Episcopal's senior duo, Wayne Ellington (UNC) and Gerald Henderson (Duke), were not enough to stop the undefeated Oak Hill Academy who have at least three Division I recruits coming off the bench, not to mention the starting lineup featuring seniors Tywon Lawson (UNC), Anthony Wright (Michigan) and Jeff Allen (Virginia Tech) along with juniors Nolan Smith (Duke) and Michael Beasley (Charlotte).
An early Episcopal lead, including a 5-0 run to open the game, was quickly wiped away by hot shooting by Lawson and Beasley. Oak Hill led 22-16 at the end of the first quarter and started to pull away when Lawson got into foul trouble late in the second quarter. With three fouls, Lawson headed to the bench and Episcopal was able to close the gap back to six at halftime.
In the third quarter, every time the Churchmen made a run at Oak Hill, Lawson was able to hit a big shot. After falling down by 11, Episcopal closed the gap to 6 only to have Lawson hit one of his 3 three-pointers in the game. Despite the UNC-bound senior picking up his fourth foul with two minutes left in the third, Oak Hill coach Steve Smith allowed Lawson to finish out the last two minutes and add four more to his team-high 21 points and give the Warriors a 53-45 lead at the end of three.
With Lawson out, Episcopal opened up the fourth quarter with a great Ellington-to-Henderson pass and dunk in which Henderson was fouled and converted on a three-point play, closing the gap to 53-48. Oak Hill increased the lead to 54-48 when Beasley was fouled and converted on one of two free throws. With Episcopal failing to convert on their next possession and Oak Hill sensing that the Churchmen might climb back into the game, Oak Hill brought the ball to midcourt and Nolan Smith held the ball for more than two minutes until an Episcopal defender finally started defending him with just around four minutes to play. At that point, Oak Hill called a timeout and got Lawson back into the game.
From that point on, Episcopal went cold and Oak Hill converted 10-of-14 fourth-quarter foul shots to close out the game and give the Warriors a 65-56 win and keep their undefeated 29-0 record in tact.
Oak Hill coach Steve Smith admitted after the game that the fourth quarter stall tactic was to get Lawson back in the game. Episcopal coach Dan Dougherty did not see it the same way. "I think with seven Division I players, there has to be somebody else to step up," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "But if they want to play the game like that, that's fine."
Episcopal's Ellington finished with a game-high 23 points despite shooting just 9-for-23. Beasley and Lawson led the way for Oak Hill with 21 each. Duke-bound Henderson added 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Churchmen.
"This game was special," Smith said. "When was the last time you had two kids going to Carolina and two kids going to Duke playing in the same high school game?"
CLASS OF 2006
TYWON LAWSON, PG, OAK HILL ACADEMY (NORTH CAROLINA)
STATS: 21 Points (7-16 FG, 3-7 3FG, 4-5 FT), 4 Assists, 3 Offensive Rebounds
Lawson showed why he's seen as the top point guard in the '06 class. UNC coach Roy Williams was on hand to see the game and had to like what he saw from the lightning quick guard who showed the ability to create shots at will and displayed NBA-type range on some clutch outside shooting. The one minus in the game was Lawson's aggressive play after making miscues which led to three of his four fouls. The official stat line had Lawson at 7-of-12 shooting but after reviewing the game on tape, Lawson was actually 7-of-16 shooting.
WAYNE ELLINGTON, SG, EPISCOPAL ACADEMY (NORTH CAROLINA)
STATS: 23 Points (9-23 FG, 2-6 3FG, 3-4 FT), 4 Assists, 4 Rebounds, 5 Turnovers
Ellington was cold in the first half, but showed flashes throughout the game. He established his shot in the second half and got back on track and made a few great passes setting up players for easy baskets. Down the stretch, he fell victim to the half-court trap and turned the ball over during Episcopal's last ditch effort to climb back in the game. Like the scouting report reads, Ellington showed off the ability to knock down the stepback long-range shot and attacked the rim often. During the game, Ellington was not a defensive presence, but at the same time, was not a liability on the defensive side of the ball either.
GERALD HENDERSON, SG, EPISCOPAL ACADEMY (DUKE)
STATS: 19 Points (8-17 FG, 0-1 3FG, 3-4 FT), 7 Assists, 6 Rebounds, 2 Blocks, 3 Turnovers
Henderson filled up the stat sheet throughout the game. Henderson and Ellington took turns setting each other up during the game and Henderson had two memorable blocks including one on a Lawson lay-up attempt which led to Lawson picking up his third foul in the game. Henderson hit just one shot over 10' and struggled with the mid-to-long range jumper when the shot was there. The 6-5 Henderson battled down low and grabbed six boards and attacked the rim often.
LANDON MILBOURNE, SF/PF, OAK HILL ACADEMY (MARYLAND)
STATS: 3 Points, 2 Rebounds, 1 Block
Milbourne is included here because he's going to be in the ACC next year. Despite being a bench player for Oak Hill and playing less than 10 minutes in the game, he showed signs of his athleticism. After being stripped at half court, the 6-7 forward, tracked down the player in the open court and made a basket-saving block.
JEFF ALLEN, SF/PF, OAK HILL ACADEMY (VIRGINIA TECH)
STATS: 5 Points
Tough to get a feel for Allen's ability during the game. He showed some ability on the glass as did the entire Oak Hill team, which was relentless in going after the loose ball. Allen did rack up four fouls during the course of the action.
CLASS OF 2007
MICHAEL BEASLEY, PF, OAK HILL ACADEMY (CHARLOTTE)
STATS: 21 Points (8-20 FG, 0-1 3FG, 5-8 FT), 10 Rebounds
Beasley was both impressive and frustrating in the game. He was a major force on the glass but failed to complete on all three of his offensive rebounds. Most of his misses came around the hoop and for a 6-8 forward, showed range knocking down a few 15-18' jumpers. Beasley turned the ball over four times which is too much, but added two steals and a block. Despite Oak Hill losing three of their starters to college next year, Beasley showed why Oak Hill probably won't be exiting the national rankings any time soon.
NOLAN SMITH, SG/PG, OAK HILL ACADEMY (DUKE)
STATS: 12 Points (4-9 FG, 0-3 3FG, 4-4 FT), 6 Assists, 1 Steal, 0 Turnovers
The son of former NBA player Derek Smith and recent Duke commit scored a quiet 12 points with most of those points coming in the last 2 minutes of the game. Smith handled the ball well, distributing for 6 assists without a turnover. Smith missed on all three attempts from downtown and scored 4 of his 12 from the line as he was the player Oak Hill could get the ball to when Epsicopal was forced to foul. Smith had a great steal of Ellington and dunk finish at the end of the game to put it away for the Warriors.