Academy Invit: Oak Hill vs. Westchester

HOUSTON, TEXAS -- It was the game the tournament organizers had hoped for: USA Today's defending national champs vs. the USA Today's current number one ranked team. It just wasn't as close as some might have hoped or imagined it to be.

Championship Game, National Division
Nike/Academy Invitational
Oak Hill (VA) vs. Westchester (CA)

Oak Hill (VA), this year's number two ranked team in the nation versus Westchester (CA), met this year's number one ranked team as they played tonight for the championship of the National Division of the Academy National Invitational Tournament.

In the first quarter, both two teams came out tentative on offense. The first several series by both teams resulted in an airball three pointer, a block, another block, a missed dunk, a block, and another missed three.

At that point, at the 6:00 minute mark of the first quarter both teams started to hit. Two early threes by Justin Gray set the tone for Oak Hill. Michael Kruse of Basketball America observed, "Justin Gray came to play. He rises to the occasion. His two early threes were a good sign. They made Westchester have to respect him and then he could drive for his trademark floaters."

The first quarter ended with Oak Hill in front of Westchester 19 – 12.

In the second period Oak Hill ratcheted up their defense with intense man-to-man coverage. UNC target Trevor Ariza, a 6-8 junior forward, responded by amping up his game, making a baseline drive and scoring on a reverse layup.

At the 1:40 mark of the second period, Carmello Anthony then made a lightning juke and drove, scoring easily. Anthony's turnaround jumper over Hassan Adams and Trevor Ariza at 1:11 made the score 37 – 25.

Several easy transition baskets followed for Oak Hill and, at the half, they had built the margin to 11 points, leading Westchester 39 – 28.

In the third period, Justin Gray continued his torrid shooting pace, Westchester had several poor shot selections and Oak Hill continued to get transition dunks. Sani Ibrahim had two dunks in a row around the 2:40 mark of the third period, and Oak Hill kept the lead at a comfortable 13 point margin by the end of the quarter.

The lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter, 64 – 41 was never threatened. Oak Hill coasted to a 77 – 61 lead after having led by 20+ several times.

For the champions, Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points and brought down six rebounds. Chad Moore scored 18, Justin Gray added 13 plus nine assists, and Sani Ibrahim scored 12 with eight boards.

Hassan Adams was high scorer for the game with 30 points and four rebounds. Trevor Ariza had a quiet night with eight points and two rebounds. Teammate Brandon Heath scored 11 and Keith Everage added seven.

Oak Hill literally ran away with the championship trophy of the National Division of the inaugural Academy National Invitational Tournament, making an undeniable case that they deserve the number one national ranking back.

Michael Kruse of Basketball America observed, "Oak Hill was looking to make a statement. It was like Oak Hill was saying, ‘Westchester number one in the nation? Hmmmph! We'll see about that!'"

Oak Hill: Gray, Justin 5-11 0-0 13; Moore, Chad 9-13 0-0 18; Wilkins, Eric 2-2 0-0 4; Johnson, Ian 0-0 0-1 0; Anthony, Carmelo 8-13 8-11 24; Robinson, Antywane 2-2 0-0 4; Dacons, Dion 0-0 2-2 2; Ibrahim, Sani 6-8 0-0 12

Westchester: Heath, Brandon 4-11 2-2 11; Cutley, Scott 0-1 1-2 1; Ariza, Trevor 3-5 2-5 8; Cook, Ashanti 0-2 0-0 0; Adams, Hassan 12-16 4-5 30; Bowman, Brandon 2-5 0-2 4; Everage, Keith 3-8 1-1 7

Ariza Individual Stats
Against Oak Hill (VA)

Points		8
FG		3-5
3 pter		0-1
FT		2-5
Rebounds		2 (1 off.)
Assists		1
TO		1
Blocks		0
Steals		0

Ariza Individual Stats
Through 3 tournament games

Points		12.5
FG		10-20 (50%)
3 pter		0-1 (0%)
FT		5-11 (45%)
Rebounds		7.5 (2.5 off.)
Assists		2.0
TO		0.5
Assist to TO	4.0
Blocks		2.5
Steals		1.0

Inside Carolina Top Stories