Johnson, O'Connell Advance in Beach Ball Classic

MYRTLE BEACH, SC--Class of 2004 UNC men's basketball target Brian Johnson and the Bishop O'Connell Knights made quick work of the local Myrtle Beach High School Seahawks, 70-37, in the first round of the 2002 Beach Ball Classic Friday night.

The Knights jumped out to an early lead, 10-0, and extended the lead at halftime to 29-13, bolstered by Erik Smith's 10 first-half points on the perimeter and Dave Neal's eight points in close.

Brian Johnson, who had a marked size advantage over his counterpart, managed only two points (1-5 FG) prior to the intermission in what appeared to be a half-hearted effort on the offensive end.

"The way I play sometimes is when they are smaller I don't play that hard," Johnson said. "No matter what the competition is I need to start playing harder. This game I did that, but I should have played harder."

Even though he wasn't scoring, he was drawing attention from multiple Seahawks, creating scoring opportunities for his teammates on offense, and he controlled the defensive boards with eight in only 10 minutes of playing time.

"He doesn't think one dimensionally," head coach Joe Wooten said. "He's a smart player, and I give him a lot of credit. He recognizes that if they are going to double- and triple-team him, he'll give it to his teammates. We have five guys who average in double figures. That's a lot of credit to the team work."

The Knights shot 59 percent (13-22) from the floor in the first half and held the Seahawks to 17 percent (5-29), allowing only one Myrtle Beach HS player, Ramon Sessions, to score from the field.

In the second half, the pace picked up, and so did Johnson's scoring. He tallied 11 of his team's 41 points on 4-5 shooting from the field and 3-3 from the free-throw line.

"He really had a great second half," said Wooten. "We told him that he had to get in there and get excited."

"My coaches told me to shoot the hook," Johnson said. A lot of times I was one-on-one [in the first half], but I didn't shoot it. He told me, in the second half to shoot it, so I started doing that."

Johnson finished the game with 13 points, nine rebounds. Teammate and potential 2005 UNC target, Marcus Ginyard (6-5 G/F), finished with four points (2-5 FG) for the Knights.

O'Connell finished the game shooting 62 percent (28-46) from the field and held Myrtle Beach to 30 percent. The Knights controlled the backboards 32-24, and managed a stand-off in the turnover department with 13 each.

The Knights advanced to the second round with the victory and will face St. John Neumann (PA) on Saturday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:45 p.m.

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