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Peddie School standout sparkles in Crescent Bank Holiday Invitational

Growing up with two older brothers, Haley Peters learned early in life that she couldn't rely on her size in the family's pickup games.

At 6-foot-2, Peddie School's (N.J.) junior standout is often the tallest person on the court. But there was a time when her 6-4 and 6-5 brothers would bully her in the paint.

``Growing up I never really played inside,'' said Peters, whose team beat Lower Richland 51-49 in the semifinals of the Crescent Bank Holiday Invitational on Monday.

``I used to play a lot with my brothers and my dad. You have to learn how to create shots besides just playing inside.

``It's something I've worked on a lot ... not just being a stiff, big girl playing inside, but being more versatile and going outside.''

Despite her height and ability to dominate inside, Peters has the build and the skills of a guard. She has range from the perimeter, is able to handle the ball effectively and has proficiency in basketball's lost art: the mid-range jumper.

She scored 43 points in Peddie's first two wins (18 for 30 shooting), adding 23 rebounds and six assists. She added eight points and 10 rebounds in Monday's win, helping the Falcons erase a deficit that reached 17 points in the first half.

``I think it makes it easier for me, especially playing against people that have more muscle mass than I do, to make people have to defend the entire game,'' Peters said.

Her inside-out versatility, which is somewhat reminiscent of the European players who have slowly filtrated into the NBA, has attracted the attention of several notable college programs.

Vanderbilt and Boston College have already extended scholarship offers, while Duke, Georgetown and Notre Dame are among the others showing significant interest.

``She is somebody who's constantly in the gym and extremely driven,'' said Peddie coach Sean Casey, whose team meets Fayette County (Ga.) in today's championship at 3 p.m.

``I think she's always been a talented player. She's a great student of the game. She watches great players and tries to emulate them.''

In Monday's semifinal, Peters spent all but four minutes of the first half on the bench after picking up three quick fouls, including a technical for disputing the second call against her.

With Peters on the floor in the second half, the Falcons turned a 12-point halftime deficit into a lead that reach five points at one point in the second half.

``Just her presence alone is a big difference,'' said Peddie's Lexie Gerson, who scored 10 points in the win. ``Everyone has to be aware of her on the court. Without her, it's a big difference.''

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