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December 22, 2007

City of Palms: Saturday

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The City of Palms closed out with a pair of amazing performances from two of the best guards in the tournament and St. Benedict's did something that no team from New Jersey has ever done. The nation's No. 1 team won the entire tournament.

We are the champions

In the 34 years prior to Saturday night's final, no team from New Jersey has ever won the City of Palms tournament. Somebody had to be the first. St. Benedict's, the nation's top team in the country, took care of business against Chester with a 68-55 win in the championship final.

With St. Benedict's, any one player can be the proverbial man on any given night. That is what happens when three of the top big men in the nation are on the team and guards that can do a number of things with the ball.

Five-star senior Samardo Samuels was named tournament Most Valuable Player after his 20 point (7-16 FG, 6-8 FT) performance in the championship game. Guards Tamir Jackson and Scott Machado both scored 12 points in the game.

Junior big man Greg Echenique ripped down 17 amazing rebounds and super sophomore Tristan Thompson came off the bench and had a brilliant performance. The 6-foot-8 spider like big man scored 12 points on five of five shooting and a pair of free throws and grabbed five rebounds.

The Grey Bees were tremendous on the defensive end of the floor, holding Chester to 32 percent shooting from the floor. Pittsburgh bound Nasir Robinson, senior Karon Burton and junior Rahlir Jefferson combined for 39 points in the defeat.

Boynton shatters scoring record

Kenny Boynton was cooking up a little Saturday morning breakfast. And he served it up every which way possible in the biggest scoring output the City of Palms tournament has ever seen.

The five-star guard set a tournament record with his 61 point performance on Saturday morning in a 88-71 American Heritage win over Fort Myers Dunbar.

Boynton shot 22 of 33 from the floor and was 11 of 18 from three-point land. The 6-foot-1 junior scored 39 of his 61 in the second half. Offensively speaking, this was one for the ages.

His scoring performance shattered a City of Palms single game scoring record. Former Florida guard Teddy Dupay scored 56 points tens years and one day ago.

His numbers over four games have re-written the scoring annuals for the 35-year-old tournament. He scored 139 points in the tournament, ranking him third all-time.

Hoos the man?

Sylven Landesberg could do no wrong in Holy Cross's 74-56 win over Helen Cox for the third place championship of the City of Palms. The future Virginia guard scored 44 points and became his school's all-time leading scorer in the victory.

Landesberg did everything right and was mistake free all game. He shot eight of nine from the floor in the second half and was 13 of 20 the entire game. Landesberg shot 16 of 17 from the foul line and grabbed 11 rebounds in the process.

His game was one of the best in the tournament and made it look too easy in the process. The 6-foot-5 guard shot the ball well, handled the ball with little trouble, crashed the boards, got to the foul line and just willed his team to a hard fought victory against a team with more size and length.

Landesberg may have very well been the most versatile and complete player in the field this year and closed his week with a tremendous all around game.

Helen Cox had 16 points and 13 rebounds (nine offensive) from Greg Monroe and his 14 second half points weren't enough. Monroe struggled with his shot, particularly at the basket. He was six of 16 from the floor.

Hampton bound guard Calvin Thompson put in 16 points (6-20 FG) and had five rebounds in the defeat.

Taft takes care of business

Long Beach State bound forward Eugene Phelps made it look all too easy in Taft's 76-59 win over Scott County (Ky.). The 6-foot-6 forward was nearly perfect, scoring 25 points on 10 of 11 from the floor and five of seven from the foul line. The athletic forward also grabbed eight rebounds in the win.

The backcourt of Larry Drew and Bryce Smith combined for 36 points and eight three-pointers. Drew played the part of an ACC bound point guard nicely and fed Phelps and Smith for easy scores throughout the game. He showed a lot of moxy on the offensive end of the floor, knocking down a number of good-looking three-pointers.

