HoopHall, Day One

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Afterward, all Steve Smith could do was shake his head. A super defensive plan wasn't enough as Oak Hill fell to Northland. Plus, Tobias Harris was on top of his game.

Columbus Northland beat Oak Hill 47-46 to remain undefeated. Here's the real story: they did it with Jared Sullinger scoring 3 points.

Oak Hill coach Steve Smith dialed up the Triangle and Two defense with Doron Lamb guarding Sullinger 99.5 percent of the time. Help came early and from bigs. The plan worked so well that Oak Hill didn't yield a single hoop to Sullinger. In the first half, he had one shot.

Lamb worked his tail off against the big fella and was aggressive on offense early but neither team shot the ball well at all. Both teams finished under 30 percent for the game.

Baye Moussa Keita made two free throws late to give Oak Hill the lead after succumbing to a 13-0 Northland run in the fourth. On the next possession, Sullinger, eager to see that Keita was on him not Lamb, drove the big fella, got fouled and made both free throws. Sullinger made 3 of 4 from the line to finish with 3 points and 16 rebounds.

Lamb, who had a shot rejected by Sullinger in the waning seconds, finished 5-for-14. His defensive work was awesome and he wasn't only Warrior who struggled from the field. As a team Oak Hill shot 16-for-55. Lamb guarding the beastly Sullinger isn't a sight these eyes will soon forget. He had great help, but the way Lamb bodied up Sullinger showed how tough a guy he is.

Through all the junk defense and frustration, J.D. Weatherspoon kept playing. The OSU-bound forward scored 21 points, made his free throws and cleaned up in the paint.

Strange game all around as two titans cranked up the drama in the fourth quarter.

Tobias Harris, PF/SF, HH West: As complete a game as we've seen this year. He did everything: guarded opponent's best player in the second half, rebounded, passed, scored from perimeter dove to the post. He's college-ready (and beyond). His understanding of the game allows him to go from screener to scorer seamlessly. Not much more he could have done with 35 points, 16 boards and 5 blocks. There are impact recruits and guys who allow you to win at a high level and he's both.

Reggie Bullock, SG, Kinston: Finished up with 26 points and 12 rebounds as Kinston cleaned Kentwood's clock. Inside the arc, Bullock was very good. He completed his post ups, came up with a big dunk and was tough around the bucket. This season he hasn't shot the same percentage behind the line as in year's past and was 2-for-10 on Saturday from downtown. In the end, it's his overall floor game that is most impressive.

Josh Turner, SF, Sacred Heart: Word is academics are an issue, otherwise he's an offensive minded potential mid-level DI prospect. Wiry strong body should allow him to guard multiple positions, create for himself and he's got a jumper that works.

Austin Rivers, SG/PG, Winter Park: He was just about to get it really cooking when an ankle injury forced him out of the game. He'll likely miss the next few for Winter Park. His 21 points were, well, high-level. The step-back 3s make him difficult to guard and the ability to by his man is something. Tyler Thornton, a noted defender, had his hands full.

Tyler Harris, SF/PF, HH West: The younger brother of Tobias is a lefty with a perimeter lean. He's got a slender body in need of strength, which ultimately will help determine his projection. Needs to get comfortable in the lane. He's an excellent passer.

Tavon Sledge, PG, HH West: The former St. Benedict's point is a driver/slasher extraordinaire. Mid-level teams will line up because he's hard to guard one-on-one. If he develops any kind of perimeter shot he'll be quite the weapon. Finished with 27 and 11-17 FG.

Brett Comer, PG, Winter Park: If you're Florida Atlantic, you've got a gem. This is one tough kid. Rivers is the point producer but Comer is the enforcer. Love how he can drive and kid but also turn himself into a scorer. He's just a guard who competes and wants to win.

Josh Smith of Kentwood and re-injured a knee ligament last week. … Tyler Thornton said Coach K told him to chat Rivers up, but in the game it was all business. Neither guy is the small talk sort. …

Springfield Central brought a good-looking freshman off the bench. Cornelius Tyson, a 6-foot-1 guard, could wind up being a big wing or combo depending on his body and development. Regardless, he's a noteworthy prospect. … Central sophomore Jaylen Brantley, a 5-10 point, was successful going to the rim. His shot has a low release. His team lacks a true big so a detailed evaluation of him as a pure point wasn't possible. He does appear to be DI material. …

Tobias Harris was completely gassed. At both ends he worked. On offense, traffic boards were his. Defensively, he slowed Josh Turner big time. He's going to be able to guard small and big forwards, especially with his core strength coming. … Sophomore Jaylen Robinson came up in a few spots and made key buckets. His 12 and 6 were big. …

Two underclassmen to watch at Kinston is junior center/forward Mike Tyson and freshman forward Donte Reynolds. The latter is a physical specimen and come to think of it, so is Tyson. … Baye Moussa Keita made two free throws in crunchtime for Oak Hill. Big tosses, took his time and stepped up. …

Sullinger could not have been more frustrated. Between talking to the refs, ditching a facemask (he's got a busted nose) and then not scoring a single field goal, he went through adversity. In the end, he made his free throws, remained committed to the glass and came out with the win. It was a team effort and a lesson learned. Oak Hill had the perfect plan and it was one of those days. …

Tyler Thornton had 18 points (8-21) and Cedrick Lindsay 21 of his own on 5-17. …

Doron Lamb said he's waiting until after the NCAA Tournament to make his decision. He sees himself as a combo and he's paying attention to how schools use similar style players. Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma in the mix. … "Right now he's just undecided," Doc Rivers said of his son, Austin. "Florida and Duke are the two teams he's looking at." Doc said Austin will attend a Duke game but the UNC game doesn't work out schedule wise. He's been to a "ton" of Florida games. "I love both coaches and think they're terrific. As a coach, I like the two places he's looking at right now."

Assistants: Duke, Connecticut, Boston U.

Head Coaches: Doc Rivers, Boston Celtics.

Scoreboard

  • Springfield Central 74, Columbia (Ga.) 63
  • Half Hallows Hills West 75, Sacred Heart 56
  • Kinston 60, Kentwood 37
  • Northland 47, Oak Hill 46
  • Winter Park 73, Gonzaga 69

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