Canton McKinley (Ohio) Captures AND 1 HBC title
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The fourth annual AND 1 High School Basketball Championship (HBC) featured tremendous play from some of the nation's top high school basketball programs. And after three days of intense competition during the finals this past weekend at La Salle University in Philadelphia, Canton McKinley (Ohio) trumped the competition en route to capturing the 2005 team championship.
The AND 1 HBC is viewed as the March Madness of high school hoops because if you lose once, you can't win the title. McKinley was one of 10 regional winners at the finals, but it proved to be the best of the bunch with a 78-68 victory over Artesia (Lakewood, Calif.) in the championship game.
McKinley lost in last year's semifinals to eventual tournament champion Dunwoody (Ga.), which lost to Rainier Beach (Wash.) in this year's tourney. Unfortunately, Dunwoody was forced to play without star forward An'Juan Wilderness, who was at the NBA Camp.
Raymar Morgan, who was named tournament MVP, had a game-high 26 points and had 10 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in the win over Artesia. He added 17 points and nine boards in the Midwest I regional final win over Taft, which gave McKinley its third straight regional HBC title.
"His play all weekend long was exemplary," said McKinley head coach David Hoover. "He's just a great player who can do a lot of different things."
Winning the HBC title capped off an amazing season for McKinley, which also won the 2005 Division I Ohio state title.
Charlestown Area's (Mass.) run came to an end in the first game of the HBC finals as it lost to Rainier Beach (Wash.), 77-57.
Massachusetts doesn't allow its high school coaches to coach during the summer so Charlestown head coach Jack O'Brien didn't travel with the team to Philly. Instead, former Charlestown player and current Curry College (Mass.) point guard Marcus Jones coached in his place.
Massachusetts isn't considered a hot bed for high school hoops, but the Charlestown squad still performed well in the And 1 HBC by capturing the Northeast region title and advancing to the finals in Philly before bowing out to Rainier Beach.
As with many other teams chasing after the HBC title, the Charlestown squad was hoping to use the event as a platform to prove that they could play with national powerhouse programs. By winning the regional title and advancing to the finals in Philly, they came away from the event with a newfound sense of purpose.
"This was a really good experience for them" said O'Brien. "They got to measure up to the best teams countrywide. And now they know what it takes to play against the best."