As O’Connell senior Melo Trimble tells it, he usually beats fellow Maryland recruit Jared Nickens, whether it be in video games or on the basketball court. With Trimble and his Capital All-Stars teammates pitted against Nickens and the U.S. All-Stars in the 41st annual Capital Classic, Nickens bucked tradition in the friendly rivalry as the U.S. team rallied for a 139-134 victory on Saturday at T.C Williams.
Losing rarely sits well with Trimble. But the All-Met Player of the Year found solace in the sharpshooting of Nickens, who hit three three-pointers en route to 13 points against some of the nation’s top prospects.
“Me and Jared are real competitive and I usually get him when it comes to shooting, but he was hitting his shots tonight and that’s good because it’s all about getting us ready for Maryland as teammates now,” said Trimble, who finished with 14 points. “I’m not really an all-star game player but it was a good experience playing with guys I grew up with and will play against in college.”
For the first time in its run as the nation’s oldest high school all-star game, the Capital Classic featured three games. In the earlier contest, the Metro North All-Stars beat the Metro South All-Stars, 109-106, despite 29 points from game MVP and Clinton Christian senior Byron Hawkins (Towson) for the South. Afterward, the Metro West All-Stars beat the Metro East All-Stars, 126-115, thanks to 25 points from Herndon’s Brandon Alston (Lehigh).
The main event featured recruits headed to the likes of Virginia, N.C. State, Seton Hall and Miami. But Maryland was represented the strongest, boasting Trimble, Nickens of Westtown School (Pa.) and Trayvon Reed, who was unable to play due to a sprained ankle Potomac (Md.) swingman Dion Wiley could not play for the Capital team due to a family obligation.
The absence of the 7-foot-1 Reed and Lincoln (N.Y.) guard Isaiah Whitehead, who sat out with a pulled hamstring, was evident early, as the Capital All-Stars jumped out to an early lead behind strong play inside by Riverdale Baptist forward-center and Louisville recruit Chinanu Onuaku (21 points, 14 rebounds).
But when Potomac (Va.) center Trey Porter had to leave the game with an eye injury, the U.S. All-Stars made their move. Game MVP Angel Delgado of The Patrick School (N.J.) got hot, scoring eight of his game-high 23 points and grabbing several of his 15 rebounds to push the U.S. team ahead for good.
“It felt good playing with guys I consider my brothers in one of my last high school games,” Onuaku said. “I think we played good. We just ran out of gas in the end.”