Oak Hill Survives 71-61

<B>RALEIGH, NC --</b> Mighty Oak Hill Academy, who starts five high-major prospects and is generally considered the top high school program in the country, survived a scare from Cincinnati (OH) Moeller High School in the finals of the Glaxo Invitational.

RALEIGH, NC -- Mighty Oak Hill Academy, who starts five high-major Division One prospects and is generally considered the top high school program in the country, survived a scare from Cincinnati (OH) Moeller High School in the finals of the Glaxo Invitational.

Oak Hill's quartet of senior starters, PG Rajon Rondo, SF Josh Smith, PF Dashaun Wright, and C Brian Johnson, are all legitmate top 100 recruits and joined by super junior K.C. Rivers (offers from NC State and Wake Forest already), give the Warriors a scary starting five.

With that being said, the Crusaders came out ready to play and battled Oak Hill blow for blow behind their own big three of Andrew Brackman, Josh Duncan, and Bubba Walther. After falling behind 11-5, Moeller tied the game on a nifty reverse lay-in and free throw by Brackman, who turned heads this week at the Glaxo, completing a 7-0 run.

The two teams traded baskets throughout the remainder of the first period and the beginning of the second before Oak Hill went on a 12-1 run to end the first half, ahead 36-25. Josh Smith led the Warriors at the break with ten points, including a couple of nasty highlight-reel jams, while Brackman paced Moeller with a solid 8 points of his own.

In the second half, Moeller moved point guard Bubba Walther off of Rajon Rondo and the Warriors took advantage of the personnel switch. Rondo began to attack the basket at will, often finishing with nifty lay-ins or dropping off sweet passes to his athletic teammates.

Oak Hill maintained it's double-dight lead through the third period and into the fourth when the Crusaders began to claw back into the game.

Down 13 with five minutes to go in the final period, Brackman, Walther, and Duncan each his consecutive three-pointers, capping a 9-0 Crusader run and cutting the Oak Hill lead to 4 points. With the crowd back in it, obviously rooting for the underdog, Oak Hill found themselves in a dog fight.

However, Rondo and Smith would not let the Warriors falter as each hit critical baskets down the stretch. Oak Hill made their free throws in the closing minutes, and the Warriors escaped the Glaxo finals with a 71-61 victory over Moeller, claiming their sixth Glaxo Invitational title.

Josh Smith and Rajon Rondo led Oak Hill with 22 and 20 points respectively. Andrew Brackman finished with 20 points and 6 rebounds for Moeller, and Bubba Walther chipped in 16 points for the Crusaders.

Smith was named Tournament Most Valuable Player and Brackman, who averaged 23 points and 9 rebounds in the tourney, garnered Most Outstanding Player honors. Walther, Rondo, and Oak Hill's Brian Johnson were selected to the All-Tournament team.

Brackman Evaluation: This kid can play and everyone who has seen him agree. He again put on a show tonight as he almost led Moeller to a victory over Oak Hill. Brackman does a good job of just being efficient and making the most of his opportunities. He's an above-average ball-handler who consistently beat Top 10 senior Josh Smith and Dashaun Wright (Syracuse) off the dribble. He's a very good passer and also does a good job of battling inside. Against a frontline of Smith, Wright, and Brian Johnson (Louisville) he more then held his own. Look for Brackman to skyrocket up the rankings, and one can only wonder how good this kid can be as his body continues to develop and he keeps working on a game that he's just recently started to truly focus on.

BOX SCORE

MOELLER (61) – Walther 16, Childress 5, Watt 0, Duncan 12, Brackman 20, Dierkers 8, Gomez 0, Trainor 0. OAK HILL (71) – Rivers 8, Rondo 22, Johnson 16, DWright 3, Smith 20, Scott 2, Reynolds 0, AWright 0, Fall 0.


Pack Pride Top Stories