City of Palms: Wright Delivers Title

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Brandan Wright, Gerald Henderson and Wayne Ellington treated observers to a hotly contested championship at the City of Palms. Wright and Brentwood held on for a 74-68 championship victory.

You simply can't ask for a more competitive, hard fought championship game than the war Brentwood Academy waged against Episcopal Academy at the City of Palms Classic Thursday night.

Brentwood rallied in the 4th quarter as it scored 27 points to Episcopal's 10 and came away with the 74-68 win. Brandan Wright, Brentwood's 6-foot-9 power forward (No. 1 PF, Scout.com), hit for 31 points and 6 rebounds. For his efforts during the tournament he was named the MVP of the event but he had assistance.

Numerous Brentwood players stepped up late in the contest, including Brandon Brown who drilled a crucial 3-pointer late and Josh Bone who went for 19 and raised his level of play to an even higher degree.

During the event, Wright spent most of his time dominating in the paint. However, in the title game he was more perimeter oriented than any other contest here in Florida. Then, it got time to go to work inside and he delivered the goods with critical skilled buckets inside.

"I knew I had to go inside and cause some traffic," Wright said. "I had to be tough in the there and put the ball in the basket."

Mission accomplished.

With UNC head coach Roy Williams in the stands having taken a red-eye to make it to town, the Tar Heels coach was treated to a preview of two pillars in the nation's No. 1 recruiting class. Williams' second Top 5 signee, guard Wayne Ellington, and was equally dazzling.

In fact, Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson looked on their way to victory before Wright went to work inside. Ellington finished with 29 points and 10 boards while Henderson powered his way to 27 and 8.

Ellington's full package was on display, including the smooth perimeter stroke he's been known to unleash. The guy hit from just about everywhere on the floor and they were highly skilled shots. The lone blemish on his stat sheet was a muffed dunk, highly uncharacteristic of the high-flying guard.

Henderson was special in his own way. While Ellington was killing on the perimeter, Henderson was busy grabbing manly boards and finishing with powerful dunks. Henderson's college-ready body and special athleticism are a lethal combination, making him an unreal small forward prospect. Should he add a 3-point stroke to his arsenal he's got a chance to be special.

Give Brentwood credit because playing against elite wing talents like Ellington and Henderson isn't exactly easy. Wright enjoyed the challenge but was glad it was over. "It's real hard," Wright said of dealing with all that athleticism.

All-Tournament Team

  • Brandan Wright, MVP
  • Wayne Ellington, Episcopal
  • Kevin Love, Lake Oswego
  • Nick Calathes, Lake Howell
  • Gerald Henderson, Episcopal
  • Patrick Christopher, Dominguez
  • Tony Davis, Riverview
  • Demond Carter, Reserve Christian
  • Yves Mekongo-Mbala, St. Patrick
  • Lance Stephenson, Lincoln
  • Josh Bone, Brentwood

    Yves Mekongo-Mbala (pictured), PF, St. Patrick – This guy really has gotten better and though he ran into a big man in Love who probably limited his effectiveness as an interior scorer, he still had 6 points and 8 rebounds.

    Yves selection as an all-tournament performer was earned and LaSalle fans can crack a smile because the Explorers are onto something here!

    Josh Bone, SG, Brentwood – On a big stage he really did some outstanding things and certainly drilled some big 3-pointers. Initially we undervalued the Southern Illinois commitment but he's got a bright future ahead as a Saluki because he makes shots. Not the most athletic guy or the best finisher but a young man who performs in the clutch and will be a big contributor to that outstanding program.

    Nick Calathes, PG, Lake Howell – Some guys get numbers and don't affect games. Calathes gets his and makes the guys on his team better. This guy has been amazing each time out here at the City of Palms. As impressive as his 50-point game was his 31 point, 8 assist, 11 rebounds and 6 steal effort was strong. He's the best junior guard in Florida and he proved it here.

    Kevin Love, PF, Lake Oswego – That 35-rebound game took its tool on Love because he never had quite the same amount of energy as he brought in his debut. Plus, St. Patrick was quite physical with him and as a result, Lake Oswego never hit its stride. Love finished with 11 points and 6 boards on just 3-for-10 from the field. A blow to the eye and foul trouble forced him to the sidelines midway through the second half.

    Corey Fisher, PG, St. Patrick – Throughout the event, Fisher was the guy who could go get a bucket for St. Patrick when they needed one. Against Oswego, he played under control and went for 11 points and 6 assists with just a single turnover. He was the stabilizing force in the St. Patrick backcourt, especially when Ruben Guillandeaux couldn't replicate his opening game effort.

    Chris Sims, SG, Piney Woods – With no Renardo Sidney, the scoring burden has fallen squarely on his shoulders and he's delivered. He tuned up Bishop Verot for 23 points when few on his team could muster any offense. A strong mid-range shooter, his recruitment will begin on the mid-major level and possibly ascend from there.

    Brandon Jennings, PG, Dominguez – This won't go down as his best shooting effort at an event but he sure does make plays. Plus, he got himself to the line 12 times and made 11 shots as he went for 24 points, 8 boards and 3 dimes.

    Lance Stephenson, SG, Lincoln – He saved his best C.O.P. outing for last when his 24 points and 11 boards were anything but freshman-like. When they needed a hoop he attacked the rim and got tips inside. He really went to work at the rim and got things done. Big step for one of the most talented freshmen in America.

    Verot's Reed Baker is out with a stress injury in his foot. His future college coach, The Citadel's Pat Dennis, was in attendance to check on him. …

    Sophomore James Tyler of Pendleton was credited with 20 boards in his final game at the City of Palms. …

    Head Coaches –. Pat Dennis, The Citadel.

    Assistant Coaches In The Gym – South Carolina State, Baylor.

    Eric Wallace said that UNC, Baylor, Florida and UConn were eyeballing down there. He mentioned Kentucky had been in touch recently. The next few months will determine who comes strong after him this spring. …

    Kernersville Glenn struggled and went 0-3 here. They have good forwards in Eric Wallace and Marshall Moses. Moses, in particular, got it done in the scoring column on Thursday with 24 points. However, in order for Glenn to win games at home, the pair is going to need to become more aggressive. Frankly, 5 rebounds between the pair is well below their capabilities. …

    Damion James had a rough go of it against Reserve Christian. He went 3-for-17 from the field with 12 points but did ring up 13 boards. … Demond Carter scored 32 points in his finale at the City of Palms making 13-of-28 from the field. …

    SCOREBOARD

  • Brentwood Academy 74, Episcopal 68
  • St. Patrick 59, Lake Oswego 51
  • Lake Howell 94, Robert Glenn 67
  • Piney Woods 56, Bishop Verot 54
  • Reserve Christian 72, Nacogdoches 41
  • Pendleton 54, Cape Coral 39
  • Lake Wales 65, Riverview 52

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