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Nike Martin Luther King Jr. Classic.
West Palm Beach, Florida. posted 1/15/2005 11:11:23 PM.

Let me start off to say that I didn't stay for the entire day. I watched Palm Beach Lakes play at the City of Palms and I can catch a home game or district game over the next two weeks. So, I wasn't really in the gym to watch RJ Reynolds play today either. I was disappointed when news of the Dr. Krop - Dillard game was cancelled due to Krop deciding to play 3 games between Monday and Friday of this week. I wanted to see Krop's sophomores try to match up against the senior-strong Dillard. This game had the potential to be really ugly. Now, we'll never know.

Game 5 ... I will also admit that I left in the 3rd quarter of the Dwyer/Raines game. Dwyer had the game in hand. Juwann James was playing with 4 fouls and Derwin Kitchens (3 fouls himself in the 1st half) was scoring at will. The only problem was Nebraska-signee Kyle Marks (13 points) was throwing down more dunks in the 2nd half (a particularly nasty behind-the-back reverse dunk could have made an ESPN highlight reel) than should be allowable. Alabama-signee Alonzo Gee is one of those players that quietly has a good game. He doesn't overwhelm on either side of the ball. He got to the basket well and just does the right things at the right time. He gets things done and he finished the game with a team high 18 points. Dwyer looked poised tonight. Their bench looks a bit suspect. I don't think Marks or Gee sat down for the 1st three periods. Although, sophomore Jermol Paul brings a strong game and may yet bethe better of the 3 between Marks and Gee at the end of his college career. Dwyer holds on to win 65-58 in the 4th quarter.

I'm sorry but Raines just doesn't look like a Raines that is trying for back-to-back-to-back state championships. They have been without junior point guard London Warren since December. Although, the cast may come off the wrist next week. So, he could be back soon. Mr. "Do-It-All" Derwin Kitchens (24 points, 6-3's) proves night after night that he will play well at the University of Florida next year. Unsigned senior Juwann James (9 points) is about 2-3 inches short, at 6'-5", for the game he can play at the collegiate level. He is tough in a post-up situation. I am sure someone will pick up on him. A new addition for the season is junior Saladeem Dewberry. A lot of pre-season hype for a kid that show potential. I just haven't seen the potential yet. I would really like to see these guys 3-peat. Come on Raines, go for it!

Game 4 ... I have to admit that Game 5 looked like it was in slow motion after watching arguably the best game of the tournament when Monsignor Pace and Alexandria, Louisiana's Peabody Magnet locked up. Peabody Magnet went 41-0 last year as they won the Class 4A state championhip. Well, they are currently 20-1 this year after last night's win over Boyd Anderson and today's hard fought overtime battle against Monsignor Pace. An unbelievable game as Josue Vazquez had 23 points and several missed free throws that let the game slip into overtime. Although, a defensive lapse to allow a 3 pointer from Peabody with 3 seconds left might be disputed as the defensive lapse of the game. Wow, what happened to fouling on the inbounds pass before a shot is taken? Too bad, Peabody in overtime 76-73.

Freshman Rayford Shipman is the real deal! This kid can play. He had 11 points and looks good enough that he makes you forget that he is only a freshman. Senior Johnny Miller added 14 points for Pace. Peabody Magnet senior DeAndre Eggins did his damage from the free throw line as he hit 14 of 19 free throws to lead the WarHorses with 22 points. Junior Rodney Jones had 16 points to contribute to a very talented squad. Lieberman started 2 seniors (Miller and Vazquez), a junior (Brandon Williams), and 2 freshman (Shipman and Xiangdre "Bo" Reliford). Lieberman has 10 guys that he uses to get out after you. One of the most intense games that I have seen in a long time. Does Pace play like this night in and out?

Game 3 ... featured Wellington and St. Thomas Aquinas. Basically, this game could be considered the sophomores against the seniors. St. Thomas Aquinas' talented trio of Leonard Hankerson, Martavis Kee, and Jermaine Johnson up against the 3 point shooting of senior Danny Ryan (6 3's in the game to finish with 26 points), Robbie Smith (16 points), and the post play of Randy Excellent (15 points). Let's just say it's hard to win if you don't defend the 3 point shot. St. Thomas Aquinas battled back several times throughout the game only to have a Wellington player step up and hit a three to get Wellington back on track. Wellington hit 13 3's as a team in this 10 point victory after blowing out district opponent Martin County last night by 35 points. Leonard Hankerson is getting back from being academically ineligible. He looked really good tonight with his 17 point performance. Fellow sophomore Martavis Kee had a relatively quiet night with his 14 points. Senior Ryan Lauritano was the top scorer for "STA" with 25 points. Congratulations to Wellington for beating a quality St. Thomas Aquinas team.

Game 2 ... provided a little bit more action. Although, American was a bit unimpressive in their loss to North Broward Prep. You hear a lot of talk about a team and you expect to see something. I guess I must have missed the "something". Senior Stevie Gaulden must have had a really off day because I sure didn't see much in him. Although, he does handle the ball well. Now, I can't say that about juniors Jonathan Mudd (19 points) or William Benjamin (10 points). Unfortunately, 6'-7" senior Uwem Eshietedoho (signed with University of Maryland, Baltmore County) spent much of the game in foul trouble and never became much of a factor. The same cannot be said for the North Broward Prep guys. They looked pretty good. The Boynton brothers (senior Deondre and 8th grader Kenny) combined for 17 points. Florida signee Jimmie Sutton had 19 points, 7 points coming from a 7 of 13 free throw shooting display. He looks more like a player ready to move to the next level this year. He's come a long way since last year's MLK. Junior Jake Worley hit 4 3's to keep American off balance as North Borward Prep's outside shooting was a great first strike and complimnents Sutton post play. These guys are good. Are they good enough to beat Pace? I guess we'll find out come tournament time in February. North Broward Prep wins today, 67-57.

Game 1 ... featured some team trying to play Norland (and doing a rather poor job). Was that Chaminade Madonna trying to compete against Norland? Not much action here. Norland's top player, juniorZach Peacock, saw limited 2nd half action in this yawner. Not much to say, except what was someone thinking on this one?


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