Trusted Choice TOC - Day Two (Part II)

Top unsigned point guard Verdell Jones leads team past Benedictine (VA) and No. 10 ranked Ed Davis

Nov. 25, 2007

By Van Coleman &

Van Coleman

Van is one of the nation's premier recruiting experts.
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Saturday Night's action at the Trusted Choice Tournament of Champions was a fitting ending to a solid weekend of Thanksgiving Holiday basketball.  Both the National Invitational Classic and the Five Points-Washington Invitational titles came down to the last shot at the Washington and Pekin High School tournament sites.


National Invitational Championship Game:


Champaign, IL Central 55-Richmond, VA Benedictine 52




Both clubs survived tough afternoon match-ups and it showed in their sharpness early, but not in their overall desire to win the title.  This one was played at Pekin High so we took the twenty-plus minutes south to watch..


It started off with both trading baskets in the early going.  It was tied at 10-all with three minutes to play in the first quarter when Benedictine's 6-foot-9 Ed Davis (No. 10 ranked senior/North Carolina signee) decided to take over, scoring the final eight points of the quarter for his squad as they closed the period with an 18-14 lead over Champaign Central.


The second quarter began with Davis pushing into double figures and 6-foot-7 Wayne Whiting adding a bucket to go up by their biggest margin in the game at 22-14. The boys from Champaign roared back behind 6-foot-5 Donald Stewart and 6-foot-4 Verdell Jones, who combined for  12 points in a 14-6 run to tie it 28-all at the buzzer on a put-back by Jones.


Central featured the two-headed attack of Stewart and Jones, who finished with 10 points each in the first half.  Benedictine countered with the stellar play of Davis, who finished with 17 points and five rebounds.


The second half was a see-saw battle as both clubs traded buckets in the third quarter.  Benedictine took a one point lead, 42-41, on a Whiting dunk with two seconds left in the third.  The fourth quarter was close early as Benedictine's 6-foot-2 sophomore tied it for the last time at 45-all on a deep three from the corner.  Once again the Central duo of Stewart and Jones each scored buckets, along with 6-foot-5 Chris Lehman, to complete a 6-0 run to give Central its biggest lead of the game at 51-45 with 4:22 to play.


Benedictine wasn't done at that point as the Cadets rode the back of Davis and his five points in a 7-2 run to close the gap to 53-52 with 15 seconds to play.  The Cadets fouled Verdell Jones on the inbounds, and the Champaign Central point guard coolly knocked down both free throws to put his squad up 55-52 with 13 seconds to go.  That set up a final shot by Benedictine to tie it and go to OT.  They worked it inside-out to get 6-foot-5 VCU signee Bradford Burgess a good look from beyond the arc, but it hit the front of the rim and fell away at the buzzer.


Central was led by Donald Stewart, who finished with 21 points and nine rebounds.  He just seemed to make big play after big play, along with Verdell Jones and his 18 points and six steals. 


Benedictine's top gun was, of course, Ed Davis and his game-high 26 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks. He was a force whenever he touched the rock.  He got solid support from Bradford Burgess, who finished with 12 points in the loss.


It was an exciting end to a National Invitational that featured a number of real donnybrooks, including Benedictine's thrilling win over Hales Franciscan in Saturday's afternoon action.



Five Points - Washington Invitational Championship Game:


Washington, IL 70-Memphis, TN Briarcrest 69 OT


We missed most of this one traveling from Pekin to Washington, but got the inside scoop on the game from tournament director Shawn Powell.  It was close early on as both clubs struggled with Memphis Briarcrest holding a slim three-point lead at the intermission, up 24-21, over an unusually cold shooting Washington squad.


The third quarter started with Briarcrest opening a 17-point margin, as 6-foot-7 junior Johnny Williams and 6-foot-5 Top 20 ranked junior Leslie McDonald led a 10-2 run to open up a 43-26 advantage.  But, Washington was far from done as their shooting eye really came back in a big way!  The Panthers used an 18 point fourth quarter outburst by 6-foot-3 Indiana signee Matt Roth coupled with 3-three pointers from 6-foot-1 Josh Broadstone to tie it at 60-all at the end of regulation.


