Five things to watch for at Friday’s Beach Ball Classic

Five things to look for at Friday’s Beach Ball Classic:

* The game of the night should be the first semifinal between Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and Milton (Ga.) at 7 p.m. Friday.

Bishop Gorman boasts the No. 1-rated senior in the nation in 6-foot-6 phenom Shabazz Muhammad, who has seen limited time in the Gaels’ first two games because of the lopsided scores in their favor. Muhammad has scored 24 and 22 points, respectively, in only about 20 minutes of playing time per game.

But Milton, which also has looked impressive in its first two wins, should be able to at least force Bishop Gorman to leave its big star in the game. It will be interesting to see what he can do in a full 32 minutes.

* The college coaches continue to roll into the Beach Ball, with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski making an appearance at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center on Thursday.

Coach K, who became the winningest coach in college basketball history earlier this year, is the second big-name ACC coach to visit the hoops talent smorgasbord. North Carolina coach Roy Williams was in attendance Wednesday night.

The names and numbers could get even bigger for the final two days of the tournament when many of the nation’s top players will be going head-to-head.

* The tournament brackets may say Socastee is playing a meaningless consolation game but the Braves are playing for history.

The Braves won their first Beach Ball Classic game since 2006 in Wednesday’s victory over Rye (N.Y.) and their first win in the tournament against an out-of-state team since 2001. Socastee has never won two games in the Beach Ball in its 30-year history.

The Braves have a chance to make it happen in the 31st year when they face Miami (Fla.) Senior in Friday’s 1:45 p.m. consolation bracket contest.

* The Beach Ball crowd will still be buzzing about Thursday night’s surprise ending to Whitney Young’s 46-44 upset of No. 5-ranked Prestonwood. Just saw you’re caught up on the conversation …

Whitney Young’s Gabriel Snider made just one shot against Prestonwood Christian (Texas) but it was the shot that counted the most.  Trailing by one, Snider ran the ball upcourt and banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Dolphins a 46-44 victory and send them into the semifinal round of the 31st Annual Beach Ball Classic.

The winning basket ended a flurry of five lead changes in the final 1:31 and made it an instant Beach Ball Classic classic. Austin Rettig scored on consecutive layups for Prestonwood (11-2) to knot the score at 39-39 with 1:31 to play.  Jahil Okafor ended the 8-0 run by Prestonwood with a thunderous dunk that gave Whitney Young a 41-39 lead with 1:13 to play.

Prestonwood’s Julius Randle then gave the Lions a 42-41 advantage with an old-fashioned 3-point play with 59 seconds remaining.  Nate Brooks’ dunk after an offensive rebound regained the lead for Whitney Young with 39 seconds remaining.  Marquan Botley again put the Lions in the lead with a leaning jumper from 16 feet out to set up the heroics for Snider, who had attempted only one shot all night.

Prestonwood, which is coming off a tourney title at the Isle of Palms Classic, falls into a 5:15 p.m. consolation game on Friday while Whitney Young advances to an 8:45 semifinal.

* Close games should become more common as the Beach Ball brackets have separated the haves from the have-nots.

Through the first 14 games of the tournament, only one had been decided by single digits. Whitney Young’s buzzer-beating finish in Game 15 made it two, and many of the games were unwatchable blowouts from a team (not a talent) perspective.

But look for more nail-biters when the penultimate day of the Beach Ball tips off today. Here’s Friday’s schedule:

Game 17 – 10:15 am – Gaffney (SC) vs Rye (NY)
Game 18 – NOON – Miami Sr. (FL) vs Socastee (SC)
Game 19 – 1:45 pm – Scott County (KY) vs  St. Edward (OH)
Game 20 – 3:30 pm – Ballard (KY) vs  Lakota East (OH)
Game 21 – 5:15 pm – Prestonwood (TX) vs  St. Augustine
Game 22 – 7:00 pm –  Milton (GA) vs Bishop Gorman (NV)
Game 23 – 8:45 pm – Whitney Young (IL) vs Lone Peak (UT)

 

 

 

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One response to “Five things to watch for at Friday’s Beach Ball Classic”

  1. Eric says:

    Lone Peak will win it all. Why are private schools like Bishop Gorman even invited? It’s basically just an all-star team? Keep it fair. No matter, Lone Peak will beat them as well.

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