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Lehigh Valley Hoop Group Showcase – St. Benedict’s vs. McNamara
Saturday, 31 January 2009

By Bill Martin
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This past Sunday I took a drive up to Parkland High School in Allentown, Pennsylvania to watch a number of talented teams participate in the Lehigh Valley Hoop Group Showcase.

In the second game of the day for me, Bishop McNamara went up against perennial powerhouse St. Benedict's.  This proved to be a much better game then the first one I watched.

This was a hard fought battle and a close game up all the way into the final quarter.  St. Benedict’s was finally making a bit of a run and looked like they were going to pull away from McNamara.  But due to some poor foul shooting by St. Benedict's they failed to put any significant distance between them and McNamara and allowed them to pull within 1 with only 18 seconds remaining.

Talib Zanna then fouled St. Benedict’s Tamir Jackson to send him to the line.  This was the fifth foul on Zanna eliminating him from the rest of the game.  Tamir proceeded to knock down both his attempts putting the lead back at 3. 

On the ensuing possession McNamara took the ball down the court and was really looking for Rashad Whack to take the shot, but the defense was keyed in on him.  North Carolina A&T commit Lawrence Smith found himself with the ball and had a good look from three.  He knocked down the tying shot with only 2 seconds remaining in the game sending it into overtime.

Rashad Whack picked up his fifth foul early in the overtime, so without Zanna and Whack Bishop McNamara did not have enough firepower to stay with St. Benedict's.  McNamara was outscored by 10 in the extra period and lost by the final score of 80-70.

Here are the player evaluations from this very entertaining game. 

St. Benedict’s

Tamir Jackson (2009, 6-2 PG) committed to Rice
Whenever I get a chance to see Tamir play he always produces and this game was no exception.  He hit a pair of shots from behind the arc, including one which he shot off the dribble and between two defenders.  Tamir was also able to get to the hoop, and on one occasion he made a beautiful spin move to get into the lane and then hit a floater.  He also was able to show off his passing ability.  His best pass of the day came when he drove baseline and then threaded the needle between two defenders finding his teammate for an easy layup.  Towards the end of the overtime McNamara was fouling to try to get back in the game so St. Benedict's made sure to get the ball to Tamir.  He hit 8 out of 9 free throw attempts overall, including 5 in the OT to ice the game.

Aaron Brown (2010, 6-4 SG)
Aaron was able to score out in transition in this one.  On defense he got a steal and then got out on the break by himself for a dunk.  He moved well without the ball and hit a layup after receiving a pass while cutting along the baseline.  Aaron took a pair of shots from behind the arc but missed both.

Lamar Patterson (2009, 6-5 SG/F) committed to Pittsburgh
Lamar finished as the game's leading scorer with 21 points and was also named MVP of this contest.   He hit some outside jump shots and consistently finished strong around the hoop.

JP Kambola (2010, 6-9 PF/C)
JP did not play a whole lot, but it was impossible to not take notice of a kid his size.  In his limited minutes he made a fantastic pass out of the post to a teammate who cut along the baseline and he also scored on a put back after grabbing an offensive rebound.

Bishop McNamara

Rashad Whack (2009, 6-2 SG) committed to George Mason
This was a very rough outing for Rashad as he struggled all throughout the game.  He was well defended on almost every possession and he was forced to take a lot of difficult shots.  His jump shot was just not falling so he attempted to drive but could not finish at the hoop or on any running shots.  Rashad's only points came on an open three pointer and a layup out on the break after he got a steal.  You knew this was just not Rashad's day because he was not even getting any calls from the refs.  He was receiving a lot of contact throughout the game and even had his legs cut out from under him once, but did not get to the free throw line one time.  Rashad did show some the ability to handle the ball but just could not get anything going all day.

Talib Zanna (2009, 6-9 PF) committed to Pittsburgh
Zanna earned the MVP award for his team with 21 points and 14 rebounds.  He dominated in the paint rebounding and scoring around the hoop.  Talib also showed some ability to put the ball on the floor.

Brandon Coleman (2010, 6-7 PF)
While Talib Zanna receives most of the attention in the post for McNamara, they do have another talented, athletic forward in Brandon Coleman.  Brandon first caught my attention by hitting a turnaround jumper from the post.  His next bucket was scored on a put back after grabbing an offensive rebound and was fouled.  He did however miss the following free throw and was only 1 for 3 from there overall in the game.  Brandon showed off his leaping ability on a spectacular 1 hand dunk out on the break, and with a pair of blocked shots. 

Ibn Muhammad (2011, 5-8 PG)
This diminutive guard managed to impress without getting a ton of minutes.  He started off by hitting nothing but the bottom of the net on a running floater in the lane.  On another possession Ibn sliced through the lane and made an outstanding no look pass to Talib Zanna for a dunk.

Last Updated ( Friday, 20 March 2009 )
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