5th Annual VaPreps Classic Preview

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Welcome to a special edition of
normal'>Basketball Weekly where we turn our attention to the Fifth Annual Basketball Classic Presented by Cox 11 Sports, set for
Saturday, January 5, 2013 at Virginia Wesleyan College.
style=> It figures to be a memorable day of
basketball, featuring many of the best teams and players from the Tidewater
area as well as all over the state. Here
we'll be breaking down the matchups in the event to fill you in on these squads

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Since I'm technically the Event Organizer (
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>at least that's what they said my title was),
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'> I won't make picks on the games.
class=GramE>but we bring out the Magic 8 Ball again to attempt to
forecast the outcomes. So far, the Magic
8 Ball is 27-10 in four years of projecting winners


AM - - Granby (8-5; 3-3) vs. Salem (5-8; 2-0)

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>This is a re-match from a game in the King's Fork
Holiday Tournament, won by Granby 57-43.
The Comets are led by senior 6-foot-5 forward
normal'>Aaron Meredith, one of the more improved players in the area who's
among the top rebounders and shot blockers around.
style=> Providing support are 6-foot-6 senior big
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>John Nixon as well as guards
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Willie White and
normal'>Laguna Foster.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>For Salem, much may hinge on if
normal'>Bucky Hodges, the star quarterback for the school who's committed
to play his College Football at Virginia Tech, plays.
style=> Last year in this event he yanked down 16
rebounds. Without Hodges, they will have
their work cut out for them on the glass.
Regardless, their top offensive weapon and maybe the most dangerous player
off the bounce in this game is guard Ti
Land, who twice has scored 21 points in the past five games.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The key to this game might be outside shooting.
style=> Neither team has been overly consistent, but
this offers both a chance to get it going as they start the second half of
their schedule. Defensively, Granby's
been solid much of the year. Having two
big men that they can use 10 fouls with in Meredith and Nixon gives them some flexibility,
and look for their inside play to set the tone.

8 Ball Says: Granby

10:30 AM - - Great Bridge (9-1; 8-0) vs. Tallwood
(7-6; 2-0)

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>With the Southeastern District set to face the Beach
District in the opening round of regionals, these two could meet again in the
playoffs. The Wildcats boast the
Southeastern District's leading scorer in junior guard
normal'>Marcus Evans, a D-1 prospect that is averaging 19.4 points per
game. On Friday night in their 74-68
comeback win over Western Branch, the Wildcats caught fire in the fourth
quarter led by Evans' 25 and Byron
Williams' 21 points.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>For Tallwood, they are coming
off a football-like score in a 38-24 triumph over Cox on Friday night.
style=> At 2-0 in the Beach with an upset of Green
Run not too long ago on a night where they made 25-of-27 free-throws, the Lions
are looking like a contender in a league they were projected to finish fourth
in this year. Tallwood
has a top-notch scorer in guard Tommie
class=SpellE>Flournoy (20.2PPG), plus several capable role players
around him with Tyler Peterson,
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Will Howard,
normal'>Darius Horton and Langston

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Great Bridge has time and time again gotten step up
performances to go with their star Evans, whether it's been from Williams,
center Steve Bienlien
blocking shots and rebounding inside, Mark
Madison or Andre Banks knocking
down outside shots, and Aaron Ferguson driving
to the rack. The Cats control tempo so
well that it will take a team jumping out on them and remaining patient, taking
good shots and avoiding a really bad spell of shooting to defeat them.

8 Ball Says: Great Bridge

Noon - - Phoebus (5-2; 5-2) vs. Christchurch (8-4; 2-0)

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>This could be a high-scoring, fast-paced battle.
style=> The Phantoms have three players averaging 19
points per game or more in Howard signee James
Daniel III, Heritage transfer Josh
Davis and senior guard
normal'>Khaaliq Fletcher.
style=> Christchurch has a mega talent in
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Devin Robinson, rated one of the nation's
Top 100 recruits from the Class of 2014 with offers on the table from the likes
of Auburn and UCONN. Robinson is putting
up 18.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game for a Seahorses team that has three others
scoring in double-figures.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Others to watch for Christchurch include guards
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Nick Douglas and
normal'>Julian Reed, two-sport athlete Brendan
Cole and 6-foot-4 junior wing Justin
Peebles. Phoebus is coming off an
87-70 loss to Woodside on Friday night.
The Phantoms have scored 69 or more in every game that they've played
with the exception of a loss to Kecoughtan where they
had 59. Also, Phoebus has won a couple
of close ones, beating both Denbigh and Bethel in overtime.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Robinson is the matchup problem for most any team
Christchurch plays, but the question to me is can the Seahorses defensively
contain Daniel, Fletcher and Davis? One
if not all three are good enough to get off, and coming off a loss, this will
be a real test of their mettle to see how they respond because they've got some
challenging PD games ahead. For
Christchurch, it's an opportunity to show they can play with one of the better
teams in Tidewater, and they'll be making noise for years to come with a host
of underclassmen.

