Prep basketball: GW's Eddy leads South past North
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Not that Luke Eddy needed another honor, he added one more to his personal highlight reel at the North-South All-Star Basketball Classic Friday night.
Eddy, the former George Washington guard, who counted a state championship, Class AAA first-team all-state status and this year's Evans Award runner-up among his accolades, earned MVP honors with a game-high 24 points in a 92-81 South win at the South Charleston Community Center.
"I did what I always did, I go and play my hardest, I make my shots, and I win," Eddy said. "That's what I like the most, I won."
The North Bears led 41-39 at halftime though Eddy and his South Cardinals teammates employed an 11-0 run to begin the second half. From that point, the South squad never trailed.
Eddy, who will continue his basketball career at Elon University, provided the bulk of the production during the South's second-half comeback with 12 points in the first five minutes out of halftime.
"We kept them off the boards and it really looked like they got tired," Eddy said. "I wasn't even making a move and I was going right around them, so it was easy."
North assistant coach Rick Greene, Eddy's coach at GW, said he was pleased to see Eddy excel but it was bittersweet knowing the graduated senior is no longer with the Patriots program.
"It felt good to watch him shine, but it felt terrible knowing I don't have him anymore," he said. "It's just been a real privilege to coach him for four years. He's just an outstanding young man and what everyone saw tonight is what we've had in the privilege of watching him practice for four years. I was really happy for him to go out that way."
Eddy said he won't have long to bask in the success of his final high school contest. He leaves for Elon today.
"I leave for college (Saturday) morning, summer school," he said. "It feels good to go out with a win. It's great to spend it with a group of guys I never really met before. They're all good kids and I enjoyed it a lot. I want to thank them for putting me in this game. I really liked it."
While strategy and defense rarely figure as factors in an all-star type game, Greene said that's exactly what created separation for the South team in the second half
"The difference was we made an extra pass and we rotated back, and they didn't get any breakouts on defense," he said. "Those were the two main things."
Some words from South Coach Chuck Elkins, of Buffalo, also went a long way.
"Chuck talked to them at halftime and told them we need to make the extra pass," Greene said. "I thought Coach Elkins had a great way to say it. He said, 'take the shot you take during the regular season' and we started doing that. I just thought our kids went back and shared the basketball. That was the main thing. We got better shots."
At the end of the Cardinals' 11-0 run to start the second half, the South squad led 50-41. That lead ballooned to as many as 26 late in the second half.
In addition to extra passes and tighter defense, Elkins said the North team won with speed, something Elkins employs regularly with the Class A Bison.
"That was the pace we wanted to play and we just wanted to out-run them," he said. "Truthfully, we were a little afraid of (Donte) Grantham inside, but he never did really go inside. We thought they had a size advantage on us. We just wanted to out-run them."
Grantham, the 6-7 reigning Evans Award winner, finished with a rather quiet 13 points, though he added several blocks inside defensively.
"It felt good to play with my teammates for the last time and the guys from our area and everybody around the state," Grantham said, noting the opportunity to play with fellow Martinsburg teammates Jalen Lewis and Jordan Robinson.
"If I don't get the touches on offense, I have to make an impact somehow defensively, just look for blocks, I guess, and that's what I did."
Grantham will report to Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) Aug. 24. In the meantime, he said he plans to spend the summer working out and attending invitational camps in Florida, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, as he continues to hone his craft.
"I can work on all aspects of my game, but mostly I think creating for myself, finishing when I get to the hole, just going hard, go hard every play," he said.
Fairmont Senior's Travon Horton, who will walk-on at Fairmont State, earned MVP honors for the North squad with a team-high 16 points. Lewis also reached double figures with 14 points and Parkersburg South's Doug Dennis finished with 11.
For the Cardinals, Tug Valley's Austin Brewer and Nitro's Angelo Sirianni each had 13 points. Josh Martin, of Greenbrier West, recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. West Virginia University walk-on Brett Morris, of Webster County, scored 10 points.
In pre-game activities, University's Travis Tomer won both the 3-point shooting and dunk contests. Scott's Matt Dolan captured the free-throw shooting contest title.