Day one of the Penny Hardaway Hoop Fest got off to a rousing start with three games featuring teams that call Tennessee home.
Our Savior New America 62
In the opener, Ensworth held serve but could not overcome the sheer size of Our Savior New America and fell in a close battle 62-55.
Will Downey (Ensworth) led all scorers with 19 points while Corn Elder (Ensworth) played a very solid floor game finishing with 11 points and 8 boards.
Oak Hill 69
Game #2 turned out to be one of the closest calls the powerful Oak Hill Academy Warriors have had to date this year as defending Class AAA state champion Craigmont took the juggernaut to the wire before falling 69-66.
The Chiefs clawed back from a small deficit to take a one point lead at 56-55 on a jumper from junior machine Sam "The Franchise" Craft (Craigmont).
Oak Hill claimed the lead again before a tip-in by Jordan Washington (Craigmont) knotted the score at 58.
The Warriors continued to hold a slight edge with some solid foul shooting but Craigmont closed the gap to 2 on a big three from senior guard Robert Houston (Craigmont).
Two more Oak Hill foul shots before Craft buried a three from over in Tunica to cut the margin to 67-66 with only 7 seconds remaining on the clock.
Again the Warriors were good from the charity stripe before Craft launched another bomb that did not connect and gave Oak Hill the narrow win.
Craft was outstanding finishing with 19 points. He was accompanied in the score book by Washington who finished with 17 markers.
Montverde Academy 76
White Station 70
Leron Black (White Station) put on a show for the folks at the inaugural Penny Hardaway Hoop Fest. The big sophomore scored 28 points and snatched 13 boards but it would prove not to be enough as White Station battled but fell just short against national power Montverde Academy 76-70.
The Spartans rode an 11-0 run into a one point lead on a bucket from Black but could not maintain the momentum down the stretch.
Nych Smith (White Station) was simply outstanding as a freshman playing against two guards committed to play at Florida in Michael Frazier and Kasey Hill. The youngster tallied 17 points and played a marvelous floor game for the Spartans.
The schedule for tomorrow is chalk full of Tennessee representation:
11:30 Ensworth vs. Memphis Central
1:00 Memphis East vs. Our Savior New America
2:30 White Station vs. Briarcrest
4:00 CBHS vs. Dyer County
5:30 Ridgeway vs. Montverde Academy
7:00 Melrose vs. Oak Hill
8:30 Southwind vs. Chicago Simeon