Bishop Gorman (Nev.) defeated Bishop O'Connell (Va.) easily without the services of two of its starters, super sophomore Shabazz Muhammad and forward Xavier Grimble.
Muhammad, who is picking up major college offers on a seemingly weekly basis, suffered a lower-back muscle strain during the Gaels' home tournament last week. He underwent X-rays to make sure the injury was not worse, and the tests returned negative, coach Grant Rice said Monday morning after the team's shoot around.
The Gaels made the trip to the east coast to get Muhammad more national attention but Rice does not want to risk any future damage to Muhammad's back. Instead scouts witnessed the coming out party for Bishop O'Connell sophomore Rosco Allen. At 6-foot-7 Allen displayed an inside-outside game that will attract many Division-I colleges in the future.
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"Shabazz is day-to-day, but we don't want to risk anything," Rice said. "He will participate in shoot around again [today] and we will reevaluate from there.
"We came out ready to play without him [Monday] but obviously if he is healthy we could use him."
Grimble (6-5, 250, senior), is also missing Beach Ball action to attend practices for the Under Armour All-American Football Game which takes place on Jan. 2 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Grimble is the nation's No. 1 ranked tight end in the class of 2010 and has committed to play at Southern Cal.
Same name, same game.
Not only does St. Frances (Md.) point guard Sam Cassell Jr. share the same name as his father, he shares the same game as him too. When Cassell Jr. picked up his second foul with 6:23 to play in the first half and immediately threw his arms in the air in disbelief and when his teammate didn't get a call on the other end he sought out an explanation from the official.
The elder Cassell was known for his feistiness and his free will to voice his emotions on the floor during his 15-year stint in the NBA.
Perhaps Cassell Jr. has rubbed off on his teammates as well. Just two minutes into the second half, RJ Williams sold a light elbow to the face from Scott County guard Tanner Shotwell. When the referee blew the whistle and called an offensive foul to which Cardinal head coach Billy Hicks replied, "I think you got tricked, ref."
"We have played a lot of teams from the Baltimore/D.C. area and one thing I can tell you about them is they are very smart players," Hicks said. "They know how to get calls."
After playing on the junior varsity squad as a sophomore at Towson Catholic, the younger Cassell transferred to St. Frances to play with a start-studded lineup that features several Division-I recruits.
"Playing with Sam is a lot of fun," said teammate R.J. Williams. "He plays a lot like his dad...once he start playing a little more and stop talking to the refs he will be a great player.
"A lot of that comes from the way we practice. We go real hard and don't really call anything in practice. We all have to make that adjustment when we are in the games."
Rusty in win
Despite not working out for nine days over the holiday break, Cedar Hill (Texas) escaped opening round action with a 53-50 victory over Mount St. Joseph (Md.). In compliance with Texas state rules, the Longhorns were forced to take five days off around the Christmas holiday not including Sunday's (when no team is able to workout).
The last time Cedar Hill held a practice was Dec. 19 before Monday's walk through at Socastee High School.
"I thought that we could have played a lot better," said Milson whose team arrived in Myrtle Beach late Saturday night. "We have had a lot of time off and I think it showed in our conditioning."
The Longhorns still shot the ball at decent clip connecting on 51 percent of their attempts, Milson's son, Tanner (a starting guard for Cedar Hill) admitted that he and his teammates were winded.
"We weren't able to get in the gym and do anything this past week," said the younger Milson. "And to be honest I think I was the only one that went out and ran."
Brewer preaches off the court
Following Saturday's win over Myrtle Beach, Concord (N.C) coach Scott Brewer asked reporters and tournament officials where he could take his team to attend church services the following morning. When asked how the service went on Sunday he had this to say.
"It's a long story," Brewer said. "We ended up going to the Beach Church. We thought the service started at 9 and it didn't start until 9:30. I was worried we were going to miss breakfast so we headed back to the hotel.
"I ended up bringing the kids into my room and I preached to them."
"It was on temptations and taking accountability," Brewer said.