For the second year in a row, Ridge View traveled to Virginia to face nationally ranked Oak Hill Academy. It was yet another great experience for the Blazers, who also ventured to New York to play at Madison Square Garden against Bishop England in November.
On the court, it was a different kind of experience on Monday night. The Blazers fell to undefeated OHA 89-65. Oak Hill’s markee players put on quite a show. Doron Lamb, who is being pursued heavily by the likes of Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona and Uconn, deposited 31 points. Dayton signee Jawan Staten tallied 15 points. Baye Keita, a 6-foot-11 forward who has signed to play at Syracuse, scored five points. Division I prospects Pe’Shon Howard and Keith Hornsby scored 14 and 11 points, respectively. Martins Abel, a 7-foot-1 center, tallied seven.
Yes, it was quite a display of concentrated talent.
“I have mixed emotions about our performance against one of the best basketball teams in the country,” said Blazers coach John Combs.
“I thought we played very hard, we were very unselfish with the basketball, and competed very well against a team with at least seven 7 D-I college basketball prospects. What I was disappointed in was that we could have played better and made the game closer if we were sharper with our offensive execution and not given up some easy baskets at the end of the game. At times execution was great--but doing it only at times against really good teams is not good enough. The end result is that we lost and lost by 24 points. If we can continue to get great effort, and focus better in practice so we can execute more efficiently in games, I think we can go on and have a good season.
“Oak Hill is a great basketball team and the chance for us to play them at their place is an honor. The students, players, faculty, coaches, and fans of Oak Hill are first class and treated us very well. It truly is a very different and interesting experience playing against one of the nation's most storied high school programs.”
Ridge View had four players hit double digits in scoring - Jamar Gillespie (15), Jamie Portee (16), Damian Moore (12) and Mike Green (12).
Oak Hill’s 24-point winning margin was actually the smallest of the season. Recently, OHA thumped Carolina Forest, the seventh-ranked Class 4A team in South Carolina, by a 100-52 count at a tournament in North Carolina.
Oak Hill was 40-1 last season, losing only to mythical national high school champion Findlay Prep.
The Blazers (3-4) return to action Friday against Fairfield Central in the first round of the Chick-fil-A Classic at Richland Northeast.