VIS Boys' Basketball Championships

North Carolina Recruit Looms Large as Undersize Knights Fall

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By Josh Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 2, 2008

PETERSBURG, Va., March 1 -- Seventh-ranked O'Connell was without its 7-footer, but the Knights did a capable job of keeping the opposing team's star center off the scoreboard. But even though Ed Davis scored only 13 points, it was everything else the 6-foot-9 North Carolina recruit did that sent O'Connell to a lopsided loss.

Davis added 12 rebounds, 6 blocks and 6 assists and generally dominated at both ends of the court as Benedictine of Richmond defeated O'Connell, 67-46, in the Virginia Independent Schools Division I championship game Saturday night at Richard Bland College.

Bradford Burgess was the biggest beneficiary of O'Connell's defensive focus, often getting free for easy baskets as he finished with a game-high 21 points to lead the Cadets (26-6) to their second consecutive VIS title.

Davis "controlled their offense, their offense is based around him," O'Connell All-Met guard Jason Clark said. "When he caught the ball in the post, he never rushed. He found his teammates to score and they helped him out, too."

With 7-foot Frank Ben-Eze scheduled to have his injured right knee examined this week, the Knights were at a significant size disadvantage. Their smaller players swarmed Davis, but that only left others open for Benedictine, which is ranked second in Richmond by the Times-Dispatch newspaper. At the other end, in addition to his blocks, Davis altered several other attempts and forced O'Connell to rely on its outside shooting.

Still bothered by a twisted ankle, Clark led O'Connell with 10 points -- half his season average -- and the Knights were unable to duplicate their semifinal comeback when they rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat Blue Ridge School in overtime.

Saturday night's game was tied at 18 before Benedictine scored nine consecutive points. O'Connell trailed 28-22 at halftime, then went scoreless for the first four minutes of the third quarter, missing five shots, including two that were swatted by Davis as Benedictine pushed its lead to 38-22.

While it was a disappointing result for O'Connell, the day was not a shutout for Washington-area teams as Potomac School captured the Division II championship. Tournament most valuable player P.J. Miller scored seven of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter as the Panthers pulled away for a 61-49 victory over Miller School of Charlottesville.

Tim Prowitt added 19 points and Brian Freeman had 12 for Potomac (24-7), which last won the tournament in 2003.

Division I: Benedictine 67 No. 7 O'Connell 46 Division II: Potomac School 61 Miller School 49 Off The Mark: O'Connell's leading scorers, Jason Clark and Kendall Marshall, shot a combined 6 of 21 from the field and totaled just 15 points. Up Next: O'Connell and Benedictine are in the eight-team Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament at Frostburg State University on March 13-15. Pairings are expected to be announced early this week. Division I: Benedictine 67 No. 7 O'Connell 46 Division II: Potomac School 61 Miller School 49 Off The Mark: O'Connell's leading scorers, Jason Clark and Kendall Marshall, shot a combined 6 of 21 from the field and totaled just 15 points. Up Next: O'Connell and Benedictine are in the eight-team Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament at Frostburg State University on March 13-15. Pairings are expected to be announced early this week.


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