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Four for four

Brewster hoop boys win fourth consecutive New Hampshire Prep Classic

THE BREWSTER basketball team poses with the trophy after winning its fourth consecutive New Hampshire Prep Classic. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
November 14, 2011
PEMBROKE — The Brewster Academy boys' basketball team pulled away from a resilient Notre Dame Prep late in the second half to walk off the Pembroke Academy court with its fourth consecutive New Hampshire Prep Classic title.

The annual tournament, which features the Bobcats, Notre Dame Prep from Fitchburg, Mass, Rise Basketball Academy of Philadelphia, Pa. and Redemption Christian Academy of Troy, N.Y., brings together some of the top prep players in the country. The Bobcats have won the tournament since its beginning.

Brewster opened the tournament on Saturday evening against Redemption Christian and struggled a bit out of the gate, as the New York kids got out to an early lead and forced the Bobcats to play from behind.

JaKarr Sampson got the tournament's first basket on an alley-oop from Semaj Christon, but Redemption responded with the next eight points before Sampson got Brewster back on the board. TJ Warren put in a hoop to cut the lead to 7-6, but Redemption drilled a three-pointer to up the lead to four.

After a Mitch McGary free throw, Sampson got a rebound and a hoop to cut the lead to one, only to see Redemption hit another three-pointer to pull ahead by four.

Warren and Sampson hit back-to-back buckets to tie the score at 13, but Redemption got a field goal and a three-pointer to pull ahead by five.

Christon and Warren hit hoops to cut the lead to one, but Redemption answered right back. Warren hit another hoop to again cut the lead t one, but again, Redemption had an answer.

Christon hit a hoop to make it 22-21, but a three-point play from Redemption made it a four-point lead again.

A rebound and bucket from Jalen Reynolds cut the lead in half and a steal and hoop from Warren tied the game at 25 midway through the first half.

Forty seconds later, Sampson gave Brewster its first lead since 2-0 and Aaron Thomas followed with a pair of free throws and Christon hit a hoop to up Brewster's lead to 31-25. Redemption got another bucket, but Christon hit a pair from the charity stripe to keep Brewster in control.

After another Redemption hoop, Christon hit three buckets in a row, the first on a great feed from Joe Bramanti, stretching the lead to 39-29. After a pair of Redemption free throws, Christon completed a three-point play for a 42-31 lead. Redemption got a three-pointer, but Sampson hit a bucket and Thomas finished off his own steal to up the lead to 46-34. After another Redemption three, McGary hit back-to-back hoops to close out the first half with Brewster up by a 50-37 score.

Brewster kept building the lead in the second half, as a pair of free throws from Thomas and a Warren bucket got them off and running. Redemption did hit a couple of hoops early to keep the lead at 10, and cut it to under 10 on a three-point play after two Christon free throws. However, Sampson hit four free throws to answer, then finished off a great pass from Christon to make it 62-49.

Warren put in a hoop to up the lead to 15 then stepped back and drilled a three-pointer to push it to 18. Redemption got a pair from the line and a three-pointer to cut into the lead, but Brewster went on a big run to put the game on ice.

McGary and Reynolds started the run with hoops and McGary got two free throws to keep it going. Thomas had back-to-back hoops, Christon had a pair from the line and Sampson had a hoop and two free throws to complete the 16-0 run that stretched the lead to 83-54 before Redemption got back on the board.

From there, Brewster put it on cruise control, as McGary got a hoop, Warren hit two free throws and put home a bucket, Thomas hit one from the line, Reynolds had a three-pointer and a bucket, John Edwards had a free throw and Richard O'Brien drained a hoop, closing out a 98-67 win.

Sampson led the way for Brewster with 22 points, while Christon and Warren each finished with 21. McGary and Thomas both added 11 in the win.

The win set up a game with Notre Dame Prep in the finals. There were a few other story lines in the finals, as Notre Dame head coach Ryan Hurd was formerly an assistant coach under Brewster head coach Jason Smith and former Kingswood JV coach Tim Lee serves as an assistant on the Notre Dame staff, while his brother Josh serves as one of Smith's assistant coaches at Brewster, leaving their parents to cheer for both teams.