8 Ball Says: Phoebus

1:30 PM - - Kellam (9-2; 2-0) vs. Battlefield (10-4;

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:
Arial'>The Bobcats from Battlefield are fresh off beating defending Northern
Region Champion Westfield in the Bulldog Bast
Tournament up in Northern Virginia, and they've won nine of ten following a 0-3
start. Four players are averaging in
double-figures for Battlefield, led by Trevor Blondin
style='font-weight:normal'>'s 19PPG and Roman Hall's
17PPG. Six-foot-4 senior
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Terrell Walker can turn heads, and
6-foot-2 sophomore guard
class=SpellE>Hedgepeth is a name from the Class of 2015 people are
starting to find out about.
style=> They're very balanced and putting up
70-plus seven times over the past ten.

115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Arial'> brings in one of the top scorers
and players in the Eastern Region in Ramone
Snowden (22.4PPG, 20RPG), who'll play his College Basketball at Old Dominion.
style=> Snowden, who went off for 36 points against
class=SpellE>Landstown earlier this season, has really raised his play
this season to where he's in the Player of the Year discussion in both the
Beach District and the region, recording a double-double in each of the Knights'
first ten games. He makes his teammates
around him better, too, and Kellam will need
contributions from sophomore point guard
normal'> Raynor-Powell, shooter
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Tyler Vinsand,
and forwards Chris Smith and
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Kobe Copeland, a couple of board

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>How Battlefield executes in the half-court against the
Knights' 1-3-1 zone defense will determine a lot that happens in this
game. Furthermore, Kellam
wants to keep the Bobcats out of transition as much as possible.
style=> This could be the tightest game of the day
potentially as the two teams seem extremely evenly matched.
style=> The Bobcats come in just a bit hotter as of
late with their only loss coming by one point against Stonewall Jackson in a
contest where a buzzer-beater was waved off, so their confidence is sky high
even as the visitor in this spot.

8 Ball Says: Battlefield (OT)

3:00 PM - - Landstown (7-3; 1-0) vs. Stonewall
Jackson (8-5; 4-0)

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>What's neat about Landstown
is they beat opponents in multiple ways.
They can hurt opponents with their intense, high-pressure defense that's
been a staple of theirs for years. They're
able to win games that are up-tempo or half-court.
style=> They also get it done with a giant 6-foot-8
sophomore center in Darius
class=SpellE>Bolstad and a little guy running the shot at the point
in 5-foot-5 senior Jordan Roberson.
style=> Nobody on this Eagles team averages more than
12 points per game and that's the way they normally operate, spreading their
scoring out.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>For Stonewall Jackson, they've got a guy averaging more
than six a contest and that's 6-foot-3 senior swingman
normal'>J.R. Washington, who put up 61 points in a game earlier this season
against Freedom-Woodbridge. He made
10-of-19 from three-point distance in that one.
Washington is the top scorer at the AAA level in Virginia, currently
averaging 25.9 points per game.
class=SpellE>Landstown is likely to use several different defenders on
him, such as seniors Sebastian
class=SpellE>Sandifer and Cameron
Alston, and maybe even sophomore
Roderick Nicholson.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>One thing about the Eagles is they have long, lean and
athletic defenders. But Washington is
mighty good and talented enough to put his team on his back, even against one
of the better defensive teams in Tidewater in Landstown.
style=> For Stonewall Jackson to prevail in this
battle Washington's complementary options have to come through.
style=> That means 6-foot-2 senior
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Mustafa Ali and 6-foot-4 junior
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Stubbs.
style=> The Raiders are a seasoned bunch with 11 seniors,
while Landstown has seven players ranging from
6-foot-1 to 6-foot-5 to match-up versus Stonewall.
style=> Bench play may be pivotal here as well.

