Akron, OH- The final game of the East vs West Basketball Classic featured host St. Vincent St. Mary going up against Toledo Central Catholic. For St. Vincent St. Mary they are coming off their 10th OHSAA state championship last season. They are the winningest program in the state’s history. As for Central Catholic, this is their first game of the season as they look to start the season off strong.
St. Vincent St. Mary is one of the more known high school basketball teams that the state of Ohio has ever seen and the alma mater of Lebron James. Safe to say all the fans were excited for the game.
The Fighting Irish won the tip and turned the ball over out of bounds not too long into their possession. Hitting the first shot for Central Cathlolic was Shy’Twan James on an easy layup off a nice pass inside. Later Makhi Leach hit a 3-pointer in the corner giving Central Catholic a 5-0 lead to start. Kevin Hamilton deflected a pass, and was able to easily get a layup for St.Vincent St. Mary's first points.
The Fighting Irish stole a pass, and Lance Hayes hits a 3-pointer as they went on an 8-0 run. Hayes drove into the paint later finishing with contact. Makhi Leach later responds with a 3-pointer in the left corner cutting the Central Catholic deficit to only two. Central Catholic’s KJ Johnson hits one of two free throws making the score 12-11 at the end of the first quarter.
To start the second quarter, Torell Hopson was blocked twice inside, but Darius Straford cleaned up the mess and scored for St. Vincent St. Mary. Stratford blocked the ball out of the air after a floater was taken, and the student section erupted. Johnson luckily hit a 3-pointer for Central Catholic to save their possession, and the score was tied 14 a piece. Stratford got an offensive rebound, leading to a pretty hook shot that was converted.
Sadly, KJ Johnson got injured trying to grab a rebound, and had to leave the game. Daniel Ajose got a steal, and that led to an and-one for St. Vincent St. Mary. He knocked down the free throw as well. Sir Charles Gordon hit a layup, and then immediately the team stole an inbounds pass for another layup. To end off the quarter, Lance Hayes got the ball inside and scored a layup. St. Vincent St. Mary led at halftime 27-16.
To start off the third quarter, Stratford got an easy pass inside and got the first points of the half. Stratford had to dive on the floor to steal the ball, but after the Fighting Irish regained the ball and were called for a charging foul. Hayes blocked the ball out of bounds, St. Vincent St. Mary’s second block of the game. After another Central Catholic turnover, Kevin Hamilton hit a 3-pointer giving the Fighting Irish a 7-0 run to start the third quarter.
Hayes stole the ball off of a poorly made pass, and scored a layup on the other end. Nick Modugno got a 3-pointer off of an inbounds pass, putting St. Vincent St. Mary up by 21. Hayes later hits one of two technical foul free throws. John Whorton hit an amazing hook shot, and then Hayes got a steal on Central Catholic’s inbound pass and he hit one of two free throws after being fouled. Michael Greenlee Jr. got an and-one on the other end, but missed his free throw. At the end of the third quarter, the score was 50-24 in favor of the Fighting Irish.
Aidan Callahan got a lead pass to start the fourth quarter, and scored an and-one but missed the free throw. Leach hit a 3-pointer, but the opposing team hits their own triple to cancel theirs out. Kevin Hamilton does an array of dribble moves, and ends up cashing in a mid-range jump shot. Hayes seemed to do a LeBron James-esque chasedown block, but it was called a foul instead. At the end of the fourth quarter the Fighting Irish came out on top 68-36.
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