The marquee match up at the 5th Annual Team Takeover High School Hoops Festival at the famed DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Maryland was between nationally ranked power house teams in Oak Hill Academy and Grace Prep Academy. Oak Hill came into the game with a 14-0 record while Grace Prep entered with a 7-0 record. While Oak Hill came into the contest as the higher ranked team, the general consensus among many of the scouting services in attendance was Grace Prep had more individual talent and was clearly the more athletic of the two teams. While Oak Hill came away with a hard fought 68-59 victory, there were plenty of story lines associated with this game.
Grace Prep featured one of the nation’s premier players in 7’0 Senior Center Isaiah Austin (Baylor University). Austin is extremely long at 7’0 and his mobility, skill, and size makes him one of the most unique players in the country. He has extremely “soft hands” and rarely does he miss an opportunity off an alley oop pass to slam it in for two points and has impeccable timing off missed shots for offensive put back dunks. In addition, he has the rare ability to step out and knock down the open ten foot jumper or put the ball on the floor for graceful moves to the basket. More importantly, he is an intimidating force on the interior when he plays with his hands up in the air with his enormous wingspan. Without question, we are talking about a future NBA lottery pick and the highest profile player in the game. In addition, look for 6’8 Junior PF Jordan Mickey to make a quantum leap in the national rankings for the 2013 class. He has excellent length and athleticism for his position. He too has the unique blend of athleticism and skill as he can play effectively with his back to the basket or step out and knock down the open ten foot jumper. In addition, throw in ever improving 6’4 Senior SG Jelon Hornbeak (Oklahoma) and 6’4 Super Sophomore Emmanuel Mudiay who is already touted as one of the premier players in the 2014 class and you have a lot of elite level talent.
Like a heavyweight boxing match between two prized fighters boxing for the World Title, the first few rounds were a feeling out process between Oak Hill and Grace Prep. Oak Hill won the first quarter by the score of 15-11. Both teams were a little nervous and the length of Austin caused problems on the interior early for Oak Hill as they missed some golden opportunities to score. By halftime, Grace Prep narrowed the score to one with Oak Hill leading 22-21, but Grace Prep won the quarter by outscoring the Warriors 10-7 to gain momentum going into the second half. The third quarter was an epic battle and the teams started to get into the groove and the action was intense and exciting. While Grace Prep was clicking on all cylinders in the third quarter, 5’11 Senior PG Tyler Lewis went from being team facilitator to the team’s scoring PG. Coach Steve Smith made a strategic move and went away from his set offense by setting a “flat screen” for Lewis each allowed him to create his own shot. This move by Coach Smith proved dividends for the Warriors. Lewis made key three point shots and got into the lane and utilized his floater to score 13 points alone in the exciting third quarter, but the most important shot came when the third quarter was winding down and Oak Hill was up by one when Lewis drained a three to put Oak Hill up by four going into the fourth quarter. Oak Hill gained momentum and then jumped out to a ten point lead and hung on for the 9 point win with clutch free throw shooting by D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Jordan Adams down the stretch when Grace Prep was forced to foul. Oak Hill made 14-18 free throws for the game and the majority of them coming in the crucial fourth quarter. Grace Prep was then forced to take more perimeter shots and AJ Hammons and Darion Clark was there to grab the rebounds. Oak Hill scored 46 second half points and their overall scoring depth was simply too much for Grace Prep Academy.
Oak Hill shot 24-71 from the floor for 34% (6-13 from the 3 point line) and going 14-18 from the free throw line. On the other hand, Grace Academy went 28-66 from the floor for 43% while going 0-3 from the free throw line and the difference from the free throw line was the big difference. Oak Hill benefited greatly down the stretch by knocking in important free throws by Adams and Smith-Rivera. In addition, Oak Hill seems more aggressive attacking the basket whereas Grace Prep seems more content on shooting more perimeter shots, with the exception of the alley oop passes to Austin. That being said, Grace Prep dominated the rebounding margin by corralling a team high 50 compared to 38 from Oak Hill and this difference (many on the offensive end) allowed Grace Prep an opportunity to stay in the game.
5’11 PG Tyler Lewis led the way for Oak Hill by having an outstanding all around game. He finished with a game high 22 points and went 8-13 from the floor (4-7 from the 3 point line) and 2-4 from the free throw line. He dished out 5 assist and grabbed 5 rebounds and even had 2 steals. Lewis simply put the team on his back in the second half and earned the game MVP honors. 6’5 WG Jordan Adams finished with 19 points going 6-16 from the field (2-2 from the 3 point line) and 5-6 from the free throw line. Adams had 8 rebounds but also had 4 big-time steals. 6’3 SG D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera tallied 15 points going 4-15 from the floor and 7-8 from the free throw line. DSR made the majority of his free throws down the stretch. 7’0 AJ Hammons finished with 9 points going 3-10 from the floor, but did corral 10 rebounds. 6’6 PF Darion Clark finished with 9 points going 3-10 from the floor and also grabbed a team high 10 rebounds along with Hammons.
While 7’0 Isaiah Austin finished with 16 points, mostly off alley oop passes and missed rebounds for dunks, he went 8-19 from the floor and even made a few face up baseline jumpers. In addition, he had a game high 13 rebounds and block 4 shots and altered dozens more as the Oak Hill front line only went 6-25 from the interior. Austin clearly was an intimidating force for Grace Prep and played more to his potential against Oak Hill. 6’8 Junior WF Jordan Mickey clearly has a bright future ahead of him. Mickey had an impressive 18 points going 9-16 from the floor while grabbing 13 rebounds and blocking 5 shots. These kinds of numbers would be a pretty good day at the office! Look for his stock to rise in the rankings. Another promising underclassman is 6’4 sophomore PG Emmanuel Mudiay. Mudiay finished with 9 points going 4-10 from the floor (1-4 from the 3 point line) He also dished out 8 assists with the only negative being 5 turnovers.
The game easily came down to a few things; one Oak Hill only had 11 turnovers/violations for the game while Oak Hill forced Grace Prep into 18 turnovers. In addition, Oak Hill simply knocked down free throws down the stretch. Oak Hill is now 15-0 for the season and plays Monday, December 11th at Science Hill in Johnson City, Tennessee before its Thursday night game against Miller Grove on national TV.