8 Ball Says: Landstown

4:30 PM - - Cape Henry (9-1) vs. Miller School (7-3)

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:
Arial'>What's not to like about this matchup?
style=> There will be 10 potential Division I players
on the floor with Cape Henry's featuring talent up and down its roster with UVA
signee Devon Hall, Jimmy Paige, Chris Clarke,
class=SpellE>Ayron Hutton and Woodside transfer Malik
Gray. The Dolphins have been tested
all year long against quality out-of-conference competition, beating the likes
of Riverdale Baptist with a lethal scorer in Nigel Johnson in a showcase and rallying
on the road in the fourth quarter to top a Kecoughtan
a team with multiple D-1 talents.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:
Arial'>While Cape Henry brings in some gifted perimeter and wing pieces, Miller
School has three giants all 6-foot-8 or bigger on the front-line in Isaac
Copeland, Tony Washington and Aram Martin.
style=> Copeland is rated in the Top 100 from the
Class of 2014, and is getting recruited by North Carolina out of the ACC.
style=> They also have next-level prospects in the
backcourt with Cameron Smith, a
transfer from Osbourn Park, and Travis
Hester, one of the best shooters in
the state.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Miller's size poses problems for most anyone they play
and those guys up front will probably be difficult for Cape Henry to handle as
well. That being said, Cape Henry's mix
of athleticism, size, shooting and ball-handling on the perimeter and will
challenge Miller and the Mavericks' depth.
Foul trouble would really send Miller for a loop in this one because
Cape has two guys that can create their own shot at the end of a close game in
Hall and Clarke.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Don't be surprised to see Clarke have a coming out
party in this game and for hustle guy Terry
Morris to be an x-factor. It also
won't be stunning at all if Miller establishes the inside game and Copeland
puts up monster numbers to lead his team.
style=> Fans are really getting a treat in this one.

8 Ball Says: Cape Henry


PM - - Maury (10-1; 5-1) vs. T.C. Williams (5-4; 2-2)

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:
Arial'>It has been a difficult week for Maury Head Basketball Coach
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Jack Baker, a man with over 650 career
wins in his career, one of the best in VHSL history, even with that elusive state
title missing from his résumé. Baker's
mom passed away and that caused him to miss their game earlier this week in a
win over Lake Taylor, where assistant Cornell
Parker, a former Maury player, coached the team.
style=> Whether Baker is one the sidelines or not for
the Commodores, they go as far as the Ferguson's, juniors
normal'> Ferguson (12.5PPG, 10RPG) and
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Ferguson, can take them.
style=> Jaleel is a MEAC-level
player on the baseline, while Avontae brings energy,
emotion and slashing to the table from the wing position.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:
Arial'>T.C. Williams, which won a state title back in 2008, has lost a couple
of close calls, but played some stiff competition to this point and always do
in their out-of-league games.
class=GramE>This a team that got off to a slow start a year ago and
picked it up to win the Patriot District Tournament.
style=> They have the bodies in the front-court to
contend with Maury in 6-foot-3 wing
normal'>Javon Wilson (12.3PPG)
as well as 6-foot-8 center Grant
Dickinson and 6-foot-3 versatile forward
normal'>Landon Moss. To me, the key
in how far the Titans go is Moss; since football season ended he hasn't quite
produced to the level some expect, although he can turn that around in a hurry
and posted a double-double in this event last year.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:
Arial'>With both teams well-equipped for battle in the front-court, guards will
go a long way towards how the game turns out.
Maury's guards are starting to round into form with shooter
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Mike Basnight (18PPG),
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Williams and
normal'>Blake Gibson. T.C. always
plays hard defensively and they'll need their backcourt play to be pesky on
defense yet efficient on offense to take care of business against a Maury team
that won't blink getting down as shown in rallying from 10 down earlier this
week versus Lake Taylor.

8 Ball Says: Maury

7:30 PM - - Kecoughtan (8-2; 7-0) vs. L.C. Bird (9-1;

