City Of Palms Classic - Day Two

Rashanti Harris, Sylven Landesberg, and Eloy Vargas were stellar in Fort Myers

Dec. 20, 2007

By Van Coleman

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Van Coleman

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FORT MYERS, Fla. - The play started to heat up on Wednesday Night as both the stars and some unknowns lit it up at the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers.  Make no mistake about it, Top 100 talents like Landesberg, Vargas, and Harris put on a show on Wednesday, but it was two unknowns for New Hope that opened some eyes along press row.  On the offensive side of the ball, Dale Hughes went for a tourney high, while defensive specialist Michael Payton shut down junior super Kenny Boynton.  It was definitely a great day of hoops from Fort Myers.  With that in mind, here's our breakdown of Wednesday's action from the City of Palms Classic:




Dunbar (Md.) 60 - John Carroll (Md.) 55


This one was close from the opening tip as John Carroll jumped to an early 11-7 lead on back-to-back buckets by 6-foot-8 junior Isaiah Fillmore.  Dunbar came back on buckets by 6-foot-3 Melvin German and 6-foot Tavaris Edison to pull within one at 14-13 with 2:10 left in the opening quarter.  They traded buckets over the next two minutes until 6-foot-5 Wyatt Smith hit a three at the buzzer to put John Carroll up 21-18 at the break.


The second quarter started with John Carroll going on a quick 6-2 run to open up its biggest lead at 27-20 with five minutes to play in the half.  But, Carroll's shooters went cold the rest of the half and Dunbar behind 6-foot-3 David Paulk's four points tied it at 27-all at the intermission.  Dunbar's Paulk finished the half with 11 points, while John Carroll was led by Fillmore and Smith with eight a piece.


The third quarter saw both clubs trade buckets as Craig Ryan hit his only bucket of the game from beyond the arc to put John Carroll up 42-40 at the end of the period.  But, Dunbar came out of the break on a tear outscoring John Carroll 12-4 behind three baskets by Paulk to go up 52-46 with 4:08 to play.  John Carroll closed the gap to one at 56-55 with two minutes to play on baskets by Erick Smith and Fillmore, but that was as close as they would get.  Dunbar closed them out with a four free throws to win a 60-56 decision in the day's opener.


Dunbar's top gun was Paulk who finished with a game high 22 points and six rebounds.  He received solid support from German with 12 points and 9 rebounds, while Joel German and Edison added 11 and 10 points, respectively.  John Carroll was led by Fillmore who finished with 20 points and 7 boards. Smith added 11 points off the bench and 6-foot-8 Josh Wiegand chipped in with 10 points and 10 boards in the loss.


Miami Monsignor Pace (Fla.) 81 - Flushing Holy Cross (N.Y.) 62


This one started out like two heavyweights feeling out one another out as 6-foot-4 Ray Shipman (No.76/Florida) knocked down two threes to put his Monsignor Pace club up 14-9 with three minutes to play in the opening quarter.  But, 6-foot-5 Sylven Landesberg (No.37/Virginia) brought Holy Cross right back with two baskets to tie it at 14-all with two minutes to play.  Both clubs traded buckets before 6-foot-1 Blaise Ffrench hit a couple free throws to put Holy Cross on top 18-16 at the end of one.


The second half began with each club trading early baskets, and was knotted at 24-all when 6-foot-8 junior Raheem Buckles knocked down a three from the wing with four minutes to play in the third stanza. It was still knotted at 29-all when Landesberg led a late Holy Cross surge to close the half up 36-31 over the Monsignor Pace squad.  Holy Cross was he half by Landesberg and Ffrench with nine points each.  Pace's top gun was Shipman who west to the locker with 13 points.


The third quarter was all Holy Cross early as they opened with a 9-2 run to go up 45-33 with just over five minutes left in the quarter.  Monsignor Pace hit two quick baskets to close to within eight points, but that was as close as it would get as Holy Cross opened up a 57-45 advantage at the end of three.  But, Monsignor Pace never mounted a final run as Landesberg, Ffrench, and Kayvon Roberts just continued to knock down shots to win a 81-62 decision going away in game number two Wednesday afternoon.


Holy Cross was led by Landesberg who finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds.  He got solid support from Roberts who added 18 points, while Blaise Ffrench added 14 points and 6-foot-7 Tim Meinert chipped in with 11 points.  Pace's top gun was Ray Shipman with 25 points, while Reggie Chambers added 10 points. 


Woodland Hills Taft (Calif.) 77 - Punta Gorda Charlotte (Fla.) 40


Taft jumped out to an early lead 13-7 behind some nifty passing by Larry Drew (No.57/North Carolina) and buckets by 6-foot-3 junior Justin Hawkins (UNLV) and 6-foot-3 Bryce Smith.  Both clubs traded buckets for the next couple minutes before the roof fell in on Charlotte High as Taft went on a 19-0 run that ended midway thru the second quarter as 6-foot-3 Chris Stephenson (UNC-Asheville) knocked down a short jumper to stop the bleeding for Charlotte with Taft up 40-16 with 3:31 left in the half.  But Charlotte never really got it going as Taft went into the locker room up 49-19 over an outmanned Charlotte squad.


