Showdown: Rich vs. Washington

ORLANDO – The stage was set for No. 1 Edgewater and No. 2 Dr. Phillips as the two neighboring schools, featuring star guards Jason Rich (No. 39) and Darius Washington (No. 26), tipped off the 2003-04 season before a standing room only crowd.

A cool night seemed to slow both teams as the first quarter ended with Edgewater leading 14-11. The drama was building.

Even the turnovers and missed shots created a buzz that had fans from both sides on the edge of their seats. Someone reminded me that the atmosphere tonight had the same feeling of the 2003 state championship when Edgewater battled powerful Dillard for the large school title.

That was last March, and Dillard star Jimmy Tobias is now a freshman at Oklahoma. Fast forward 9 months later and you have the Jason Rich-Darius Washington battle.

After a not-so spectacular first half, the second half was anything but, as the titans punched and counter-punched and kept the crowd entertained. In the end, Dr. Phillips, which is building a "Rich" tradition and the night belonged to them. The final score was 80-66.

Stat Lines: The Main Draw

Jason Rich: 31 points (14-21 FG), 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 5 crowd-pleasing dunks

Darius Washington: 34 points (10-31 FG), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 turnovers.


Jack Berry didn't have his best shooting night – 3 points – for Dr. Phillips but his presence on the glass to the tune of 8 rebounds and 2 steals took some pressure off Rich. Jack is an Ivy-league target. … Edgewater senior guard Chris King is playing himself into a fine recruit. King had a good summer traveling with the Florida Hoopsters and coach Dexter Williams. Chris helped Edgewater with 15 points.

The unsung hero in this battle was Dr. Phillips forward Brad Larson. The undersized Larson bulled his way inside for 13 points and fought for tough rebounds. … Combo guard Trey Hopkins ability to hit the "3" keeps teams from doubling on Rich. Trey raised his level of play over the summer while traveling with NIKE Team Florida. Hopkins scored 11 points in this contest.

Keep an eye on Dr. Phillips freshman guard Chris Warren. He looked like a veteran against Edgewater's famed pressure defense. His 3-point bomb ended the third quarter and pushed Dr. Phillips lead to double digits. The freshman finished with 9. … Dr. Phillips point man Mario Sisinni was equally as poised tonight with 7 assists and 6 points.

Scout's Take

My hat goes off to coaches Travis Jones and Dexter Williams of Edgewater, as well as Anthony Long of Dr. Phillips. How many guys would open the season with a game like this, with one-upmanship and national rankings on the line?

Edgewater played without underrated guard Brandon Johnson. Two-sport star Kenny Ingram was also watching from the cheap seats. Ingram is still playing in the football playoffs and couldn't participate in this game. …

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