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Quite possibly this is the best and most intriguing game
on the docket when you consider that both Kecoughtan
and L.C. Bird are ranked in the latest AAA State Top 25 with
the Warriors are #5 and Skyhawks at #6.
style=> L.C. Bird under the direction of
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Troy Manns
had an exciting comeback victory over Nansemond River in last year's event,
while Ivan Thomas'
class=SpellE>Kecoughtan team is 0-2 in the Classic, losing narrowly to Richmond
area schools Benedictine and John Marshall.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The Warriors have a pair of Division I signees in
6-foot-7 forward Rajay
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Bullock (Providence and 6-foot-4 sharp
shooting swingman Greg Alexander (East
Carolina). Bullock entered Friday's
night action leading the Peninsula District in scoring at 21.4 points per game,
and one would be hard pressed to find a better three-point shooter in the
Commonwealth than Alexander. To go with
those guys, 6-foot-6 senior
normal'>Kaelin Poe and
sophomore point guard Marcell
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Haskett are
supporting cast guys that have the abilities to be difference makers in any
quarter with each player's strength coming on defense.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Having those strengths on defense is a plus because
L.C. Bird brings firepower offensively to the show.
style=> The Skyhawks are
sophomore heavy, anchored by Kenny
Williams (19PPG, 5.6RPG, 2.3SPG).
Senior guard JaVonte
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Reddick (14.1PPG) steadies them and
has experience from playing in big game settings as he was a key member of
their Central Region title team that fell to Norcom
two years ago in the State Championship.
Sophomore big man Thomas Taylor gives
them someone that may be adequate to check Bullock in the paint even though few
can really stop him from scoring.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>These two teams are playing very good basketball and it
wouldn't be surprising at all if they meet up again in the State Tournament
since the East plays the Central in the quarterfinals.
style=> Given that both teams like to shoot the
three-point shot, whichever team can turn the other over the best and get easy
baskets to fall so that they don't need a ton of 3's has the upper hand.
style=> Kecoughtan's
experience with a host of seniors probably gives them a slight edge, but don't
rule out Williams putting his team in position to pull it out late.

8 Ball Says: Kecoughtan

PM - - Green Run (9-2; 1-1) vs. Petersburg (8-3; 5-1)

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>In the nightcap, it'll be the Stallions of Green Run, a
threat in the Eastern Region this year and the preseason favorite from the
Beach District, taking on a perennial power in Petersburg, which made the Group
AAA State Championship game last season.
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Arial'>Although
the Crimson Wave no longer have Frank Mason (who's at Kansas), they are coming
off winning their seventh consecutive Fort Lee Holiday Tournament, where
class=SpellE>Gevon Arrington scored 18 points in their
victory over Varina.
style=> The Wave enters on a five-game winning streak,
notching key Central District wins over Meadowbrook and Hopewell this week as

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:
Arial'>Green Run brings in one of the best perimeter trios in the Eastern
Region with junior guard Tyler Blount (19.9PPG), speedy senior point
guard Lequan Thomas
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:bold'>(5.5SPG) and athletic junior
wing Keon Buchanan.
style=> Blount brings the shooting, Thomas causes
havoc defensively with his active hands and quickness, and Buchanan when he's
on is a near impossible one-on-one cover.
Petersburg is hoping they get good offensive play from their #2 and #3
scoring options. So far senior guard
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Frankie Barksdale is starting to assert
himself as their next best threat after Arrington.
style=> To offset Petersburg's hustle and
scrappiness, Green Run needs solid efforts from junior
normal'>Shaun James and freshman Sterling
Carrington around the basket along with
normal'>Jamaal Matin and
normal'>Marquise Williams shooting from the perimeter.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:
Arial'>Manufacturing points for Petersburg down the stretch could be a tall
task against a Green Run team that does play very well defensively in
spurts. However, Petersburg has been
able to grind out those hard to get points better in recent weeks, and if Green
Run has a quarter lapse like they did against Tallwood,
a game that some believe is the Stallions' for the taking might end up going to
Petersburg. One thing I do know is the
winner here is not a team people want to see in weeks to come.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:
Arial'>For Green Run after this game, they have Kellam
and Landstown in consecutive Tuesdays, a couple of
huge district tilts that will be big barometers and games they need to win to
capture their first Beach title since 1988-89.
Petersburg is tied atop the Central District standings with Thomas Dale,
a team they face on Tuesday, and a game that if they win should make them the
front-runner in a district that is one of the state's toughest
class=GramE>year in and year out with this season being no
exception. Don't leave early or else you'll
miss an entertaining match with these two bunches.

8 Ball Says: Petersburg



115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>Matthew Hatfield
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
serves as State Basketball Analyst for
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>, part of the
Network. Check out
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Hatfield's Twitter page
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'> for more sports related info and
updates. To contact Matthew, please
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
and don't forget to listen to High School Sports Talk every Saturday from 10AM
to Noon on
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>ESPN Radio 94.1
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
and watch him on the
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>Cox 11 Sports Report
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:

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