RALEIGH, N.C. – Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) coach Quinton Jackson’s message was clear to his team heading into its HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational championship showdown with New Hampton Prep (New Hampton, N.H.) Saturday night at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C.
“I told them that we needed to approach the game with an underdog’s mentality,” Jackson said. “When you come into a game with that mindset, you’re just hungrier.”
The Holy Rams took heed and, as a result, tactically dismantled the Huskies, 58-53, to claim the HSOT Invitational title.
Tyrek Coger, a senior forward, led the Rams with 17 points and nine rebounds and Josh Newkirk, a senior point guard who is signed to Pittsburgh, added 11 points and 10 assists in the win.
Word of God remained in control for most of the game, until Lincoln Davis hit a runner to cut the Rams’ lead to just two, 47-45, with two minutes left in regulation. But Camden Scott answered with a 3-pointer from the right corner and the Rams hit all four free throws in the last 1:15 to secure the win.
Word of God held Huskies’ leading scorer Noah Vonleh, a senior forward who is signed to Indiana, to just seven points in the win. Despite not being in foul trouble, Vonleh sat for most of the fourth quarter and said he was “not sure” when asked for the reasoning behind his benching.
Coger was named the tournament’s MVP, but said he was proudest of the team’s collaborative effort.
“It’s all about the team, and I felt like we played really well tonight,” Coger said. “I still feel like we could’ve played better, but we’re happy to get this win.”
Added Jackson: “It’s good to keep this title local. We’re going to enjoy this tonight and continue to prepare tomorrow.”
De Soto wins Summit Hospitality title
In front of a capacity crowd which included his future Duke coaches Jeff Capel and Steve Wojciechowski, De Soto (De Soto, Texas) guard Matt Jones, a senior, scored 14 points to lead the Eagles past St. Joseph (Metuchen, N.J.), 45-42, and claim the Summit Hospitality title at the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational Saturday at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C.
Jones, who signed with Duke in November, was named the tournament’s MVP.
Karl Towns, a junior forward who is committed to Kentucky, led St. Joseph with 16 points and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
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