STORY BY CHIP CIRILLO | PHOTO BY WHITNEY JARRELD
Brentwood Academy couldn’t stop Oak Ridge late in the game, so the Eagles had to settle for a fourth-place finish.
Herbert Booker sank two foul shots with 6.1 seconds left, giving Oak Ridge a 66-65 win over BA in the Next Level Hoops Fest at Christ Presbyterian Academy on Saturday night.
“Down the stretch, we scored every time and could not get a stop,” Eagles coach Hubie Smith said. “They scored the last six possessions. And that’s what was frustrating. We just had a breakdown.”
It was the Battle of the Marcuses with BA’s Marcus Fitzgerald scoring 28 points while Oak Ridge’s Marcus Smith had 24.
“He’s really quick,” Fitzgerald said of Smith. “We didn’t really have an answer. He took over the game.”
Smith was nearly unstoppable on his drives to the hoop late. The senior hit 8 of 11 from the floor, 3 of 4 from beyond the 3-point stripe and buried all five of his foul shots.
“I was just determined to score,” said Smith, a small-school prospect. “I was just in attack mode, so whoever was in front of me I was going to attack them.”
Oak Ridge double-teamed Fitzgerald on the final possession, so he passed it to Clay Holmes on the perimeter. Holmes’ off-balance 3-point attempt bounced off the back rim at the buzzer.
Randy Brady, BA’s leading scorer (23 ppg) and rebounder (8.5 rpg), missed his third straight game with flu-like symptoms.
Smith hopes Brady and Devyn Curtis (shoulder injury) will return to the lineup next week.
“They’re a little short-handed, but they’re good without those guys,” said Wildcats coach Aaron Green, a former Tennessee guard. “What a game. Back and forth there the last two or three minutes. We had a hard time guarding Fitzgerald and he made a lot of huge plays.”
Fitzgerald hit 8 of 12 from the floor, including five 3-pointers., and 7 of 8 foul shots.
The lead changed hands eight times during the last seven minutes.
B.J. Davis and Cory Reynolds both added 11 points for the Eagles (10-3), who made only eight turnovers.
Booker, Javonte Thomas and Joe Kesterson each scored 12 points for Oak Ridge (11-4), which outrebounded BA 29-19 and shot 56.1 percent from the floor.
“Our two best defenders didn’t play tonight and they’re also our two best rebounders,” Hubie Smith said of Brady and Curtis. “We’re missing a lot, but you’ve got to give them a lot of credit. We haven’t had our whole team yet, but where we are is really good.”
Dunham 73, Whitehaven 70
MVP Carlos Stewart scored 22 points, including four 3-pointers, and Salle Wilson added 20, leading Dunham (Baton Rouge, La.) to the championship.
Whitehaven’s Matthew Murrell led all scorers with 35 points as the Tigers’ rally fell short despite outscoring Dunham 31-18 in the fourth quarter.
Dunham, the defending Louisiana Class 2A champion, connected on 11 of 25 from beyond the 3-point stripe.
MVP: Carlos Stewart, Dunham. Dunham: Salle Wilson, Jordan Wright; Oak Ridge: Herbert Booker, Marcus Smith; Brentwood Academy: Marcus Fitzgerald; First Academy: Kanye Jones; Woodward: Walker Kessler; CPA: Braeden Moore; Whitehaven: Matthew Murrell, Jordan Wilmore
Photo from previous game.