Smith, a 6-foot-4 unsigned guard, closed out his strong play with another good performance. He's primarily a shooter but showed that his game isn't all about knocking down long balls. He earned his first scholarship from Jacksonville with his play here in Fort Myers and will certainly see his recruitment improve come January. A shooter with great grades always has more options this time of year.

Setting the table

There is nothing quite like a little drama to set the tone for the championship game. Montverde Academy and Boca Raton took to the floor for a Sunshine Series one game match-up before the final game of the tournament and the two in-state schools went to overtime to settle it.

After scoring just one point in the fourth quarter and a 14-0 run to close out regulation and tied it with a three-pointer from John Peterson, a Samford signee, with a minute to play.

Montverde responded with an 8-0 run in a minute's time to open the overtime period and hung on for a 61-49 victory. Point guard Dashan Harris led the way with 18 points (6-15 FG) and five assists in the victory.

Harris, a Texas A&M signee, is 42-0 as the starting point guard for Montverde. There is something to be said about that.

Washington State bound Marcus Capers scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the win. Ruslan Pateev, a 6-foot-11, 220-pound junior center, will be a guy to watch develop over the next 18 months. He's a space eater inside and scored 13 points, grabbed eight rebounds, had four steals and blocked three shots.

News & Notes

It was all about balance for Kinston High School in the team's final game at the City of Palms. The kids from North Carolina shared the wealth in an 84-70 win over New Hope.

Unsigned senior Donovan Ingram closed out a productive week of work with his 19 points (7-12, 3-5 from three) and grabbed seven rebounds. He's a good-looking low-level player because of his versatility and production.

Sophomore Reggie Bullock scored 18 points and shot the ball in the victory. He's been one of the top sophomores in the field here.

Closing out a tremendous week of work was Rashanti Harris of New Hope. The 6-foot-9 senior went for 20 points and 10 rebounds in the tournament ending defeat.

John Carroll junior forward Isaiah Philmore had his way in a 50-43 win over Bishop Verot on Saturday morning. The 6-foot-7 forward scored 29 points (7-13 FG, 14-19 FT) and grabbed 14 rebounds.

Playing well in the shadows of the Boynton scoring barrage was sophomore guard David Paulk of Fort Myers Dunbar High School. The well-built guard scored 28 points (10-17 FG, 4-7 from 3) and grabbed 12 rebounds. He's enjoyed a great week of work and cemented himself on the recruiting radar with his overall performance.

After dropping their first game in the tournament, Hales Franciscan found their basketball legs and won three in a row to claim the consolation bracket championship.

D.J. Cooper and Phillip Williams paced the Windy City team to a 63-54 win over Miami Pace. Cooper, a 5-foot-9 junior point guard, scored a team high 18 points and dished out five assists while Williams, a 5-foot-10 senior, scored 15 points.

Pace was paced by Ray Shipman, who scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the defeat.

All eyes on you

Assistant coaches from Duke, Florida International, Miami, Pittsburgh, SMU were all in attendance on the final day of action.

All tournament team

Samardo Samuels, St. Benedict's - MVP
Greg Echenique, St. Benedict's
Sylven Landesberg, Holy Cross
Rashanti Harris, New Hope
Kenny Boynton, American Heritage
Greg Monroe, Helen Cox
Larry Drew, Taft
Karon Burton, Chester
Tyler Portwood, Scott County
Nasir Robinson, Chester
Matt Humphrey, Hales Franciscan
David Paulk, Fort Myers Dunbar

Scoreboard

American Heritage (Fla.) 88, Fort Myers Dunbar (Fla.) 71
Kinston (N.C.) 84, New Hope (Miss.) 70
John Caroll (Md.) 50, Bishop Verot (Fla.) 43
Hales Franciscan (Ill.) 63, Miami Pace (Fla.) 54
Taft (Calif.) 76, Scott County (Ky.) 59
Holy Cross (N.Y.) 74, Helen Cox (La.) 56
Montverde Academy (Fla.) 61, Boca Raton (Fla.) 49 (OT)

Championship game

St. Benedict's (N.J.) 68, Chester (Pa.) 55


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