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National High School Invitational Starts Strong
by Jordan Divens, Future150 (12:46 PM CT, Mon April 8, 2013)
Ishmail Wainright scored 21 Friday, but it wasn't enough
Ishmail Wainright scored 21 Friday, but it wasn't enough
Jordan Divens
Jordan Divens:

Regional Analyst Covering PA & Northern Ohio

Rockville, MD (Future150) -- The day started off with some fireworks, and it ended with the grand finale. If you were looking to watch some good basketball this past weekend, the NHSI was the place to be. Star power, exciting finishes, and overtime thrillers were all present on the first day of the 2013 National High School Invitational.

In the first game, Prime Prep (TX) took down Blanche Ely (FL) in an overtime thriller. The final was 66-65 and a late mistake by head coach Melvin Randall may have cost Blanche Ely a chance at a semi-final matchup with Montverde Academy. Blanche Ely called a timeout when his team had none left, and it gave Prime Prep two free throws that they took advantage of, letting them take home the win.

Standout Players:

Lance Tejada: Tejada didn’t light up the scoreboard with his scoring but instead was a steady hand at guard who often times kept Ely in the game with his ball-handling. Tejada finished with 12 points and played all 36 minutes of this overtime thriller.

Jordan Mickey: Mickey was the man for Prime Prep and carried his team to the victory finishing with 28 points, eight rebounds, and eight blocks. He was very efficient from the field, going 9-14 and 10-10 from the free throw line including a pair of free throws that ended up being the game winners. Mickey will look to make his impact next year on a bigger stage in the SEC with the LSU Tigers.

Elijah Thomas: Thomas didn’t get big minutes in this game, finishing with only nine minutes. However, he made his impact when it mattered most. He finished with seven points in his time of play and made numerous big buckets when his team needed it most. With Elijah only being a sophmore, look for him to be an impact performer next year in the Lone Star State.

In the second game of the day, St. Benedicts (NJ) took down La Lumiere (IN) 73-60. St. Benedict’s used the 3rd quarter to take a 10 point lead heading into the 4th and never looked back from there. St. Benedicts has one of the best backcourts in high school basketball and it showed throughout this contest.

Standout Players:

Detrick Mostella: Mostella was aggressive from the opening possession, leading his La Lumiere squad in scoring with 25 points in the game. He couldn’t find his groove from the outside, finishing 0-8 from behind the arc, but did most of his damage around the basket. If you take away his three point attempts he finished 10-18 from the field, but in the end, his 25 points were not enough. Next year Detrick will be scoring his points for Oklahoma State.

Tyler Ennis: Ennis is one of those players that rarely disappoints and he surely didn’t today. He was the man for St. Benedicts from start to finish, leading his team with 22 points including 8-8 from the charity stripe. It is evident that he is the floor leader and has a steady hand at point. Look for him to make an immediate impact for Syracuse next year.

Denzell Taylor: Taylor played a huge role in the St. Benedicts win, leading by example with his defense. Taylor not only finished with 11 points and 13 boards, but also denied seven shots on the defensive end. This guy is going to Old Dominion next year, but he sure played at a high major level today.

Mike Young: Young is another one who rarely disappoints and will consistently get his points and rebounds. He finished with an efficient 17 points and 9 boards on the first day of action. He finished 7-12 from the field and had a huge impact down low. He is extremely athletic, has a wide frame, and will look to make an impact next year in the Atlantic Coast Conference at Pittsburgh.

The third game of the NHSI was a heavyweight battle between two of the most talked about programs in the high school game in Montverde Academy and Oak Hill Academy. Montverde threw the last punch, however, taking the game 77-71 in overtime. A back and forth game from the tipoff didn’t lack for highlight plays nor did it lack for big time talent.

Standout Players:

Rokas Gustys: Gustys doesn’t always get a lot of love with teammates such as Troy Williams and Sindarius Thornwellhowever, in this one he kept his squad in the game with his play down low. Gustys played a huge role for the Warriors being matched up against Dakari Johnson for most of the night and accepting the challenge. He finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds and fought hard down low all night.

Dakari Johnson: Dakari is just one of those guys who doesn’t try to do too much but always ends up with a big game. Today he finished with 17 points, 13 boards, and seven blocks. Did I mention he played in the McDonald's All-American game the night before? This kid is a star and will have to compete hard with a crowded frontcourt at Kentucky next year.

Kasey Hill: Is it possible to mention Montverde this year without mentioning Hill? Another kid who played in the McDonald's game last night, Kasey had a gutty performance finishing with 10 assists for Montverde. He has been bothered by a sore knee and was clearly bothered by it in this one, but still managed to play 34 minutes and help his team collect the important victory.

Ben Simmons: Wow. That is the only word to describe Simmons coming out party for Montverde. In his first game with Montverde, he finished with 16 points, four steals, and a few highlight reel dunks. The sky is the limit for this kid with his athleticism, height, and potential. He is only a sophomore so watch out in the coming years because Ben is the real deal.

The 4th and final game of the day was between Findlay Prep and Montrose Christian. Findlay Prep is the number one team in the country and coasted to an easy win… is what you might have thought the storyline would be. Instead, the reality was that Findlay dug  down deep to mount a 4th quarter comeback against the "never say die" Montrose Christian squad. The final: 57-53.

Standout Players:

Ishmail Wainright: To say Mr. Wainright was feeling it would be an understatement. He was on fire in the second half and finished with 21 points on the game. Wainright has the body of NFL tight end, along with the skill set of a top basketball recruit, which is a deadly combination. Wainright is extremely versatile and will make an instant impact next year for the Baylor Bears.

Nigel Williams-Goss: Nigel is the definition of a winner. He will do anything in his power to win the game for his team and once again he showed this with his performance Friday. When it comes down to the wire, there is no player in the country that is better than Nigel Williams-Goss. He finished with 26 points, 16 of which came in the second half. The kid is a winner and will look to continue his winning ways next year at Washington.

Gavin Schilling: Schilling didn’t finish with big numbers for Findlay Prep, but what he did do was get buckets when they needed them. In the 4th quarter, when it wasn’t Williams-Goss finishing the play, it was Gavin Schilling coming up with a clutch contested layup underneath. While he didn’t score 20 points, he definitely did show some heart.


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