In the overtime, it was close throughout as neither team could get that key run to open it up.  It came down to Washington's 6-foot-1 junior transfer Dyricus Simms-Edwards taking it to the hoop and scoring with an underhand scoop shot to put the Panthers up 70-69 with three seconds to play in overtime.  Briarcrest got a real shot at a win as 6-foot-7 Johnny Williams had a lay-in rim out at the buzzer that would have won it.  It was one of the few shots he missed in the final.


The Washington Panthers were lead by Matt Roth, who finished with 23 points including 6-three pointers.  He got solid support from 6-foot-3 Ben Worner, who added 17 points, and the aforementioned Dyricus Simms-Edwards, who chipped in 13 points including the game-winner. 


Briarcrest's top gun was Johnny Williams, who led all scorers in the game with 24 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks. He received solid support from Leslie McDonald with 16 points and 6-foot-2 junior Gregg Wooten, who chipped in with 13 points in the loss.



Other Saturday Night Games at the Trusted Choice TOC: 


Indianapolis, IN Howe 76 - Milwaukee, WI Custer 62


This was a special afternoon match-up that featured a number of quality individual talents. It was over early as far as the outcome is concerned, as Howe opened up a 29-12 lead at the end of one quarter with a swarming full court defense.  Custer seemed to get their legs under themselves in the second stanza, but never got inside 12 points as we went to the intermission with Howe up 43-29.


The second half was more of the same as both clubs seemed to be content to trade buckets and Custer could never cut it inside double digits until the final buzzer, with Indianapolis Howe coasting to a 76-67 victory in the evening's opening game.


Indianapolis Howe was led by 6-foot-1 Greg Foster, who finished with 24 points.  He got solid support from 5-foot-9 IUPUI signee Larry Stone, who added 21 points in the win, while 6-foot-8 sophomore Jordan Manuel chipped in with 15 points and 10 boards.  6-foot-3 Carlton Brown also hit double figures with 10 points in the victory. 


Custer's top gun was 6-foot-7 sophomore Calvin Godfrey, who finished with 18 points and 13 boards for the Cougars.  He got solid support from 6-foot-3 Sylvester Stewart, who added 10 points.


Eureka, IL 47 - Dothan, AL Northview 42


This one was billed as a battle of big men, and it was when Eureka's 6-foot-8 junior Jordan Prosser and Northview's 6-foot-10 senior Xavier Gibson (No. 42 ranked senior/Florida State signee) ended up in the vicinity of one another, but that didn't happen often enough for Northview. 


It seemed the game plan was for Gibson to try and draw Prosser away from the hoop, but Eureka was having nothing to do with that and left Prosser on the blocks, going on to win a hard fought 47-42 decision.  Prosser finished with a game-high 27 points and 12 rebounds. 


Dothan's top gun was Gibson, who finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, and eight blocked shots.  He just didn't touch the ball enough as he was 5-of-6 from the field. 


Chicago, IL Hales Franciscan 61 - Pekin, IL 52


In the final nightcap game at Pekin High, Hales Franciscan bounced back from their tough loss to Benedictine to upend Pekin by a 61-52 margin. 


Hales Franciscan received some great individual play from their Oregon-bound duo of Josh Crittle, who finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks, and 6-foot-6 Matthew Humphrey, who added 16 points in the win. 


The lone bright spot for Pekin was sweet shooting 6-foot-1 Jamie King, who finished with 28 points including 6-three pointers.



We hope you enjoyed our coverage of this weekend's Trusted Choice Tournament of Champions in Peoria, IL.


We'd like to thank Shawn Powell and his TOC staff as they did an excellent job running the tournament and showing us some excellent Midwestern Hospitality.