The two teams fought back and forth the entire way, but Brewster pulled away late in the second half for a 108-89 win to claim the tourney title.

Thomas got Brewster on the scoreboard first with a pair of free throws, but Notre Dame hit the next two buckets to take the lead.

Hoops from Warren, McGary and Sampson pushed Brewster to an 8-4 lead before Prep got back on the board.

McGary then got a big rebound and hoop to make it 10-6, but Notre Dame answered with a three-pointer to cut the lead to one.

Christon went baseline for a hoop but another Notre Dame three tied the game at 12. Sampson brought down the house with a huge rebound and dunk for a 14-12 lead, but a three-pointer but Notre Dame on top by one.

Reynolds then finished off a big dunk on a nice feed from McGary to put Brewster back on top and Bramanti added to that lead with a hoop. Thomas had a big dunk off a McGary steal to make it 20-15, but three from the line cut the lead to just two.

Warren hit a hoop and Thomas then hit back-to-back buckets and added a foul shot to the second hoop to push the lead to 27-18. After a Notre Dame free throw, Thomas hit another bucket to give Brewster a 29-19 lead.

Notre Dame got another three, but Christon answered with a nice move through traffic for two. Prep got another three and after a Warren hoop drained another from beyond the arc to make it 33-28.

Sampson and McGary hit back-to-back buckets and Sampson then through down a great dunk on an alley-oop from Christon to make it 39-28 before Prep hit a pair from the line. Notre Dame then hit a field goal and a three-pointer to cut the lead to 39-35 before Warren, Christon, Thomas and Bramanti hit consecutive buckets to push the lead to 47-35.

Notre Dame got two more from behind the arc to cut the lead to six, but Thomas drilled a three of his own to make it 50-41. Notre Dame got two free throws and a field goal to cut the lead to five, but a three from Edwards and a steal and dunk from McGary upped the lead to 55-45. Notre Dame got two more free throws but a McGary tip at the buzzer gave Brewster a 57-47 halftime lead.

A steal and bucket from McGary opened the second half and Sampson followed with two free throws. Thomas then finished off a McGary feed for a 63-47 lead before Notre Dame even got on the board. Prep followed with two hoops and a three-pointer to cut the lead to 63-54, but Christon hit a bucket to push the lead back to double digits.

After another Notre Dame three, Sampson finished off a nice Christon feed for a 67-57 lead, but Notre Dame hit two from the line and added a field goal to make it a six-point game.

Christon drilled another hoop and Thomas hit from beyond the arc to push the Brewster lead to 11, only to see Notre Dame answer with a pair from the line and a bucket.

Thomas and Sampson hit back-to-back hoops, but Notre Dame's hot shooting from beyond the arc continued to keep them in the game. Thomas hit two from the line and Prep answered. Warren and Sampson hit hoops but both times Prep answered. After another Warren hoop, Notre Dame hit a three and a field goal to cut the lead to 84-77 with 7:30 to go in the game.

Christon answered by taking the ball to the hoop for two and after a free throw from Notre Dame, Thomas hit back-to-back buckets to stretch the lead back to 12.

However, Notre Dame hit yet another three-pointer and sunk two free throws to cut the lead back to seven. Christon and McGary hit buckets, with Bramanti making a nice feed on McGary's hoop, pushing the lead back to 11, but another Notre Dame three-pointer kept them hanging around at 94-86.

McGary hit a pair from the line with 2:50 to play to push the lead back to 10, but Notre Dame answered with the same thing at the other end.

After Christon hit a free throw, Notre Dame again answered, but Thomas sank a huge three-pointer with 2:10 to play that put the game away, stretching the lead to 100-89 and Brewster didn't allow Notre Dame to score the rest of the way. Christon, Sampson and Thomas had buckets and Thomas added two free throws down the stretch to close out the win.

Thomas had 36 points, while Sampson added 19, Christon had 17, McGary had 16 and Warren had 12.

Christon was named tournament MVP for his play in the two games.

The Bobcats will play this weekend in the National Prep Showcase at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Conn. Brewster plays Fisburne Military Academy on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. and Massanutten Military Academy at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Brewster is back in action at home on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 4 p.m. against Holderness.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at sportsgsn@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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