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April 13, 2013
Although the weather outside is slowly indicating a spring strong-hold, there was still basketball to be played in Beckley, WV Saturday afternoon. Four West Virginia basketball commits and two potential late additions were on the court together at the Raleigh County Convention Center, competing in the annual Scott Brown Memorial Classic All-Star game.
Class of 2013 Mountaineer commits Nathan Adrian, Elijah Macon, Brandon Watkins and Devin Williams were on hand, along with target Donte Grantham and potential walk-on Chase Connor in the all-star showdown, with all six players sharing the spotlight.
The WVU targets were all confined on the same team, the Little General All Stars, going up against the Crossroads Chevy All Stars.
The action began early with four of the six Mountaineer targets starting for the Little General squad. Adrian, Grantham, Watkins and Williams started alongside Woodrow Wilson H.H. (Beckley, WV) guard Andrew Johnson, winning the opening tip.
The West Virginia commits quickly used their height advantage on the offensive end, taking early advantage of the interior mismatch. Watkins became the first Mountaineer commit to make his presence known in the contest, connecting on two-straight layups to open the game.
Adrian and Williams also opened the game with strong interior showings, taking full advantage of the height mismatch for quick baskets. Williams, in particular, impressed early with his ability to penetrate the lane. On one series, the WVU commit put the ball on the floor, spinning around a duo of defenders for the contested layup, giving the Little General squad an early 12-11 lead.
Macon and Connor entered about six minutes into the contest, with both making an immediate impact. Showcasing an impressive physique and dominating presence, Macon quickly became the focal point of Little General's offense, maintaining a calm composure when pressured in the interior.
Connor, meanwhile, showcased why he is being looked at by several schools as a potential shooter, nailing his first shot attempt from beyond the arc to extend the lead, 29-22.
The Little General squad began to show weakness on defense near the end of the first half, as the guard-heavy Crossroads Chevy team took it to the Mountaineer targets with a fast-break attack.
The previous double-digit advantage for Little General disappeared in the final 10 minutes of the half, with Crossroads Chevy tying the ballgame at 41 with seconds remaining. Little General's Ra'Shaud Kincaid would hit a buzzer-beating three, however, to give the squad a 44-41 halftime lead.
West Virginia targets dotted the halftime box score, with Williams leading the way with 10 points, eight rebounds. Adrian and Macon also contributed greatly with nine points apiece.
There was a reversal of roles in the second half, as the Crossroads Chevy squad came out hot to open up play. Utilizing a strong speed advantage, despite being greatly over-matched in size, the Crossroads squad poured on a fast-break style of offense, wearing down the West Virginia targets.
In an effort that would make old Loyola Maramount proud, Crossroads is going guard heavy, running the court fast and rarely taking more than 15 seconds off the shot clock per possession. Despite their physical nature, you can tell Team LG is getting awfully winded on the court, going up against this fast-paced attack. Team LG/WVU down 68-60 with 10 minutes remaining.
But Little General would come roaring back thanks to a strong performance from Williams. The leading scorer and rebounder at halftime, Williams continued to show great athletic ability and a strong court presence, acting as the apparent leader for the Little General squad.
The lanky forward utilized a great advantage and skill offensively midway through the half, jumping in front of a ball in the front court for the steal, driving down the lane, spinning around a defender for the strong layup.
Connor would quickly follow up Williams' offensive output with a step-back three, cutting the lead to six - 73-67 - with just seven minutes remaining.
Little General would continue to chip away at the deficit, with Williams tying up the contest at 85 with just 35 seconds remaining. A last-ditch effort for both squads would fail, sending the game into overtime.
In the extra time, the Little General squad would handle the defensive deficiencies, holding their opponent to __ points in the five minute period while showcasing their offensive strength. A two-handed slam by Macon with one minute remaining helped seal the deal for the Little General squad, sending the Beckley crowd home with a strong feeling towards the future of WVU basketball.
Final Score: Little General All Stars (WVU) 98, Crossroads Chevy 92.
For in-depth statistics and analysis on the players, plus interviews with the West Virginia targets, check out WVSports.com throughout the week.
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