Hickson Dominates as Wheeler Tops Grant

Marietta (GA) Wheeler wanted to make a statement in its opening game of the 2006 Les Schwab Invitational.

Wheeler defeated Grant High 94-84 in an uptempo contest that thrilled fans in attendance.

Leading the way for Wheeler was NC State signee J.J. Hickson. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound center totaled 32 points and 12 rebounds, as Grant had no answer for him in the paint. Hickson connected on 13-of-18 from the field and also knocked down 6-of-9 free throws. He added three steals and two blocks on the defensive end of the floor.

Grant, a heavy underdog, kept the game close behind balanced scoring as all five starters scored in double figures with Mike Moser's 17 points and 14 rebounds pacing them. However the Wheeler trio of Hickson, Adrian Williams and Trey Lang was too much as they totaled 69 points and 33 rebounds between them.

Wheeler (6-1) advances to the next round where they will face Westview tonight at 8:30 p.m. Westview defeated Mountain View (OR) 68-50 in the opening game of the tournament.

Through seven games, Hickson is now averaging 25.3 points and 15.4 boards.

A consensus top 25 player, Hickson is rated the No. 3 center prospect in the country by Scout.com. The network has also tabbed him a five-star prospect and the No. 21 player overall in the class of 2007. He is expected to be a McDonald's All-American this spring.

Other top teams and players in the tournament include: No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Julian Vaughn: FSU, Nolan Smith: Duke, Alex Legion: Michigan, Brandon Jennings: USC), Lake Oswego (Kevin Love: UCLA), and South Medford (Kyle Singler: Duke).

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