Gray Collegiate opened Day Two of the Bojangles Bash with a learning experience that will help later in the season.
The War Eagles, the defending Class 2A state champions, were roughed up by Aspire Academy (KY) 78-59, leaving coach Dion Bethea thinking this was something his team needed more as an attention grabber than anything else.
Gray Collegiate could have had four starters back from last year’s title team but Juwan Gary, the Alabama commit that left over the summer for Liberty Heights in North Carolina, elected not to return. The War Eagles did have Jalen Deloach transfer in, but putting all the parts together has been challenging.
“We have to just keep playing regardless if we’re down or not,” Bethea said. “We have to play and finish the game. We have to get over these growing pains. We’re heavy at the guard spot and we still need to figure some things out rotation-wise. This is the time to do those things instead of later in the season.”
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The parts are there for Gray Collegiate to have another championship run. Four seniors are back, and all have big-game experience. Tommy Bruner led the way against the Wizards with 18 points and five assists, but he’s not alone.
Dallaz Corbitt muscled his way to 12 points and six rebounds while Jhalil Robinson added seven points and eight rebounds. Point guard Khalil Robinson is returning from an injured wrist that caused him to miss most of the playoff run. He contributed eight points, five rebounds and two assists.
The War Eagles trailed 20-19, after one quarter but foul trouble and a lack of experienced depth caught up with them. Aspire Academy, coming off a last-second loss to Ridge View the night before, led 39-30 at the half and it never got closer than five points in the second half.
Proper Obidiebube led the Wizards with 23 points and 17 rebounds.
Aspire Academy (KY) 78, Gray Collegiate 59
AA – Prosper Obidiebube 23, Ahmard Harvey 16, T.J. Toney 14, Jihaun Westbrook 13, Caleb Fields 10, Outten 2. GC – Tommy Bruner 18, Dallaz Corbitt 12, K. Robinson 8, J. Robinson 7, Rhone 4, Deloach 2, Gortman 2, McDuffie 2, Briggs 2, Barnes 2.
Oak Hill (VA) 86, Ridge View 58
Ridge View coach Yerrick Stoneman felt pretty good going into the fourth quarter of his team’s high-profile match-up with nationally ranked Oak Hill in the nightcap of the Bojangles Bash.
The Blazers trailed by ten and he knew one small run and they might be able to stretch to a close game in the closing minutes. Instead, the run went the other way as the Warriors pulled away with a dominate fourth quarter to close out an 86-58 win in from of a sold-out crowd.
Foul trouble and poor outside shooting hurt the Blazers as well. They were 2-of-18 from the three-point line and starter Walyn Napper and Anderson had four fouls at the start of the fourth quarter.
“I think leading up to the fourth quarter, we played well,” Stoneman said. “We competed even though we didn’t make shots. We kept it to ten and Napper got four fouls, so I was trying to sit him one minute. It jumped from ten to 16-point lead in less than a minute. We might have been tired from the great game we played (Thursday) night.”
Oak Hill legendary coach Steve Smith was impressed what he saw from Ridge View those first three quarters.
“They have three really good, physical guards. They didn’t play well tonight but they played great last night I was told. They hung around and it took us a while to shake them,” Smith said. “They have a really good team.”
The first and fourth quarters turned out to be Ridge View’s downfall. Oak Hill (9-0) jumped to a 23-10 lead after the opening period behind the play of Cam Thomas. The score was within striking distance at the half and to start the final quarter but a 19-6 ended any suspense and sent people heading to the exits.
Thomas and Cole Anthony, the top-rated point guard of the 2019 Class. Anthony scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter and Thomas poured in his nine of his game-high 33 points during that spurt.
“Thomas is averaging over 30 points. He has a scorer’s mentality,” Smith said. “If I could get him to guard as well as he scores, we would be better off.”
Former A.C. Flora and Lower Richland standout Christian Brown made his return to the Midlands in the win. He scored eight points with three rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes of action.
Anthony finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds with five steals and five assists.
Ja’Von Benson led Ridge View with 17 points.
Oak Hill 86, Ridge View 58
RV – Ja’Von Benson 17, Walyn Napper 11, JaVon Anderson 10, Wilson 8, McKie 4, Harris-James 2, Bynum 2, Rice 2, McKenny 2. OH – Cam Thomas 33, Cole Anthony 14, Kofi Cockburn 13, Brown 8, Cardwell 7, Rotegaard 5, Johnson 2, Scott 2, Jones, Jr. 2.
Huntington Prep (WV) 80, Our Savior New American (NY) 56
HP – A.J. Hoggard 21, Jaemyn Brakefield 19, J.T. Thor 16, Quinn Slazinski 13, Gatwech 6, Tribble 5. OSNA – Jonathan Kuminga 29, Fousseyni Drame 19, Barre 3, Townsend 3, H. Drame 2.
11 a.m. York Prep vs Dorman
12:30 p.m. Nation Ford vs North Mecklenburg (NC)
2 p.m. Huntington Prep (WV) vs Aspire Academy (KY)
Gym will clear out after 2 p.m. game
4:30 p.m. Cox Mill (NC) vs Trinity Christian (NC)
6 p.m. Oak Hill (VA) vs Liberty Heights (NC)
7:30 p.m. Lower Richland vs Ridge View
9 p.m. Gray Collegiate vs Cardinal Newman