COLUMBIA, S.C. – If Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) shooting guard Devontae Shuler isn’t reminded again all season about how the Warriors don’t have No. 1 overall player Harry Giles III, it’ll be much too soon.
Oak Hill, ranked No. 5 in the USA Today Super 25, lost Giles to a torn ACL in the season opener Nov. 3, three games later the Warriors fell to 22 Ft Academy (Greenville, S.C.), but since then they’ve rolled 12 opponents with a 55-point average margin of victory.
They weren’t quite as dominant against opponent No. 13, Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.), in the Chick-fil-A Classic National Division title game Tuesday night, but equally effective in a 93-85 overtime win over the No. 18 Irish.
“We hear that all the time, that we’re not that scary because we don’t have Harry,” Shuler said. “We’re tired of hearing that; we want to show people that we’re still one of the top teams in the country.”
Ty-Shon Alexander scored 28 points and was named tournament MVP, Matt Coleman dropped 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Braxton Key added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Warriors.
Miles Bridges, a Michigan State signee, led Huntington Prep with 35 points and 10 rebounds in route to being named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
“We just want this to show everyone that we’re still what everyone thought we were,” said Key, an Alabama signee. “Our goal hasn’t changed.”
It’s a forgone conclusion at Oak Hill that said goal is always national title or bust. The Warriors have come up short in the DICK’S Sporting Good High School Nationals championship game for the last two years.
Shuler, who chipped in with 11 points in the win, admitted that it was “a crazy feeling” going from the unanimous No. 1 team in the country in the preseason to being looked over and doubted after the first game.
Giles, a Duke signee who was attendance for the Warriors’ win Tuesday, has since transferred back home to rehab and attends Forest Trail Academy (Kernersville, N.C.), where he takes online classes.
“That was wild because everybody thinks that they have a chance to beat us every game, even more now” Shuler said. “I definitely wish we still had Harry, but we don’t and now we’re all stepping up and showing the country what we’re made of. We’re doing everything we can; tonight showed that.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY