Basketball at it's finest was achieved this past weekend in the Bluff City as the 2nd annual Penny Hardaway Hoop Fest took to the hardwood on Friday at Dyer County High School then the short drive over to White Station High School on Saturday.
On Friday night Germantown fell to a hard nosed Amanda Elzy (MS) squad 97-79. Four players finished in double digits for the Red Devils led by Jake Miller (Germantown) with 18. Devin Thornton (Germantown) added 17, Courtland Crutcher (Germantown) finished with 14 and Kennedy McKinney (Germantown) added 13.
Memphis Craigmont got down early but fought hard to a very good Arlington Country Day squad losing 98-73 at Dyer County. Richard Mazique (Craigmont) led the Chiefs with 23 markers. Ladarius Coleman (Craigmont) and Malcolm Taylor (Craigmont) finished with 11 each in the loss.
In the final contest on Friday night, the host team Dyer County held off a determined Harrisburg (IL) squad to the tune of 76-68 behind 19 points from Tennessee signee Robert Hubbs (Dyer County).
Malik Pugh (Dyer County) had a fine game for the host Choctaws scoring 18 while Jamal Ahmad (Dyer County) contributed 17 to the winning cause.
Saturday action at White Station got off to a rousing start as Memphis Ridgeway held on to the bitter end but could not slide past a very determined Sunrise Christian (KS) squad 67-52. Jonathan Burroughs-Cook (Ridgeway) and Desean Dockery (Ridgeway) led the Roadrunners with 16 and 14 respectively.
In game #2 the brothers Lawson did all they could do but Arlington Country Day proved too deep and too strong as they upended the Wildcats 91-75. The aforementioned Lawson brothers, Dedric Lawson (Hamilton) and Keelon Lawson (Hamilton), each scored 27 points in the loss.
Austin Nichols (Braircrest) showed why he is the top player in the state of Tennessee. The Memphis signee scored 23 points and snatched 12 caroms as the Saints would prove to be the only Memphis team to come out victorious on this day. Braircrest gets the win 63-58 over Fort Walton Beach (FL). Joining Nichols in the scoring column were Donnovan Spralls (Briarcrest) with 13 and Chris Hodges (Briarcrest) with 11.
The host school White Station ran into a buzz saw in the form of USA Today's third ranked squad Whitney Young from Chicago. Leron Black (White Station) took game scoring honors with 18 points and 10 boards but it was not enough as Whitney Young defeated the Spartans 61-40.
Short handed Melrose fought hard but couldn't find the depth to handle the inside presence of the nation's top ranked prep squad Findlay Prep and fell to the juggernaut 55-34 in a low scoring affair. Bradley Walker (Melrose) led the Golden Wildcats with 9 points.
The best game of the day was saved for the finale as two ranked squads battled to the bitter end with Chicago Simeon coming out on top over Southwind 55-53. The nation's top ranked player Jabari Parker, who finished with a team high 21, nailed a three from the corner giving Simeon the lead but Jujuan Johnsons (Southwind) final shot fell short.
Johnathan Williams (Southwind) was a monster in this contest scoring a game high 23 points and finishing with 9 boards. J3 played hard on both ends of the floor and proved he belonged with the big boys. Deckie Johnson (Southwind) added 13 in the tough loss.
Top Players at the Event: (Listed Alphabetically)
Leron Black (White Station)
Kevin "Lucky" Cheatham (Whitehaven)
Desean Dockery (Ridgeway)
Robert Hubbs (Dyer County)
Deckie Johnson (Southwind)
Connor Kelly (CBHS)
Nick King (Memphis East)
Dedric Lawson (Hamilton)
Keelon Lawson (Hamilton)
Richard Mazique (Craigmont)
Jake McDowell (CBHS)
Kennedy McKinney (Germantown)
Austin Nichols (Briarcrest)
Malik Pugh (Dyer County)
Johnathan Williams (Southwind)