Reading Tip Off Media Round Up

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Last Friday night, the Hoop Group made its way to Reading High School for the Hoop Group Reading High School Showcase. Leading off a series of four high school showcases this winter, the Reading Tip Off Showcase featured two tightly contested match ups.

The first game on the schedule was between Chester High School and Berks Catholic. The game began as a low scoring affair and neither team was really able to gain much of an edge. The biggest lead of the first half belonged to Chester, who only was able to build up a five point advantage in the first 16.

In the second half, it was junior guard Khaleeq Campbell catching fire from deep. The 5’7 guard came out of the break and buried back to back threes for Chester. He finished with 15 points, all of which came from behind the arc. Berks held tough however, and the teams traded baskets for most of the third quarter. With time winding down in the third, senior post Conor Jack put up a half court shot as time expired and drained it, resulting in a huge roar from the Berks faithful.

The half court heave was a spark that helped ignite Jack in the final quarter. The senior took over and put Berks on his back, helping them regain a lead with 4:30 left to play. The lead was short lived however, and Chester went back on top when Keyonte Watkins drove inside for two. Watkins would also end up sealing the game with two free throws down the stretch. Final score would be 69-62 Chester.

Pop Lacey buries this three in the second half. He and Jack led Berks in the second half.

Pop Lacey buries this three in the second half. He and Jack led Berks in the second half.

Conor Jack was awarded MVP for Berks, finishing with 20 points. Sophomore teammate Tyron Nesby also had a strong performance for Berks. On the other side, while Campbell and Watkins solidified Chester’s guard play, forward Marquis Collins wound up being the game MVP for Chester. He finished with 17 points and proved to be a strong finisher in the painted area.

Reading Eagle Breaks Down Chester vs. Berks Catholic

The second game of the evening featured host team Reading High School and Penn Wood High School. Excitement began to grow as more and more fans packed the gym; these fans would not go home disappointed, as they were treated to a great game. Not only was the game a tightly contested on, but everyone in attendance Friday night saw two tremendous offensive showings.

The gym was packed to see host team Reading take on Penn Wood on Friday

The gym was packed to see host team Reading take on Penn Wood on Friday

For Reading, they got a taste of just how good Lonnie Walker can be. The sophomore guard was a “do it all” player on Friday night; he was tough on the boards and came up with a number of steals on defense. Offensively he was terrific, hitting a series of tough step backs and drawing several “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd. No play was more electrifying than his alley oop dunk, however. Receiving a lob from teammate Ty Gibson Jr., Walker threw down a dunk in transition and got the crowd on their feet.

Unfortunately, the momentum boost was only temporary, because Addison Scott was too busy being the most clutch player on the floor. As good as Walker was, his performance took a backseat to Scott’s, who stole the show on Friday. Scott’s game on Friday could be summed up in two words: tough and clutch. With the game being as close as it was, Penn Wood looked to Scott to deliver when they needed a bucket to stay on top; he did, every single time.

Addison Scott showed how much he improved in the off season with his performance Friday night.

Addison Scott showed how much he improved in the off season with his performance Friday night.

With under a minute left in the game, Reading had a chance to tie the game with a three. They had two looks, but could not capitalize and Calvin Melton got fouled and a chance to seal the game with just one of two free throws. He went 0-2 and Reading had yet another chance to tie the game. 7 seconds remained and they would inbound from the sideline on the other end of their time out. Lonnie Walker could not get a good shot off and his attempt fell short, giving Penn Wood a hard fought victory, 65-62. Reading was led by their guards; aside from Walker, Ty Gibson Jr. and Khary Mauras played well. Scott received the MVP of the game, finishing the night with 30 points. His game has come a long way since the off season and it paid off early in the season for Penn Wood.

Reading Eagle: Reading High Beaten by Penn Wood in boys basketball

One down, three to go. If Friday night in Reading was any preview as to what the rest of the Hoop Group High School Showcases will be like, then you better start following along. For full recap and coverage of Friday, check out the live blog and go on twitter using the #HGShowcase hashtag. We’ll be at West Orange High School Saturday and Sunday for the NJ Tip Off. Nine games in two days, this showcase is LOADED with premier teams and players in New Jersey. View the schedule here!

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