Trusted Choice TOC - Day One (Part I)

Oregon recruits Matt Humphreys and Josh Crittle lead team to victory

Nov. 23, 2007

By Van Coleman

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Van Coleman

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The Trusted Choice Tournament of Champions tipped off today at Washington & Pekin High Schools in the Peoria, Ill. area and a number of players put up big numbers as the teams struggled to shake early-season jitters.


We will be bringing you all the action from the Washington, Ill. high school site today and tomorrow. The opening afternoon games were close early, but superior depth and overall talent led to second-half runaways at Washington High. With that in mind, here's our look at the opening afternoon's action from the Trusted Choice Tournament of Champions.


Chicago, Ill. Hales Franciscan 78 - Morton, Ill. 54


This one was close in the early going as Chicago Hales Franciscan went up 15-14 on a spin move by 6-foot-8 Oregon signee Josh Crittle just before the buzzer to end the first quarter. Morton jumped out to a 23-17 lead early in the second stanza, but they hit a cold spell over the last five minutes of the half, as Hales Franciscan went on a 14-2 run to head to the locker room up 31-25.


The second half began like the first half ended, with Hales Franciscan opening the third quarter with a 15-4 run behind 5-foot-10 Phil Williams and 6-foot-2 sophomore Brandon Spearman who combined for 10 points in the run to go up 46-29 just over four minutes into the half. Morton cut it to fourteen points on two occasions, but couldn't get a run going as Hales Franciscan rolled to a 78-54 victory over the Potters.


Hales Franciscan was led by Crittle, who finished with a triple-double as he scored 12 points, pulled down 15 boards and set a tournament record with 10 blocked shots in the opener. He got solid support from his 6-foot-6 future Oregon teammate Matthew Humphrey, who added 11 points, and 5-foot-9 junior D.J. Cooper who likewise added 11 points.  Morton's top gun was 6-foot-7 Kevin Waibel who finished with 12 points, while 6-foot-3 Lucas Frerichs chipped in 10 points in the loss.


Washington, Mo. 57 - Annawan, Ill. 37


In game two, it was close again in the early going as Washington, Mo. held a slim 12-10 lead at the end of the first quarter as 6-foot-6 Washington signee Scott Suggs hit two late buckets. The second stanza opened with Annawan going on a 10-5 run to take a 20-17 lead with 4:30 left in the first half. But it was a short-lived lead as Annawan went stone cold, falling behind Washington 25-20, until 6-foot-4 junior Alex Coppejans knocked down a deep three to close the margin to 25-23 at the half.


The Washington, Mo. coaches made a defensive adjustment at the half, putting Suggs on Copperjans in the third quarter, and Suggs responded with a lockdown performance on the Annawan wing, holding him scoreless in the second half. That defensive surge triggered a 16-4 run to start the second half as Washington opened a 40-27 lead, then coasted to a 57-36 victory over a game Annawan squad.


Washington was led by 6-foot-3 wingman Nolan Zoellner, who finished with 20 points, including 4-threes, while defensive stopper Suggs added 19 points in the win. Annawan was led by 6-foot point guard Tanner Carlson who finished with 15 points and 6 assists. He got support from Coppejans, who had all of his 11 points in the opening half of play.


Champaign, Ill. Central 85 - Lafayette, La. Carencro 65


This game was a game of spurts as Champaign Central opened with a quick 8-0 run and never trailed in the game. It was 15-8 at the end of the first quarter, but Central again put together a run, this one for 15 straight, to open the second quarter. That run opened an insurmountable 30-8 margin behind the three-headed attack of 6-foot-4 Verdell Jones, 6-foot-4 Donald Stewart and 6-foot-5 Keith Biggers, who combined for 11 points in the run. Central went into the locker room in total control of the game at 43-22 over Lafayette Carencro.


The second half began with another 11-2 run for Central as they built the lead to 54-24 just less than two minutes into the third quarter. It took some stellar play in the second half by 6-foot-4 Patrick Richard to keep Carencro from an embarrassing finish. The athletic wing scored 17 in the half as Carencro closed to within 20 points early in the fourth quarter, forcing Champaign Central to re-instate their starters. But there weren't any miracles to be had this afternoon, as Champaign Central went on to an 85-65 victory.


Central was led by Jones, who finished the game with 23 points, while Stewart chipped in 19 points and Biggers added 19 of his own. Carencro's top gun was Richard who tied for game honors with 23 points and 13 boards. He received solid support from 6-foot-1 junior Ricky Johnson who finished with a solid 14-point performance.


News & Notes from Pekin High: In one of the early tournament surprises, St. Anne's, Ill. High upended Dothan, Ala. Northview 69-57 as 6-foot senior point guard Cliff Fleming led the way with 29 points. Northview was led by 6-foot-10 Xavier Gibson, our No.44-rated prep, who finished with 19 points in a losing effort. In the other game at Pekin, Byron, Ill. upended Eureka 43-37 in a low-scoring affair.


Tonight's Trusted Choice Tournament of Champions Games:


Memphis, Tenn. Briarcrest - Eureka, Ill.


Washington, Ill. - Dothan, Ala. Northview


This weekend we will be at the Trusted Choice Tournament of Champions in Peoria, Ill.  The event features 20 teams from across the USA.

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