're trying to get his assists where he understands how to make guys better without him scoring as much, but he's just a scoring machine."

Hampton had to survive a couple close calls against city rivals Kecoughtan and Bethel. In the quarterfinals, Barber scored 20 points in their 56-53 win over Kecoughtan, which was led by Rajay Bullock's 17 points. The semis versus Bethel had some late-game drama. With the Crabbers down three, a questionable foul was called right before time expired on a three-point attempt by Big Cat, who showed ice water in the veins by knocking down three straight free-throws to send it to overtime.

Barber scored 28 points on the Bruins with four three-pointers and 10-of-11 shooting from the free-throw line. Bacote kept Bethel in it with 27 points and 17 of them after half-time.

Throughout the Team Camp, the Crabbers got significant contributions from others around Barber, including a pair of his Class of 2013 teammates in 6-foot-2 guard Jordan Baker and 6-foot-1 forward Sammie Royal.

"Jordan's our main defensive guy. Whenever you see us play, he'll guard the best guy we play against," noted Brown. "Sammie is workhorse and he plays with such a motor, and the motor caught up with him a little bit today where he got cramped up so bad that we had to shut him down."

Three of the Final Four teams standing in the 16-team field at the Boo Williams Team Camp were from the Peninsula District. Phoebus went 5-2 overall, topping Western Branch 79-75 in the quarters and Oscar Smith 75-43 in the semis. Bethel posted a 5-1 record, and the Bruins went on a 24-14 spurt in the fourth quarter to beat Nansemond River 60-50 to reach the semis.

The most exciting first round game of the tournament was between Oscar Smith and Booker T. Washington, which suffered its first loss to finish up at 4-1 overall. Trailing almost the entire game, the Tigers got a three-pointer in the corner at the buzzer by 6-foot-5 forward Chris Williams to go to complete their rally, 57-56. Williams scored 19 points.

The Crabbers know their work is far from done, and the goal is to continue the off-season improvement as they go to the King's Fork Summer League later this month and Virginia Wesleyan Team Camp at the end of July. After Hampton received the trophy, Coach Brower took it and put it back in the bag. With a coy smile, he then said it would go with some others from years past hidden away, but that it doesn't count until the winter and this is only a small step forward as to where they want to go.

"This is not a knock to other programs, but Hampton High is only based on State Championships. If you can win the district, it's good just like when we had Chris Johnson and Nick Chamblee and played at Churchland in the regional semis, but everything is based on State Championships at Hampton High," Brown reiterated.

"That's how you judge to the guys that were here before you. Did you get in the State Tournament and play for a state title? We feel like we have a headliner in Cat that can push us over the top, we've got a big kid coming up from J.V. that's really going to help us and we'll see where we go from there. We're just looking for positive progress, step by step and all it's about is getting better."

Matthew Hatfield serves as State Basketball Analyst for VirginiaPreps.com - the #1 High School Sports Site on the Rivals Network. Follow Hatfield on Twitter and check out his website - www.matthewhatfield.com - for more involving pro and college sports. To contact Matthew, please e-mail [email protected], and listen to him on the VirginiaPreps.com Hour every Saturday with Rod Johnson at 11AM on ESPN Radio 94.1.


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