The second half was more of the same as Woodland Hills Taft rolled to a 64-29 third quarter lead and coasted home with a 77-40 victory over Charlotte.  Taft was led by Justin Hawkins with who finished with 20 points.  Other Toreadors in double figures were Larry Drew who had 13 points, while 6-foot-6 Eugene Phelps added 12 points and 6-foot-3 Terran Carter chipped in with 11 points.  Charlotte's top gun was Dago Pena (Florida Atlantic) with 20 points and Stephenson who added 12 points in the loss.


Columbus New Hope (Miss.) 82 - Plantation American Heritage (Fla.) 78 OT


The first quarter opened with both clubs feeling each other out as they were tied at 7-all when 5-foot-5 Raymond Taylor and 6-foot-10 Eloy Vargas (No.17/Florida) put on a two-man show scoring the next eight points to push American Heritage to a 15-7 advantage with two minutes to play in the opening quarter.  6-foot-9 Rashanti Harris (No.97) brought New Hope back scoring their last seven points of the first quarter to stop the bleeding at 20-14 at the end of one.  The second quarter started with both clubs exchanging buckets early.  New Hope made a run behind the shooting of 6-foot-2 Dale Hughes to cut it to one, 31-30 with 2:28 remaining, But then Heritage's Vargas took over to score four points and put American Heritage up 35-30 at the intermission.   Vargas led all scorers with 13 points for American Heritage, while Hughes had 12 points for New Hope.


The third quarter was all American Heritage early as Kenny Boynton (No.6 junior) scored the first eight points as Heritage built it lead to double-digits at 51-41 over New Hope.  Both teams battled inside with Harris and Vargas nullifying one another as Heritage ended the third up by a 60-51 margin.


The fourth quarter belonged to Hughes and Harris as the New Hope duo combined for the first 16-points New Hope scored in the final period to tie it at 67-all.  The two clubs battled to the wire as both Harris and Vargas tipped in missed shots to send it to overtime knotted at 69.  New Hope jumped out to take a 78-75 lead with 1:49 to play.  Hughes widened the lead to five 80-75 with a putback on the offensive boards.  Heritage's Raymond Taylor scored driving to the hoop with 33-seconds to go to close the gap to 80-77.  Then New Hope turned it over on a five-second call to set up a final shot by American Heritage to head to a second overtime.  Vargas launched a three with six seconds left that hit the front rim, but he was fouled and had a chance to tie it with three free throws.  Unfortunately, he missed the first, made the second, then tried to hit it long off the iron, but Harris grabbed the board and was fouled.  He hit both free throws to seal the victory 82-78 for New Hope.  It was definitely the best game of the tournament so far.


New Hope was lead by their dynamic inside out duo in Hughes and Harris who combined for 66 points.  Dale Hughes had 34 points including 5-threes, while the big man Rashanti Harris scored 32 points and pulled down an amazing 25 rebounds.  New American's top gun was Raymond Taylor with 24 points, while Eloy Vargas added 21 points and pulled down 16 rebounds.  Also in double figures for Heritage were 6-foot Everton Chin with 15 points and Boynton who finished with 13 points.  A real key to the win was the job Michael Payton from New Hope did denying the ball to the highly rated Boynton all night.


It was without a doubt the highlight to this point of the City of Palms.  It sets up a match-up on Thursday night between Harris and 6-foot-10 Greg Monroe (No.2/Georgetown) that could end up being a real classic!


Georgetown Scott County, (Ky.) 90 - Chicago Hales Franciscan (Ill.) 74


The final game of the day was between two teams we've seen in a number of events this winter as Hales Franciscan from Chicago went up against the sharp shooters from Scott County of Georgetown, Ky.  The Scott County club jumped out to a quick 12-2 lead behind six quick points by 6-foot-7 Jordan Lee.  It looked like Hales Franciscan was more affected by the almost midnight start of the game and didn't get into the flow of their offense until the last minute of the quarter when they scored two straight baskets to narrow the gap to 16-8 at the quarter's end.


In the second period Hales opened up with a 7-0 run to get as close as they would get all night at 16-15 to force Scott County to call timeout. And, Scott County came out of the timeout refocused as 6-foot-4 Cameron Hundley and 6-foot-5 Tyler Portwood headed a 13-2 run over the next three by Scott County to open up another double digit advantage that took them into the locker room up 34-24 over Hales.


The second half was all Scott County as they went inside to 6-foot-7 Richie Phares and Lee to build their lead to twenty 66-46 at the end of three quarters.  In the fourth quarter Hales Franciscan made a run early to cut the lead to thirteen at 68-55, but a technical and foul turned into a six point play that ended all hope for the Spartans as Scott County went on to a 90-74 victory.


Scott County was led by Tyler Portwood with 25 points including 7-threes.  He received solid support from Richie Phares who finished with 21 points before fouling out with five minutes to play.  Hundley also chipped in with 14 points, while Jordan Lee finished with 12 points in the win.  Hales Franciscan's top gun was led by 5-foot-9 junior D.J. Cooper with 18 points, while 6-foot-3 wing man Marcus Campbell added 17 points for the Spartans.  Rounding out the double digit scoring was 6-foot-6 Matthew Humphrey (No.71/Oregon) with 12 points in the late night loss.


We will continue our coverage from Fort Myers tomorrow as the City of Palms Classic heads into quarterfinal action, right here at "Generation Next".