On the other side 22 Ft. Academy (Greenville, S.C.) was hosting a celebration for the ages after overcoming an 18-point halftime deficit to stun the Warriors at last year’s Phenom Hoops National Showcase.
“I remembered how loud they were,” Coleman said. “I was mad and frustrated, but I made myself remember that noise. I wanted to remember what I never wanted to hear again.”
He never did.
The Warriors went on to win 42-0 straight and claim the coveted DICK’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals trophy at Madison Square Garden.
On Friday, Coleman and the Warriors, ranked No. 2 in the USA TODAY Preseason Super 25, returned to the Phenom Hoops National Showcase, this time to face Word of God Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.), and, yeah, last year’s shocker was on their minds.
“Coach said we had to break the curse,” said Coleman, who is ranked No. 27 overall in the ESPN 100. “We were all really ready to play in this event.”
It wasn’t pretty, but the Warriors managed to hold off the Holy Rams 74-63.
Billy Preston led Oak Hill with 28 points and 15 rebounds, Coleman added 12 points and seven assists.
Brandon Huffman led the Holy Rams with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Word of God led 34-27 at the half behind the hot hands of Max Farthing and Evan Johnson.
The game was tied at 51 with 6:33 left in regulation.
At that point, Coleman admitted that a familiar feeling began to creep into his body.
“I saw how it could’ve gone the way it went last year if we didn’t tighten up,” Coleman said. “It feels good to win the game at the event we lost last year. They’re a really good team. We kinda got over this hump, and we’ve just gotta build on it and get even better next time.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY