Allen named MVP, leads Providence (Fla.) to Beach Ball Classic title

ablondin@thesunnews.comDecember 31, 2013 

Providence's Grayson Allen (1) goes for the shot during the finals of the 2013 Beach Ball Classic held a the Myrtle Beach Convention Center Tuesday night.

BY KEITH ALAN JACOBS — For The Sun News

All the highlight moments Grayson Allen provided during the 33rd Beach Ball Classic at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center weren’t solely for show.

They contributed to his team’s greater purpose.

The Duke commitment again shined in Tuesday night’s championship game with 26 points and nine rebounds to lead Providence (Jacksonville, Fla.) to a 69-43 win over Northland (Columbus, Ohio).

“The one goal coming here is to win a championship. It’s a team sport,” said Allen, a 6-4 senior guard who won the tournament’s dunk contest. “The individual stuff is nice, like the dunk competition, it was a lot of fun to be in stuff like that, but our ultimate goal is to win it all.”

Providence (10-3), which won a Florida state championship last season, dominated the second half after holding just a two-point lead at halftime.

Allen was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after averaging 24 points in four games and shot 67 percent, which was second in the tournament only to teammate Wyatt Walker, a 6-9 junior center who had 11 points and 12 rebounds in the title game.

The Beach Ball is also about entertainment, however, and Allen and fellow 6-4 senior guard Christian Terrell provided that over the course of the tournament through soaring dunks, deep 3-pointers, contorted finishes at the rim and the extra pass on several occasions.

“In Florida, this is just how we play, this is what we come out and do every game,” Allen said. “Me and Christian, that’s just how we finish around the rim. To come up here to South Carolina, where a lot of people haven’t seen us play yet, it’s pretty cool to excite some fans.”

Allen also skied for a few impressive blocks in the tournament. Terrell, a Florida-Gulf Coast signee, had 16 points and eight rebounds Tuesday and averaged 14.3 points per game in the tournament.

Terrell and Allen got off to a quick start Tuesday as Terrell scored on a layup and threw an alley-oop that Allen tipped in with one hand to give Providence a 4-0 lead.

Northland responded with a 20-8 run to take an eight point lead six minutes into the game. Senior guard Shemar Waugh had a pair of 3-pointers in the early run and Derek McKeithen had a dunk and 3-pointer and Seth Towns added a trey and pair of free throws.

A 10-2 Providence run keyed by Allen evened the score. In the game’s opening 7:15, Allen had the one-handed tip-in, pair of 3-pointers and three-point play on a circus up-and-under layin from the baseline.

The team’s exchanged the lead four times in the final minutes of the first half before Providence took a 29-27 advantage into halftime.

Northland (7-2) went cold in the opening four minutes of the second half, as several shots rattled around and off the rim but wouldn’t fall, allowing Providence to open the half with a 12-0 run to take a 14-point lead.

“We missed a bunch of shots that we usually make,” Northland coach Sean Taylor said. “We just got cold. We weren’t attacking and we were worried about what was not being called and what was being called. … We just didn’t have the fight. But I can’t complain because those guys fought all week down here and I’m proud of them.”

In the 12-0 run, Terrell found Walker down low for a basket and had a layin, Allen had a contested layin and 3-pointer, and Ben Bobbitt capped the spurt with a corner 3-pointer.

McKeithen ended Northland’s drought 4:50 into the second half with a three-point play in the paint, but it was quickly followed by an Allen dunk as a trailer on a break following nice passes from Terrell and Walker that began an 11-2 run that extended the advantage to 20.

The Vikings scored just five points in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

“The second half was great,” Providence coach Jim Martin said. “We played better defense and limited them to one shot and then rebounded the ball, and as usual Grayson and Christian played really well in the second half. And we had some good stuff coming off the bench.”

The Stallions shared the basketball, as they were credited with 17 assists on their 23 baskets, led by Terrell’s five assists, Allen’s four and Walker’s three helpers.

“I think what makes us pretty good is we play as a team,” Martin said. “We have very unselfish players who look for the open guy and the open guy does his job.”

Though Providence had 12 turnovers to Northland’s six, the Stallions handled Northland’s unrelenting full-court man-to-man pressure reasonably well and beat the press down court for several transition baskets.

“They handled our pressure really well,” Taylor said. “We weren’t able to turn them over much. We let [Allen] get off in the first half a little bit and in the second half we gave up way too many transition points, which is disappointing.”

Northland defeated Spring Valley, Bullis School (Md.) and Madison Memorial (Wis.) to reach the championship game, while Providence beat Socastee, Moeller (Ohio) and Bishop Loughlin (N.Y.) en route to the title.

“Unless we win it doesn’t really matter,” Terrell said. “Everybody stepped up really well and everybody played together, and that’s what won us the game.”

Northland (43) – Shemar Waugh 14, Ty Hairston 4, Derek McKeithen 13, Seth Towns 5, Doug Taylor 4, Jhustus Cornley 1, Jaylen Tucker 2.

Providence (69) – Grayson Allen 26, Christian Terrell 16, Ben Bobbitt 5, LaDarien Griffin 2, Wyatt Walker 11, Kedar Bryant 6, Luke Morris 3.

Halftime–Providence 29-27. 3-Point Goals–Northland 5 (Waugh 2, McKeithen 2, Towns 1), Providence 4 (Allen 3, Bobbitt) Fouled Out–Towns. Total Fouls–Northland 16, Providence 6. Records: Northland 7-2, Providence 10-3.

Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.

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