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December 27, 2013

High School OT tourney: Booker, Woods shine


THE RIVALS150: Class of 2014 - Class of 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Devin Booker and Seventh Woods both put on impressive scoring displays, and Thon Maker showed off his incredibly versatile skill set for a seven-footer. Those were among the highlights Thursday during opening-day action in front of several packed houses at the High School OT Holiday Tournament.

A pair of 42s

Booker, a 2014 Kentucky signee, and Woods, ranked No. 14 in the 2016 class by Rivals.com, both scored 42 points, tied for seventh-most in the 42-year history of the event held at the high school alma mater of Pistol Pete Maravich, Broughton High.

Booker's 42 points came for Moss Point (Miss.) in a 64-59 loss to Apex (N.C.). Booker shot 11-for-25 from the field and 17-for-17 from the line.

"Devin's game at first was more of a catch-and-shoot guy, but now he's worked so hard to expand his game and create a lot more off the bounce," Moss Point coach Micoe Cotton said. "I guess you can see it when he shoots 17 free throws that he does a good job getting to the basket. That's something we worked to improve on his game."

Woods scored 30 of his 42 points in the second half as Hammond (S.C.), which trailed by as many as 25 points, got within nine before falling 79-65 to Trinity (N.C.).

The 6-foot-2 point guard, whose reputation started based on his sensational dunks, showed long-range shooting touch in this game, making seven consecutive 3-pointers in one stretch. He finished 7-for-11 from 3-point range and shot 14-for-23 overall.

"He hit some unbelievable shots," Trinity coach Heath Vandevender said, "and that's why he's a great player."

Woods is fast, explosive and incredibly crafty with the ball in his hands. He also had several of his trademark dunks.

Woods has been shooting upward of 400 shots each morning, sometimes with a biology or chemistry teacher, Hammond coach Mark McClam said.

"People think of him as a non-combo guard, but the kid can shoot," McClam said. "Not only can he dunk, but he can also distribute the rock. His biggest talent, for me, outside his athletic ability is the way he runs the floor, gets is unto offense, runs our plays when we need him to and understands how to control the tempo of the game."

Smith lifts Trinity

Trinity has plenty of talent as well, and 6-foot-2 class of 2016 guard Dennis Smith was at the head of the list in this game as Trinity built a 41-21 lead by halftime.

Explosive and with good vision, Smith scored a team-high 22 points and had six assists and three steals. On one sequence, Smith drove baseline for a dunk, stutter stepped and flipped a perfect pass to Alonzo Tyson for another dunk, then came back down and hit a 3-pointer from the left wing when a defender backed off.

Maker just getting started

Maker is quite the unusual talent for a 7-footer.

The No. 3 player in Rivals.com's class of 2016 rankings, Maker runs the floor with speed, makes plays out on the perimeter, attacks the rim, shoots from the arc, rebounds, blocks shots and handles the ball in stunning fashion for a player of his size. He had 16 points, 14 rebounds, four blocked shots and shot 5-for-11 from the field, including 2-for-6 from the arc.

"He's hearing from everybody. You name it, they're contacting him," Carlisle (Va.) coach Jason Niblett said. "He has no clue which schools. He's just taking it day by day."

Niblett said Maker doesn't have any college visits planned and doesn't have a timetable for even creating a list. A decision is a ways down the road.

In short order, the Sudan native who moved to Australia as a child and to America when he was 14 has become a player projected to be a high NBA draft pick after one year in college.

Maker helped Carlisle (Va.) beat Sanderson (N.C.), 63-57. On Friday, Maker's team was scheduled to face Wilbraham and Monson (Mass.), a team that includes future UNLV center Goodluck Oknoboh and Indiana-bound forward Max Hoetzel, who has had games of 33 and 26 points this season, including one game of nine 3-pointers.

Future Tar Heels shine

In front of a partisan crowd, North Carolina signees Justin Jackson and Joel Berry also had strong games.

Jackson had 36 points and 14 rebounds to lead Homeschool Christian Youth Association in its 73-55 blowout of Word of God.

Berry had 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for Lake Highland (Fla.) in a 73-45 victory over Clayton (N.C.).




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