Oak Hill Academy Familiar With Skies Above the Rim

TIMES STAFF WRITER

So this is what they meant by Above the Rim.

Oak Hill Academy, from Mouth of Wilson, Va., gave new meaning to air traffic control on Friday with a 93-57 victory over Lincoln in the second round of the Above the Rim Hoopwear Classic at Torrey Pines High School.

Oak Hill Academy (17-1) is ranked 10th in the nation by USA Today. Lincoln (7-5) is ranked sixth in San Diego, and like the score, there was no comparison between the two.

"This is forgotten after you win the Section," said Lincoln Coach Ron Loneski, whose team has won four straight titles. "We want to win the Section. I don't think there's any benefit in beating a team 90-30. The object is to learn and get better; that's why we play this tournament. I want to play every tough team we can."

And Oak Hill (73-2 over the past three years), a boarding school in the Blue Ridge Mountains with an enrollment of 155, presented the toughest challenge to date.

Chris Davis, a 6-foot-6 senior from Lakeland, Fla., provided the most air play. He blocked four shots in the first period as Oak Hill took a 23-7 lead. He finished with 18 points, seven blocks and a game-high five dunks.

Davis wasn't the only Warrior to take basketball to a higher level. All five starters jammed at least once. There were 14 dunks in the game by Oak Hill, and they blocked 12 Lincoln shots.

Davis said afterward that a team can "work on the little things" in a blowout.

Like, maybe, the backward jam by Stacey Castle, or Davis' two-handed reverse or one-handed cradle reverse, all in the span of 90 seconds only two minutes into the game.

Actually, there's not much to do but study and play basketball in Mouth of Wilson. There's no movie theater, no restaurant, no cable TV.

Athletes go there for a variety of reasons, but one is to play the schedule that Coach Steve Smith has assembled.

"There's no state tournament in Virginia for private schools," Smith said. "Most teams try to peak late, but we play a lot of tournaments so we try to peak a little bit early."

Oak Hill already has played tournaments in Cincinnati, Anchorage, and Fort Myers, Fla.

They go to Erie, Pa., on Jan. 10 to play the nation's No. 1 team, Baltimore Dunbar. Their 17-1 record isn't exactly the product of a soft schedule.

Since 1985, Smith has sent 31 players to Division I colleges. All but one remained academically eligible throughout their collegiate careers.

Smith's starting five will increase that number to 36. In addition to Davis (Kansas), there is Castle (Wake Forest), Brian Thompson (Florida) and Martice Moore (Georgia Tech). Junior guard Tushay McInnis (19 points, 13 assists) should join the list.

Thompson scored a game-high 27 points.

Hosa Baker led Lincoln with 14 points; Scott Hammond had 10.

Other Above the Rim games:

Oakland Bishop O'Dowd 74, Cleveland St. Joseph 60--The Dragons (8-0), ranked 13th in the state, held a 20-9 scoring edge in the second quarter to upset St. Joseph (4-2), ranked 23rd nationally. Joh Ahern led O'Dowd with 16 points.

Pasadena Muir 87, Menlo 55--Muir shot 58% from the field and got 22 points from Demetrius Collier to beat Menlo (6-9). Chad Clemetson scored 20 and Rand Leathers had 19 for Menlo.

Torrey Pines 64, Valhalla 49--Craig Brown scored 21, and Eddie Montalvo had seven steals and 10 points for Torrey Pines. Beau Sager, four of eight from three-point range, scored 19 for Valhalla (5-4).

Carlsbad 81, Valhalla 51--Andy Reed scored 18 points and Kewan Shariff had 16 for Carlsbad, which led 28-9 after the first quarter. Darrick Freeman led Valhalla with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Torrey Pines 73, Frontier 50--Torrey Pines' Scot Pollard, a 6-10 center, scored 28 points against a smaller Frontier team. He shot 14 of 18 from the field and grabbed 10 rebounds. Craig Brown added 23 points for Torrey Pines (8-2). Jason Swartz shot seven out of 12 from three point-range and led Frontier with 27 points.

Charlotte Christian (N.C.) 83, El Camino 71--Anton Hubert (31 points) made 11 of 17 field goals for Christian, which shot 58.8%. Trey Crayton (19 points), Chris Dade (18) and Bryant Westbrook (16) led the Wildcats.

Los Alamitos 88, Red Bluff 45--Los Alamitos, which shot 59.3%, nearly lapped Red Bluff behind Jason Cunningham's 20 points and nine-of-12 shooting. Ben Sherman (22 points) provided a lift for Red Bluff.

Lincoln (N.Y.) 62, South Lake Tahoe 59--Lincoln's Darryle Flicking and Stephon Marbury scored 19 apiece. Jerod Hause had 25 in a losing cause.

Bishop Ford (N.Y.) 62, Mercer Island 41--Bishop Ford's Robert Blackwell Jr. made nine of 13 shots for a game-high 20 points. Teammate Winston Gordon added 17 points and 15 rebounds. Fred Brown had 15 points for Mercer Island.

Mater Dei 94, USDHS 34--Five Mater Dei players scored in doubles figures while USDHS had only one, Ian Hamilton with 15 points. Mater Dei held the Dons to 2 and 7 points in the first and fourth quarters.

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